Check in with yourself: are you attracting the clients you want, or is something off?
Are you and your brand mostly perceived the way you want to be, or does there seem to be a disconnect between you and your audience?
I once found myself in a position where I was repeatedly being asked to design things that didn't really meet my personal aesthetic standards. Naturally, being a people-pleaser like so many of us are, I felt like a giant jerk and struggled with the question: am I a design snob if I tell a client no? How do I reconcile design integrity and client choice?
A really talented designer asked this question that shifted the ways I think about what I do: “Are you an artist, being paid for your vision and talent? Or are you just the paintbrush, being paid to help illustrate someone else’s ideas?”
There was no right or wrong answer, just a check-in on personal preferences and how I actually wanted to focus my efforts. She said that she’s spent a lot of time developing her eye and her abilities, and she sees herself as an artist who is paid for her unique talent. That shapes the way she designs, and the kind of input she'll accept from clients.
I hadn't really thought about it that way. There's the person you hire to design visual strategies for your business, including your website. And then there's the person you hire to put your website together. Semantics, maybe. Very similar work, yes. But one is an artist, a philosopher, a marketer, and in my case, a visionary and a healer. The other is just a person with some technical skills.
Which one would you pay more for?
Which one would you try to micromanage? (Well, hopefully neither, because you're not a giant turd.)
I'll rephrase: which one would you trust to create powerful, potent results?
No part of me has ever wanted to just be the paintbrush. No part of me has ever wanted to write and re-write code for somebody who didn't have a clear purpose and direction.
So, in short: no, I don’t just “make websites.” I don’t just create pretty pictures. It’s an art. It’s my focus, my area of expertise, my life. I take that seriously because I want absolutely brilliant results for my clients.
I realized I needed to better communicate all of that upfront. Everybody involved should be clear on what we're creating and why it matters.
What would you be doing, in an ideal scenario? How would you deliver on that and work with people in ways that feel amazing to both of you?
Then go get it. It's already yours if you want it, so claim it. Create boundaries if necessary, and set the expectation upfront so that everyone knows who you are and can trust that they're in good hands because you're a genius in your field.
You're in charge of how your business is run. Let's not lose sight of that.