If nothing else, I sure do love transparency. The chance to learn and grow from being honest with ourselves and honest with others. The chance to CELEBRATE our growth and honor how far we’ve come, whether it be in business or in life (or really, BOTH since the two should be aligned!).
I’ve been a designer for a lot of years. It all started off as a happy accident… I learned some skills and people needed those skills. A pretty basic business model, really. From the get-go I didn’t need to market or advertise, clients just kept coming because the word-of-mouth snowball grew and grew.
But here’s the thing my less-experienced designer self didn’t know: Pretty designs would only get my clients so far.
It’s an amazing thing to be self-taught at a valuable skill and to be able to find joy in making things pretty. That’s what carried me in the beginning.
But now I cringe. Not because I’m looking back and hate everything I designed early on. But because there were no roots. Nothing went deep. My designs weren’t grounded in the big picture of where my clients wanted to head, how they wanted their businesses to grow, what kinds of clients they wanted to attract, what their unique strengths were, what their vision and goals were. None of that.
You see, being self-taught came with a voice. A little voice on my shoulder that doubted my abilities. A little voice that – while my skills are vast – questioned everything about what I was doing. A little voice that became a BIG voice endlessly singing the anthem of the imposter over me.
So I therefore assumed, incorrectly as it turns out, that my clients knew exactly what they needed from me at all times. I was like a waitress in a restaurant and I saw it as my job to take their order and bring them what they asked for. A postcard for marketing this product? You got it. A flyer to promote that service? No prob. <<<Except WAIT… my client HATES providing that service and it’s sucking all her energy from her actual zone of genius. And *that* product isn’t bringing in revenue nor is it resonating with this other client’s pain points. Slapping it on a pretty flyer is a waste of everyone’s time.
But I didn’t know how to spot these symptoms or ask the right questions in my early designer years. So I would just make the pretty things.
Turns out I didn’t become truly valuable to my clients until I stopped flying my “self-taught” banner and instead put on my EXPERT hat and started wearing the heck out of it.
In order to BELIEVE I was an expert at my craft, I chose to hire a business mentor who could help me separate out the false beliefs that were holding me back, from the nuggets of GOLD that I bring to the table which more than make me an expert at what I do. More than that, she helped me see how my gold nuggets are UNIQUELY MINE and how no one else brings to the table exactly what I do.
Along the way I learned how to ask the right questions of my clients so we could look at their projects holistically and make sure everything they do – everything they hire ME to do – will move the needle in their business and not be a waste.
You see, people don’t buy a product or service because of a pretty brochure or a flashy postcard. They buy with their heart first. They buy because they are convinced (first with their emotions, then with their logic) that ____________ (product or company) will solve ____________ (challenge or pain point in their life) so that they can ____________ (save time, make more money, spend more time with their family, etc).
In order to have design rooted in strategy, we first have to understand how to connect with people on that heart-level. We have to go beyond the gorgeous surface aesthetics and use proven strategies that actually convert.
If this resonates with you, reach out! Perhaps beautiful aesthetics have carried you so far, but you feel like people around you are just CRUSHING IT and it makes you wonder if something is missing from your brand strategy. Apply for a free discovery call to see if we might be a fit for working together. My clients receive:
Maybe your business is a “happy accident” much like mine. Maybe the imposter syndrome is real and you need help uncovering your unique secret sauce that makes you an expert at what you do! This is aaaaaaall part of my signature design process which I talked a little about above. I would be honored to chat about your unique business and see if I can come alongside you and help you elevate what you’re doing. Take a peek at my story or connect with me! ~Lyndsey