ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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“I don’t feel confident in my work.”

In: Finding Your Voice

Are you squinting your eyes at the screen trying to decide if this describes you or not? (Of course you are, you're probably reading this on an iPhone the size of my elbow.)

It's kind of an ugly characterization—nobody wants to admit to feeling less than confident in what you're doing. And yet, I've got news: It's so, so common.

Here's how it shows up:

:: You're nervous as hell about sending that invoice

:: You pray when sending a client deliverable (maybe even on both knees)

:: You routinely get pushback from clients who “want to see other options”

:: You feel more like an order taker / slave than a professional being paid for their expertise

:: You see clients making mistakes but you're hesitant to correct them. After all, the client's always right…right?

:: You're constantly comparing yourself to other people in your industry

:: You get hives just thinking about raising your rates (psst—I've got a workshop coming up to help you exactly with this)

You know why all this is happening, right? It's not about your work—it's about the fact that you're now accepting money for your work. Once you introduce the money factor into the equation, everything changes…including how much confidence you've got in yourself. Now there are expectations. Now there's pressure. NOW YOU MUST LIVE UP TO THE VALUE OF THE MONEY LAID BEFORE YOU. *bows head*

So what's a gal / guy / zebra to do?

The answer: Gain confidence by helping your clients gain confidence in you.

No matter who you are, when you first start working with a client, they have no idea if you're really any good. They're taking a risk on you; they're swinging the bat. So especially in the beginning, they're always wondering, “Did I make the right choice?” They're looking for any and every signal that could help them figure that out. They're taking their cues from you.

In all my experience as a freelancer, business owner, service provider, and copywriter, there's one trick that demonstrates not only your confidence in your work, but helps them to have confidence in it, too:

Justifying your madness.

How many times have you taken your marching orders, gone to work for days or weeks, and then:

  • Just sent the list of taglines
  • Just sent the website mock-up
  • Just sent the diet plan
  • Just sent the finished painting
  • Just sent the final deliverable

It's normal; you know that's what the client is paying you for, so that's what you deliver. But you know what happens, right? All of the actual time you spent thinking, planning, plotting, brainstorming, deciding, iterating and doing your job…gets lost in translation. All of your hard work? The client NEVER SEES. All the sweat, the tears, the rum you drank “for inspiration”…it's like it never existed at all. (Which is really only good when it comes to the rum.) As a result?

Your client feels cheated.

Even if you did what you were supposed to. Even if you delivered everything they asked. Even if the end result is phenomenal.

They might be paying you for the end result, but the full value of your work isn't communicated in the end result itself.

As this timely article over on 99U quotes:

“Psychologists have long noticed what’s sometimes been called the “labor illusion:” when it comes to judging other people’s work, we might say we’re focused only on whether they did the job quickly and well—but really we want to feel they wore themselves out for us.”

And that's precisely where justifying your madness comes in.

Check out the video below and watch me walk you through a fun, quick little example of exactly what I mean using my own work to demonstrate. (And also hear my man voice—always a treat!) Because once your clients feel confident about the work you're doing? You will, too.

Aug 15

2014

How to Be the Most Confident Person At The Table

Aug 15, 2014

When somebody doesn’t buy from you, which are you thinking? “Man, I’m a loser”  or “Man, they’re a loser.”  Getting cocksure is the very first order of business. And if you don’t feel sure of yourself, you know what you need? Not more clients. You need to sit your ass down, read 100 books, grovel for the […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Dec 3

2010

The 67 Emotions of Unconventional Success: My Story

Dec 3, 2010

OBLIVIOUS When tears silently fell from Elizabeth’s cheek upon finding the note from her lover, 3 days before their daughter was born that read:  “I’m sorry. I can’t do this.” ASHAMED When classmates asked where my daddy was. I lied & told them he was Crocodile Dundee, and had to be in Australia to tame […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Oct 22

2016

Your Opinion About Yourself Doesn’t Matter

Oct 22, 2016

Real talk: I think you’re a liar. A very, very convenient liar. I can call you that because we’re all in the same club. Because the thing is, when you’re out there doing creative work, and new work, and work that has no manager, no support team, no pat on the back, there are days when […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Jan 14

2016

Sometimes in Business, You Need to Do YOU.

Jan 14, 2016

The dead horse of the decade is the target customer. You’re asked to create personas. Put yourself in their shoes bras. Get inside their head. Imagine what’s keeping them up at 3 o’clock in the morning. (For the record, it’s that their ass is getting fat and they totally forgot to make cookies for their […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Nov 22

2017

There’s No Such Thing As An Idea That *Isn’t* Offensive

Nov 22, 2017

You know what I’m grateful for? Fucking. NOT LIKE THAT, SICKO. Although, I mean, I guess…wait. Let me start again. I like the word fucking because it’s representative of something so much bigger than that, which is the real thing I’m grateful for: freedom of expression. Remember that cute little First Amendment? It says that the […]

In: Finding Your Voice

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Oct 29

2015

“I don’t feel confident in my work.”

Oct 29, 2015

Are you squinting your eyes at the screen trying to decide if this describes you or not? (Of course you are, you’re probably reading this on an iPhone the size of my elbow.) It’s kind of an ugly characterization—nobody wants to admit to feeling less than confident in what you’re doing. And yet, I’ve got […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ ME >>

Oct 21

2010

The Greatest Form of Suffering of All: Inaction

Oct 21, 2010

Once upon a time, I was feeling stuck. If my suspicions are correct, many of you reading this might feel the same way right now. You can’t get motivated. You aren’t excited about anything. You’re tired all of the time. Lifeless. Indifferent. Apathetic. You’ve stopped caring—about yourself, about your goals, about the things you used […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ ME >>

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