Anxiety? Confidence? Or Just Not Ready?

Hi Friends and Happy New Year! :star2:

Last year was a transformative year for me as I started to dive deep in exploring my interest in design! I took a summer design course, took a woodworking class, and helped some friends with some interior projects.

My community has been very supportive and I had someone out of my network reach out and ask for design support. The project was much bigger in scope than anything I had every done (apartments/offices vs. large scale homes 10k+ sq ft). My friends and family were so excited they encouraged me to go for it, and they were willing to pay. I charged a very low rate sharing I was still new and tried to lower the scope since I knew it would take me longer to address their needs.

Since we have started I have been moving incredibly slow and feeling like I am not putting my best work forward mostly because:

  • Their home is filled with more “luxury brand furniture” which I have less experience in

  • I’m still getting the hang of how much communication/input needed for folks I do not know

  • Not feeling generally confident in my ability to deliver with my experience at the moment.

They haven’t shared any disappointment mostly because they have been busy with their lives and they have yet to pay me. I don’t want to sell myself short but I’m also not sure I can deliver on this project at this time in my career. I am hoping I can maybe recommend some local designers I’ve come to know as some options that can give them what the need ina reasonable time?

Would love to hear stories on how you’ve navigated something similar/ how to make a decision moving forward.


It’s hard when you start because there are a lot of learning curves. I think your best bet would be to communicate with them and be honest. I am telling prospective clients that I am newer and some things might take me a little longer, thus I’m offering flat rates so they don’t pay for my learning curve. But then I also explain the pros of working with someone newer. I only have one paying client so far, but I also explained that for the two freebie projects I took on and some more recent consults and so far everyone has been very understanding. Things like familiarity will all the brands, learning how to work with people you don’t know, etc. is all part of the learning process and that is ok!


Hey Deandra! Happy to see your face in here, and congrats on all the progress with exploring your passion for design.

These situations are always tricky! I always found myself saying yes to any and every design project when I was first starting out (which I do generally believe in), but then occasionally I would run into things like this where it felt like I bit off more than I could chew. When that would happen, I would ask myself 1) is this just imposter syndrome?, and then 2) ignoring any fears or anxieties, am I excited about this project and seeing it through? If I had any hesitation on the second question for any reason (like I just took the job because I was just starting out and I felt like I needed to, or because it could be nice for my portfolio even though it is not my design style at all…), then I knew I had to listen to that and handle the situation.

So my question back to you is, are you excited about this project? Do you think it could be a good fit if you can get over this hurdle? To Kate’s point, I do believe there is power in honesty and transparency, and when it comes to clients, most things can be sorted with clear communication and expectation-setting. If you want to make it work, you can/should try and make it work! I would try telling them what scope you can handle at this time, and see what they say. On the imposter syndrome note — it’s always going to creep in. I’ve talked to professional designers who have been doing this for years who still get anxiety over projects (sucks to hear it will always creep in :sweat_smile:), but at the end of the day, they figure it out! I can think of a few projects where I absolutely thought I wasn’t going to be able to do the thing and complete the project, and they all got done. TLDR: Imposter syndrome is the worst.

One last thing I’ll say though is to really trust your gut. Do you get along with the client? Is this project going to be worth your time and effort if you do stick around? You might be newer to design, but you are still talented, bringing value to them, and offering up your time and creativity, so make sure you feel like you’re getting value out of the project too, especially if they are underpaying. You got this!


How did you determine your flat rate? Did you just estimate how many hours you think it might take? I def feel the paying for my learning curve and how much longer it might take me. I have told them up front that I am still new and learning and that it will take me longer than and experienced designer but I get overwhelmed and forget! Thanks for this and yay to your first paying client!

Thank you for this! :smiling_face_with_tear: I was going to give up and then my partner suggested asking this group for advice and y’all did not disappoint. I was very excited about this project and I did minimize the scope. I think it’s just the learning curve pains and imposter syndrome creeping in. The couple is actually fairly accommodating and willing to work with me. I like the idea of flat rates so I can feel less stressed about the # of hours I am putting into it. Thank you both!!

I used the Spoak tool and just guessed tbh and then adjusted from there. I’m still not great at estimating but I have time blindness which doesn’t help lol. I find if I’m doing floor plan, mood boards and sourcing I tend to be more accurate overall because I end up taking less time than anticipated for one bit and more for another so it kind fo evens out. There really isn’t another way to do it except to just do it and see how long it takes you.

I’m so glad you shared and that we could root you on! Also, here is the pricing calculator that Kate mentioned in case you haven’t seen it yet :slight_smile: It helps you determine your rate!

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I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said, but just wanted to come here to say you got this!! :slightly_smiling_face: Break the scope up into pieces, and take it piece by piece!


Hey all! @katealbee @danielaaraya @kateseymour Just wanted to give you an update that I reflected and it was most definitely my anxiety and imposter syndrome. I set up a meeting to present what I had and they liked what they saw! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :sweat_smile:

After the meeting I was thinking how wild it was they I let my imposter syndrome hold me back. They wanted me to find some more art for them and I come up with art once we finalize the large furniture pieces and which rooms they will be in.



Are you on Instagram?

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I am! Although I haven’t put much of my design on there just DIY projects but it is a goal for next year as I continue to build my port folio. I am @dedecadet on instagram

I just followed you :slight_smile: @crownandcloverllc

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Ahhh I love this update :smiling_face_with_tear: Go Deandra!!! 9/10 times it’s always going to be imposter syndrome sneaking up on you. Proud of you for sticking through it!

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Late to the party, but just wanted to say it was so awesome to see that you decided to keep pushing!! Would love another update now that it’s been a little while! Way to go!! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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