I’m afraid of disappointing my dream client.

An email arrives in my inbox and my heart flutters.

My “dream client” is interested in hiring me to design for their amazing new business! As I press send on my response, excitement turns to nerves as I start questioning everything. Is this email too long, too short, too much detail, not enough? Will it stand out compared to the other responses they’ve received?

My email chimes again … good news. They’ve completed my new client questionnaire. The butterflies are partying in my stomach as I realize the next step is to reply with an estimate. If it’s too high they may decide to work with someone else, but I also don’t want to devalue my work by not charging enough.

After spending way too much time deciding the perfect dollar amount, I send off the estimate. Eeeeeep!
Cue an angelic chorus. They’ve accepted my estimate and are ready to sign a contract.

Let me take this opportunity to offer you some I-learned-the-hard-way advice – ALWAYS USE A CONTRACT. Okay … moving on.

Sure, they could cancel the project, not pay me or even disappear off the face of the planet, but the thing that terrifies me the most is the possibility of disappointing them. They’re trusting me with their baby, after all, and I’ve promised to help them catch their dream customer.

My role as designer and brand developer plays a big part in the success of the business. I think it’s healthy to be nervous about these responsibilities because it pushes me to do my best work. All my fear is totally worth it when a client is proud to show off their new brand to the world.

Jordan Brantley is a designer who loves turning brands into works of art. When she’s not designing or blogging at her computer, you can find her scouting thrift stores, relaxing with her husband at the beach or sitting at a coffee shop brainstorming her next crazy side project.

You can find Jordan on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest and her site.

Krystle: Jordan, I agree that fear can sometimes be a good thing, especially when it challenges you to try harder. When a lot is riding on your ability to make magic happen, it’s so satisfying when it goes well. But it’s also okay if it doesn’t go so well every time. I’m sure you have as many horror stories as you do success stories. We all do! Sometimes our dream clients turn out to be not so … nice/respectful/etc., and it’s difficult not to blame ourselves. Just remember that you are the expert, you are a good designer and you deserve your rate and respect for your contract and process.

Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.

  1. What a lovely post! The very first “big” design job I got, I was almost 100% sure they were going to turn me down. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much about my processes and how well I was doing in comparison to agencies who were way bigger than my tiny two-man team. It’s only healthy to be nervous, as Jordan said, with every single proposal you send out because you’re creating an identity for a business. Love this post and so glad to see Jordan featured here!

    • The impossible is possible when you just jump in and go for it. Congrats on landing that sweet project (and many more).