Dear self, reflecting on the chilly October night of your re-launch party three years ago: you were brave, if filled to the brim with doubt.
You had spent a year focusing on your family and your home, and this celebration was your time. You welcomed your carefully selected guests to Baltimore Print Studios with a warm hug and a magnetic name tag designed for them to use at future events. Everyone had the opportunity to letterpress their own postcard and, it was the networking event of your dreams: fun, intimate, a memorable experience for everyone. When it came time to acknowledge the moment with a short speech, you were so scared to face the ones most important to you: friends, family, your muses, dreamy prospective clients, dear clients who believed in you from the beginning. Their opinions were the ones that mattered to you most.
You didn’t know it was doubt at the time. You thought it was nerves about speaking to a crowd – not a complete lack of confidence in your ability to run a successful business. Feeling that other creative entrepreneurs knew what they were doing – and doing it better. Feeling that you were just one of many designers and unworthy of attention. Not feeling unique among the competition… But you did it anyway: face red, hands fidgeting, body trembling, voice shaking, you expressed the importance of the moment and committed to success as a designer, a creative and a business owner.
You will feel loneliness like you’ve never felt. You’ll experience loss. You’ll meet true friends and cultivate a community that reflects the person you want to be. You’ll gain an all-new understanding of marriage, and you’ll start articulating the benefits of your work to the right people in an interesting way.
You’ll become a leader in your own way. You’ll emerge a confident, strong business woman with a clear vision for your future. You will feel doubt again and you will be tested unlike ever before, but you’ll have the tools to refocus your uncertainty and shaken confidence because you know:
You are talented as hell.
Your clients trust you because they know you hold their vision dear.
You know how to stop over-thinking, over-planning and just do.
You are building a business of worth.
When you believe, your clients will too.
Remember that, and you’ll always look back on your doubts with a sense of pride, and overcoming.
MotherHustle panelist Illiah Manger is the creative mind and chief designer behind C&V, where she collaborates with daring business owners with heart. She is known for creating clarity and focus while allowing her clients to co-pilot the design process. Illiah wholeheartedly believes in brands that are intimate and designed to tell a story. She is also the co-founder of Elevate & Cultivate, an online community for design professionals to strengthen their skills, get feedback on their work and make friendships stronger than Gotham Ultra.
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