The prospect of putting yourself out there in this world of blogging and online entrepreneurship can be exciting, but also pretty scary. You log on and see so many people with beautiful websites, huge social media followings and awesome graphics. It's easy to get a twinge of the old "Impostor Syndrome" wondering "am I good enough?" or "why would anyone want to read my stuff, when they can read their stuff?"
As I write this post, I feel like I am writing it to myself just as much as I am writing it to you. I decided to start this design blog about two months ago, after studying web design and blogging for about 6 months. Since then, I have yet to write a single post, as I constantly tweak my website and take more design courses, or read more blogs. Anything to feel more prepared to launch. This week, I'm finally deciding to change that and just write something real!
I chatted this weekend with my new blog coach @freshalina, who has had years of success with her own entertainment blog. I know what you're thinking: "who hires a blog coach when they have no blog??" But bear with me here! I think I just needed someone to tell me that it was ok to start! To finally stop watching other people do things and start doing them! So here I am.
If you've stuck with me to this point in the post, and maybe you get what I'm saying, I'm going to list out some "tips" on breaking out of impostor syndrome, and putting yourself out there. Just know that I am preaching to myself just as much as anyone.
Cut Down on Social Media Browsing
When I first decided that I wanted to design and blog, I got a new twitter account and started following every designer, developer and marketing expert I could find. My Twitter feed has become a constantly-flowing arsenal of content (and clickbait.) From "The Number One Thing New Designers Need To Learn" to "How I Got 1,000 Email Subscribers In A Week" I clicked on ALL of them. Next thing you know, an hour has gone by, and I don't really have any actionable takeaways from what I've read.
I think when you first get started, a certain amount to this is acceptable, because you're just so excited about learning everything, and I did learn a lot. But it's super important to get down to the doing, otherwise, you'll never get started!
Make a Big Investment
Being the frugal person I am, I find that I am much more committed to something once I've spent money on it. Not bargain-basement money, but a substantial investment that puts a dent in your yearly latte budget. For me, the first step in that process was web design and development training. I've spent a few hundred dollars on courses that can take my design skills to the next level, and they have been worth it.
Not only that, but the fact that I'm spending money on my business makes it that much more real. I'm less prone to spending my money on clothes or shoes now, and I actually have a savings account that automatically withdraws $100 a week from my paycheck. That money is on reserve just in case I come across a course or coaching offer that could be a game changer in growing my business. I've already found one that I'm so excited about, and because I have that fund, I don't have to think twice about purchasing. At the end of the day, that fund will be a part of my "Leap Fund" for when I make the jump to full-time freelancing.
Know Your Worth
It's easy to feel like an amateur when you see people who have been in business for years and seem to have it all figured out. Only recently did it dawn on me how much I have learned over the past year, and how 'present day' me is much closer to expertise than 'past day' me was. Back then, I didn't know what a widget was or how to change the permalinks on my site, and that's just scratching the surface. All the podcasts I have listened to, webinars I sat in on, and articles I have read (yes, some of that clickbait helped!)
If you've been in this game for any amount of time, you have a knowledge an expertise that comes with the trial and error of simply doing the work. That is knowledge and expertise that people will pay for. Maybe you didn't even know what a domain and hosting was this time last year. Or maybe you avoided the "text editing" column of Wordpress-- but now you know exactly what's going on in there. There are people out there who are still at stage 1, and they don't know any of this stuff. They will pay for your expertise. Things that may seem easy to you now, may have been a huge challenge last year. Remember that, and know that somebody wants/ needs the knowledge you have!
I hope these tips will help you break out of your own thoughts a bit, and realize that you've got something to offer. I am using this post to coach myself up, as well. The more clients I work with, the more I realize how much I have learned, and it is valuable to those them! So go ahead and put yourself out there!
Do you struggle with limiting thoughts as well? Let me know in the comments, and tell me how you break through them!