the secret ingredient confidence photo by dttsp

How do you get enough confidence and support to get people to want you to help them?  I am a beginner and do not know where to start.  - Jennifer

I think of confidence as a little seed, you have to nurture it and let it grow.  People may not notice a little seedling in the beginning, but the more you feed it and tell it to keep growing, the bigger it'll get until eventually it is a beautiful plant.  But the key here, is that you need that seed to begin with.  You need a little seed of confidence.

While you can let things outside of yourself give you confidence, a true foundation will be built from things that can only come from within you.  For example, if your confidence is resting on a foundation of praise from clients, on approval from magazine editors, on affirmations from your peers , your confidence core can be rocked by anyone providing criticism.  But if you're confidence comes from within, your core will remain strong.  I highly recommend reading Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic for help in this.  One of my favorite quotes is from Bette Davis, "What other people think of me is none of my business."

So beyond personal confidence, you can gain confidence in running your business by creating systems and processes.   When you create systems, you don't have to make as many decisions during the design process which will help improve your confidence.  When you don't have to make a hundred little decisions, that is a hundred less questions if that decision is the right one.  When you are confident, your clients will have confidence in your ability.

Imagine you are teaching a cooking class and don't have a plan.  Should you boil the water first or show the class how to chop an onion? Do you turn the oven on for the entree or start the dessert?  You could be the best chef in world, but your students will not have faith that you can teach them how to cook and you'll probably feel a little frazzled as well.  This works for interior designers too.  If you don't have a plan, step-by-step, of what will happen to move the design process forward, how can you or your clients have faith that you can do the job?

By having systems from the very first point of contact with a potential client, you will create confidence.  Things like Wow! She's done this before and She knows what she is doing are more likely to be thought by potential clients when you have a plan.

There is no magic to creating systems.  You look at where you start and where you want to end and fill the steps in.  There is no right way.  Again - there is no perfect way.  Here is a process for signing a new client:

  1. Sign agreement & collect initial deposit
  2. Enter new client info in Studio Webware
  3. Set-up photo & measure appointment
  4. Create new client binder
  5. Create new client files on computer
  6. Have principal write welcome card
  7. Send client welcome package

Two things you want to include in your systems & processes, is WHO is responsible and WHEN it needs to be completed.

Anything you do in your business more than once can become systemized.  Systems will give you the confidence to run your business and clients confidence in you.