For most creative professionals, Self-confidence is an issue (especially when selling or pricing your work). Here’s the thing…you must not wait to feel confident before taking action. You’d wait forever! No, it turns out that feelings follow behavior and not the other way around. In other words, the behavior of confidence (and the resulting success) will eventually bring the feeling of confidence to you. If you study successful creative people, the one thing you would find they all have in common is a very strong, calm, sense of confidence. This confidence is made, not born. It comes from actions, from testing yourself and winning the tests. This is true for your creativity and technical ability as well as your professionalism and business skills.
Don’t wait to overcome doubt and fear before facing any business or marketing challenge. Accept that they are part of the process of testing and winning. Anxiety and hesitancy may feel like negative feelings, but you have to look at them as indicators that you are doing something you are not really good at yet. For example, the first time you quote a big job or tell a client you can’t do that job for their tiny budget, you will feel fear and anxiety. Don’t worry! You are experiencing a perfectly normal reaction any business owner will feel when being assertive.
It turns out that there are three choices for a confident business attitude and you always making a choice of one, whether you are conscious of it or not.
- An aggressive attitude means you get what you want without care or concern for the other party.
- A non-assertive attitude means you give people whatever they want without care or regard for the cost to you (a common problem in creative services).
- An assertive attitude means you get what you need and the other party gets what they need.
Being aggressive could drive your clients away. Being non-assertive could put you out of business! Acting assertive (whether you feel it at first or not) may cause you some short-term discomfort, but will ensure you long-term career satisfaction and profitability.
The trick is to learn to accept the fear without waiting for it to go away and go on to do the work at hand. The most common technique for this is called visualization. You must see yourself accepting the challenge, mapping a strategy to meet it and then successfully accomplishing the task at hand. This behavior works to create your success and the feeling of self-confidence that follows.