FINDING CONFIDENCE AS A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR WITH GUEST BLOGGER MADDIE BLANCHARD
For many of us, confidence doesn’t come naturally, but you can learn how to be confident, remain humble and open to healthy critique, to set yourself up for success in your business.
For many of us, confidence doesn’t come naturally. It’s a tricky thing - too much of it and you come across as arrogant or narcissistic. Too little of it, and you may be seen as a push-over or filled with self-doubt. But if you can find the sweet spot where you can be confident, but remain humble and open to healthy critique, then you are set up for success in your business.
Confidence in our own work as creative, handmade entrepreneurs can be the hardest to come by. When we price our product, we are also placing a value on our time and skills. Sometimes it feels easier and safer to under-price our work; we allow self-doubt to creep in and tell us our work is worth less than something produced on an assembly line. We fear that if we price our items appropriately, then what we make (and therefore us by extension) will be rejected. But there are intentional steps we can take towards protecting and increasing our confidence and not undermining our work as creators!
1. Practice makes better (because perfection isn’t worth striving for) and saving your early work.
I kind of hate the saying that practice makes perfect. As a handmade maker who has some perfectionist tendencies, striving for perfection is something I need to actively avoid because I know it isn’t attainable. But “better” is always a worthy goal - I always want to work towards improving my craft, and that takes intentional practice. It may mean wasting some materials, but is it really a waste if it makes us better? Think of those material costs as an investment in your craft! One way you can track your progress (and boost your confidence!) is by holding on to some of your early work, prototypes, test products, etc. During our last move, I was unpacking boxes and came across one of my very first knitting projects. It was a standard scarf, but it illuminated how much I have grown in my craft since I first started. My yarn tension wasn’t consistent, and there were holes where I had accidentally dropped stitches. Holding one of my recent pieces up to this old one provided a tangible way of seeing my progress. The same goes for my jewelry - looking at some of the pieces I made when I first started compared to now shows a huge amount of growth. So hold onto those early pieces if you can! Pull them out occasionally to remind yourself of your progress, and you’ll notice your confidence growing along with your skills!
2. Don’t let rejection slow you down
Everyone faces rejection - even the people we look up to most. Take J.K. Rowling as an example; I personally take comfort in knowing that one of my favorite authors faced plenty of rejection before publishing her first novel. Despite rejection, her work went on to become one of the most well beloved series of books in our lifetime (and probably beyond!). So when rejection is a guarantee, we need to brace ourselves to face it and not let it crush our confidence. Try to remind yourself that the most successful people got to where they are because they learned to let rejection roll off their backs and continued to work towards their goal. Look at each rejection as an opportunity to improve your pitch and your product, and then keep trying! For example, If you get turned down for a big craft show, don’t give up - simply look for ways to improve your application, ask for feedback, and apply again next time!
3. Don’t compare
Nothing kills confidence in our creativity quite like comparison. When you see other people selling products similar to yours and they seem to be more successful, don’t play the comparison game. Instead, try to see how they are marketing themselves differently and learn from their success! Everyone’s creative journey is unique - we all face different challenges and hurdles, and just because someone else in your field is successful doesn’t mean you won’t be. Instead of comparing ourselves to other creators and struggling with jealousy or self-doubt because we haven’t “made it” yet, remember that there is plenty of room at the craft table, and we should be applauding our fellow creators, not using their success to feel badly about ourselves.
4. Celebrate the little victories, too.
It’s easy to think that we can only celebrate the big milestones, like reaching a certain sales goal, or having thousands of followers on a social media platform. But you’ll find that your confidence will slowly start to increase when you take time to celebrate the small victories as well. Some examples - being accepted into your first craft show, reaching 100 followers on a social media platforms, your first sale to a complete stranger, etc. Small victories are an integral part of the process, and we can’t get to the big victories without them.
5. Take a break.
It’s easy to lose confidence in ourselves when we feel creatively blocked. We link our confidence to our ability to produce new and unique things, so our confidence takes a hit when we don’t have a new idea or can’t execute the vision we have in our head. So when you feel yourself hitting those creative roadblocks, take a break! Get some fresh air by taking a walk, even if it’s just around the block. Or go read an article related to your field, do some research, work on some business housekeeping tasks, etc. Try not to place your confidence solely in your creativity - that isn’t fair to yourself! You aren’t an artistic robot that can produce new products all the time. And remind yourself that your creative business isn’t based on your creativity alone - it’s also based on your tenacity, your marketing, your networking, and so much more. You have a lot to offer the world, so offer it confidently.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Maddie Blanchard and I am the artist and owner of BlanchardBeauties. I am a self-taught jewelry maker and knitter. My work can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/BlanchardBeauties, and my IG handle is @blanchardbeauties (Facebook is the same). Nature inspires me, so lots of my work incorporates natural materials such as lava stone, crystal, sea glass, etc.