Is Imposter Syndrome Holding You Back In Your Web Design Business?

A person sits on a bench.

If you’ve ever felt like an imposter when marketing your web design business or talking to potential web design clients, read on my friend, because I wrote this for you!


I hear from web designers all the time that they know they are amazing at what they do, they know they build beautiful websites…

…and not only that, they have a blast building websites! It's their dream life! And they would love, love, love to get paid to build websites (and get paid well) and have a full-time web design business!

But there's just one little problem…

They have this voice in their head constantly telling them things like:

  • You're not good enough to do this. 
  • You don't know enough yet. 
  • You need to learn more. 
  • You need to take another class. 
  • No one would ever, no one would ever pay you for this. 
  • You know, you can't call yourself a web designer because you didn't go to school for this.
  • You can't call yourself a web designer because you use Squarespace and you don't custom code your websites. 
  • You can’t charge money for this – what if it takes you too long to finish?

Can you relate??!!

Do you have that voice going through your head all the time? That constant chatter of why you can't have your dream of creating a full-time income as a web designer?

What I hear from the people that we help inside of our Web Designer Academy is that the imposter syndrome really starts to flare up when they're not clear on exactly what they do and who they do it for.

They have a fear deep down inside that they’re gonna say they’re a web designer and a potential client’s gonna ask them to do something they don’t know how to do, and then they’re gonna be “found out” and the client’s gonna realize that they’re not a “real” web designer and they’ll just be sitting there on the other side of the Zoom meeting like a deer in headlights and having no idea what to say next and then they look down and they’re naked.

Worst. Nightmare. Ever.

Listen, I know that’s very dramatic, but I get it. I’ve been in your shoes, and I know that fear.

One of the things that we teach our Web Designer Academy students how to do is get crystal clear on what they love to do, what they don't love to do, what they're willing to do, and what they're not willing to do, what they’re great at and what they’re not great at – and how to SAY it to clients.

Then that's how you market yourself!

You don't just market “web design” – you market the things that you are fantastic at – and you market them as solutions for your clients.

So when you get really specific about what it is that you do, and who you do it for, and how you do it, then you rarely find yourself in a position where someone’s asking you to do something that you don't do or that you don't know how to do!

You get to take control of your web design business! Because YOU are the expert! 

Now, I know that this is a mindset shift, you being in control and you being the EXPERT at what you know and want to do and what you don’t know and what you don’t want to do…

…but  this whole imposter syndrome thing stems from a place of:

1) You not being really clear on what you do and what you don't do and really standing in that confidently and saying it and saying who it's for and who it's not for confidently, and

2) You feeling like you are subservient to your client.

I call it the employee mindset

We were all taught in school how to take orders and how to listen, right?

Then we went and got jobs, and we were taught to do what our bosses told us to do.

It’s only natural that we take that same mentality into our client interactions!

The biggest shift that you can make to get out of the imposter syndrome is to decide “I'm in charge of this. I have a service that they need. I get to define and determine what that service looks like. I am the one calling the shots here. And if the service I offer is not in alignment with what they need, then I'm not the right person for them. And that’s okay, because they can go find the person that is right for them.

So it's shifting from an order-taking pixel-pusher to a collaborative consultant.

When you’re a collaborative consultant, you’re only doing things that are in your zone of genius.

You think things like “This is the platform that I build on. This is what I do. This is who I love to help. I'm so good at these things. And I don’t offer these things, and that’s okay.

You are telling the client what you are going to do for them instead of them telling you what they want you to do for them.

It's a very different mindset!

If you have ever thought things like, “I don't know enough, I need to learn more…” my challenge to you is this:

What do you know right now that you can package up and offer to clients?

And if someone asks you if you can do something you don’t know how to do as a web designer, there are a couple of ways to think about it:

You can think that they are not the right match for you as a client, which is totally fine…

But I would like to offer another way to think about it…

You're smart.

You figured out how to do what you do now, you can figure it out IF you want to.

You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but it doesn't matter if you've been doing this for 20 years or two weeks, two months, you're going to run into issues with client situations that you never anticipated.

The most important skill you can have as a web designer is the skill of just being able to figure it out and being able to communicate with a client about what the possibilities and options are.

And that's the biggest skill you get to cultivate, not learning more code or more platforms or more skills.

Learning more” when you already know enough or you know how to figure it out is what keeps you from ever starting your web design business.

If imposter syndrome has been holding you back in your web design business:

  1. Get really clear on what you do and really clear on who you serve
  2. Start thinking of yourself not as an order taking, pixel pusher, but as the consultant who is coming in to this client's business and learning about their business and developing a solution for them, instead of being hired to just like, “Okay, I'll just wait for you to tell me what you need and then I'll do it. And hopefully, I know how to do it. And if I don't, well, I guess I'm screwed.”

That's the mindset that we want you to shift into……because mindset is the biggest thing between you and your success as a freelance web designer!

I could give you every single tip and strategy in the world for marketing your web design business and getting clients – but if your mindset is not in the right place, you will not implement the strategies and you will not take action on the tips!

I see it happen over and over again.

Which is why I recently hosted a Pricing Mindset Workshop just for web designers – and you can sign up to watch the replay NOW! 

After watching you'll:

  • Know exactly how much you need to charge to make a full-time living as a web designer.
  • Understand how to apply the Rule of 10 to figure out the true value of a website to your clients.
  • Have an upgraded belief system around all the reasons you think you can’t charge that much, you know… things like “I need more experience… I'm self-taught… my clients can't afford to pay more…”
  • Be aware of the 3 most common places web design businesses break down and leak time and money (and what to do to prevent or fix it).

It's a totally free training where we talk about all of the mindset stuff that keeps you undercharging, overdelivering, not doing outreach, not booking clients, working for free, working for way too little, and fix that…

….because you don't even know how valuable you are. You don't even know how many clients out there need you to be charging sustainably so that you can serve them at the level that they deserve to be served.

Sign up here!

more stories + strategies

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Hi, I'm Shannon!

I’ve been coaching + mentoring web designers on how to package, price, market and sell web design for over 7 years… it’s time to forget everything you think you know about selling web design projects!

If you’re ready to stop undercharging and overdelivering and finally create a profitable, sustainable dreamy web design business, get my free Profitable Pricing Training and change everything you thought about how much you can charge for your web design services.

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