Last year, a woman named Julie booked a discovery call with me to discuss launching a new brand. She and her brand manager hopped on the phone, and we had an amazing initial conversation. They decided not to pursue that brand, but they asked if we could set up a second call to discuss another venture they had in mind, called Color Dept. Absolutely!
I still hadn’t pieced together who I was really talking to.
Our second call was another success — we connected, felt inspired, and I pitched myself with confidence. At the end of the call, I asked Julie’s brand manager to share her email address for their custom proposal. She said her name, followed by “at Sincerely Jules dot com.” Wait…
Sincerely Jules? THE popular lifestyle and fashion blog that I read religiously in college? The one with a 12-year history and over 6 million followers??
Yes, that one. And I had been talking to Julie Sariñana herself.
The Color Dept. Brand
In hindsight, I think it was good I didn’t realize who I was talking to. It allowed me to be more confident in pitching myself without the pressure of closing a high-profile client. I was able to just be myself and see Julie and her team as if they were any other clients.
Buuut after the call, naturally, I started freaking out.
I couldn’t believe someone like Julie had found me, let alone wanted me to develop the branding for her new venture! I was ecstatic. And scared. Like there’s no way I was good enough or could do this. But I knew I had to.
Once Julie and her team decided to move forward, the magnitude of this project really started to hit me. The initial contract negotiations were more involved than any I’d done before, and we had to be totally close-lipped about everything. There were also more people involved than I had ever experienced: investors, publicists, marketers, Julie, and other creative team members.
Everything was done at the highest level. And that meant I would have to bring my highest level self, too.
A Whole New Level of Believing in Myself
I’ll be honest, when we started the collaboration for Color Dept. (a color-loving, cruelty-free, vegan line of nail polish), bringing my highest level self to this project felt harder than anything I had ever worked on. I was terrified!
I remember sending Julie’s team our first round of logo concepts, scared to hear their thoughts… and they actually didn’t really like any of them and asked to see more! I thought for sure they were going to regret hiring me, or realize I wasn’t good enough or creative enough to be on the project. (Which were total lies I was telling myself.)
But everyone believed I could do it. Which meant I had to believe I could do it, too.
So I did. With each new week, I constantly pushed past my own anxiety to take creative risks. I led brand strategy meetings, presented my ideas for the website and how I saw it converting, and consulted on various elements of the brand throughout the project.
In return, my work (even when given constructive feedback) was always acknowledged and appreciated with the highest respect. They cared about me like I was one of the team, and we all worked super hard. I felt honored and grateful to be a part of the team, and I stepped up as the creative I knew I could be.
In the end, I f*cking did it. And I’ll never be the same.
What I Learned from this Process
This will forever be a project that I’m insanely proud of. This whole process was hard — both mentally and creatively — but it was also SO fun and rewarding!
Julie and her team were some of the kindest, most generous, humble, thoughtful clients I’ve ever worked with. They were my dream clients, and I believe that dream clients are the ones who allow you to do the work you were put on this earth to do.
Above all, I proved to myself that I am good at what I do. That people I creatively admire, creatively admire me back. That I can trust myself and that creative risks are rewarded and appreciated.
Yes, I absolutely believed all of these things before this experience (and hadn’t dealt with imposter syndrome for a while), but with each new level of business, your beliefs will be challenged again and again, just in bigger ways. And you will grow from them in the best ways.
Lastly, if there’s any other wisdom I could give you, it’s this: Dream clients aren’t rare. They aren’t hiding behind a door that only “the best” designers get access to. They are the clients who respect you, uplift you, and challenge you to rise into your creative power.
And when all of your clients are dream clients, believe me, your work and your life feel like a big YES.
Attracting Your Dream Clients
If you’re ready to build a profitable six-figure (or higher) design business that attracts your dream clients, don’t spend years making the same mistakes I did. You don’t need to underprice yourself. You don’t need to prowl Upwork for clients. It doesn’t have to be hard.
My 6-month Drop Dead Designer Course guides you through business-building modules and weekly coaching calls that will:
- Help you price your services for real profit
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So what the heck are you waiting for?! Get on the waitlist here and let’s do this thing.