How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome while starting a Graphic Design Business || Tips for Mindset Shifts


Are you an aspiring creative entrepreneur and know what it feels like to doubt yourself? Do you find yourself comparing your work to the achievements of others and feel like you’re a fraud compared to them? Have you asked yourself what you could possibly know or do better than those in the same industry as you? All of these thoughts are perfect examples of Imposter Syndrome and in this blog post, I’m going to share my story and the mindset changes I had to make to overcome four limiting beliefs while starting my graphic design business.

Just last year, I was living the dream in Vancouver, Canada, my home town, working as a Brand Manager in Health Care. Early 2019, my husband and I had the wild idea of creating some shifts in our lifestyle with the purpose of trying something new. And when we say shifts – we really meant it. August 2019, we sold practically everything in our home, packed our bags and moved to Amsterdam, Netherlands!

While my husband found another job, I decided to switch careers and start my own graphic design business. It was overwhelming to say the least, and many limiting beliefs started creeping in while I made the shift to not only become a new entrepreneur, but to also pursue a completely new skill professionally.

But let’s back it up for a second -What really is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome ,simply said, is a constant feeling of doubting yourself and feeling like a fraud in what you do, especially compared to others in similar roles as you. It’s not a fun feeling, and most if not everyone feels this way at some point especially when you’re pushing yourself to try something new. It can make it hard to do your work, it can be debilitating, and it can really create mental blocks that stop you in your way of achieving your dreams.

How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome while starting a Graphic Design Business

Recognizing your Limiting Beliefs

As I was building out my graphic design business, I realized that my brain was repeating four major limiting beliefs that lead to my feelings of imposter syndrome. First off- even recognizing that I had these 4 limiting beliefs was a major shifting point for me. It required a lot of inner work to group them into succinct points, but doing so helped feel like it was a manageable task to overcome them one by one.

Below I’ll be going through the limiting beliefs I’ve faced throughout my journey, but if you want the full run-down on how I overcame them, head to the video linked at the bottom of this blog post.

1. I can’t start because I haven’t learned how to do everything yet

This one was a particular big struggle for me because I haven’t been professionally trained for any of the services I wanted to charge people for. When starting out, I had so many ideas on what to offer, being a brand designer, creating logos, designing a website, diving into video production – all these options overwhelmed me. I thought that I can’t become a graphic designer until I knew how to do all these services. But let me tell you right now: You don’t need to know everything.

Start small and only offer what you’re comfortable with right now. YOU get to choose what YOU offer. Don’t let the overwhelm stop you from moving forward. You can always add more services later.

2. What if my clients ask me about something I don’t know?

I used to be so scared of being faced with a question I didn’t know how to answer that it paralyzed me to the point I didn’t even want to get on a client call. Reading Marie Forleo’s “Everything is Figureoutable” really helped me, because guess what: Everything really is figureoutable. Don’t let the idea that you don’t know something paralyze you. There’s so many free resources these days between Google, mentors, friends etc. Simply let your client know that you will get back to them shortly and provide your solution on a follow-up call. It’s also okay to just be frank and to say that something is not within your expertise. People don’t expect you to have every answer, especially not on the spot, so don’t put that pressure on yourself.

3. What if clients ask for my credentials?

Here’s a truth bomb: Not once have I been asked for my credentials in my year starting this business. Your clients don’t care whether you’ve been to design school or not. All they care about is whether you can do work for them in the style they envision. But how do you collect work samples if you’re just starting out? Mock projects and portfolios work wonders! Imagine your dream client, define their business and brand, and then design, design design. Practise most definitely makes perfect here!

4. Why would people trust me over someone more experienced?

This was one of the hardest limiting beliefs to overcome. With so many friends and family in the industry, I was almost embarrassed to tell them that I wanted to change careers and start charging for a skill no one has ever seen me do before. What I’ve learnt to realize is that people don’t just choose you by the designs you can do. But ultimately, clients choose you for you. You are most uniquely you because of your past life experiences, the different perspectives that you have, and your awesome personality. Live into your truth, and allow your differences to be part of your brand and what makes your business set apart from others.

I still struggle with these from time to time but feelings of imposter syndrome are natural and happen – and if they don’t, you might not be challenging yourself enough to get uncomfortable and grow! Working on my mindset to overcome limiting beliefs and reminding myself to see each situation from a different perspective has really helped me become a better graphic designer and business owner in the creative space.

Watch the video below as I go through each limiting belief in more detail and what you can do to overcome them.

Hey there!

I'm cheryl, the one behind this blog!

I'm a designer, brand expert, YouTuber, and avid traveler from Vancouver, Canada. 

I quit my fancy corporate 9-5 a couple of years ago, hopped onto a plane and started Made on Sundays along with my new mindful lifestyle in Amsterdam. 

Today I serve thousands of female entrepreneurs around the world, helping them clarify their brand story, design the brand of their dreams, and confidently show up to their soulmate clients.