how to master the 3 essential steps so you can book dreamy clients!
Hi, I'm Marisa, founder of Quill & Co. We work with doers and go-getters ready to do something truly ambitious so that they can stand out and find brand clarity.
Krista was working for a book publisher but found it to be very corporate and confining. So at 22 she quit her job and moved to Spain to teach English. With this new part-time job, in a new country with few connections, she started freelancing on the side through platforms like Upwork doing book editing and marketing. And over a year, that freelancing work morphed into her current role as a copywriter.
Krista wants people to realize that copywriting is about so much more than just words. It is about about the messaging that those words convey. Similar to how as designers, our work is so much more than just a logo or a small design, that what we give to our clients has strategy behind it. The tool is the design or the copywriting, both are in service to our clients to help them get to their end goal.
Krista opens up in this week’s episode to go over how therapy helped her validate her pain and find a way to process it. She dives deep into how it helped not only her personal life but how therapy can reshape your business and propel you forward.
Krista started out going to therapy to help with her mental health but found it also changed her business. One of her biggest lessons from it was uncovering some unhelpful thought patterns that were deeply ingrained in her. Krista says she’d blame herself often for things outside of her control. When she identified that, she was able to stop talking negatively to herself, silence her inner critic, and foster a core belief that she is a good person deserving of good things in her life.
Fostering this new belief helped her in her business. She was able to start to pursue new opportunities in her business because she was no longer afraid of the outside response. Entrepreneurship is very vulnerable. We have to put ourselves out there for sales calls, social media, pitching new business, and more. I know for me, I have a hard time showing up in my business and on social media when I’m in an icky headspace.
Krista found that too; her negative self-talk was keeping her from new business. Rejection used to feel like the end of the world. Before therapy, Krista used to take rejection as a confirmation that she was a flawed human unworthy of success. It kept her from taking any necessary risks that are needed in all successful businesses. After therapy, she now has a healthy relationship with rejection. She feels disappointed and then uses it as a learning tool for next time. Rejection has nothing to do with your validity as a designer or a person. Getting rejected on sales calls, or people passing on your offering only means it was not a correct fit for them right now.
Krista says that after therapy taking risks in her business is now easier to do. The risks are the same as before, but when you wrap those risks in a negative space they feel like life and death.
If you fail or risks don’t work out how you thought they would, you are not a failure. The risk is now just information. You use what you learned from the experience, revise, make a new plan, and move forward from there. It’s important to not tie our worth into the risks we take in our business.
One of Krista’s biggest takeaways from therapy was learning that her pain wasn’t her fault and was valid. She wrongfully used to believe that because she couldn’t tie her pain to a single traumatic event, it wasn’t valid and that it was her fault for feeling that way. That she must have made up these feelings. This idea of it being both valid and not her fault, allowed her to begin to process it and let go of the shame around it.
The experience of being a human is rarely linear and not clear-cut. It’s okay to have pain and not have an event to tie it back to. You don’t need to give people a date on a calendar of when something happened for your pain to be valid.
Krista admits she was putting too much pressure on herself. She knew she had pain but believed it to be her fault and told herself that she was undeserving of feeling pain because nothing happened to her. There is no way to move through life with that much pressure on yourself. If you don’t allow yourself to acknowledge your pain, and admit that it’s there, then you will never be able to make progress.
Krista found that when she was suffering from chronic, low self-esteem typical business advice to grow her business, did not work for her. Advice like, “charge what you’re worth”, can be harmful to someone who sees no value in themselves.
Or, advice to “tap into your friends and family for business first”, didn’t work either because she kept her business a secret from them. It felt too vulnerable for people who knew her to see another side of her. She was afraid they would downplay her business and that it would validate her feelings of unworthiness.
Krista explains that she spent the first couple of years only working with referrals and people that actively sought her out for work. The idea of actively seeking out clients or doing sales scared her. She was unknowingly holding herself back in her business and her revenue goals based on her internal dialogue around her worth. She refused to upsell clients, pitch new sales, or do anything you need to do to run a successful, thriving business.
We are pitched often to change our mindset or tap into our mindset to change our business, but how do know when we need more than just a mindset shift? When is it a time to start looking for a therapist instead?
Krista notes that a business coach can help you with your goals and mindset and is typically focused on moving you forward in your business. A therapist, on the other hand, typically looks back. They will dive into your past and go into how it affects your current day-to-day life. Krista remembers hearing a talk on mindset and thinking there was no way she could ever get there. That she believed herself so unworthy of the goals a mindset shift would give her. She admits, that when she had a severe self-esteem problem, it would have been too hard for a business coach to have coached her through it. Having her own business didn’t bring up this pain for her but amplified it when her income became tied to it. She knew she needed to seek help and needed a therapist. She realized she needed to look into her past relationships first before she could do the mindset work of looking forward to the future.
Krista went through a hard time and did the hard work to get to where she is today in her life and business. A lot of her prior self-talk and self-esteem were so skewed in the past that she had to relearn which feelings she could trust in herself. She now thinks that the biggest lesson in her business was to do whatever makes her feel alive. Krista says she struggles with decision making but when she can trust the feelings that come up, when she can make a decision, and note if it feels good, or lights her up, then she should move forward with it.
Krista says her practical mind can get in the way of a lot of her business decision-making. Krista recalls that when she started, she niched down solely based on pragmatism and low self-esteem. She wanted her niche to be so unique because she feared competition with other copywriters. But her heart was not in it, and so her niche untimely did not work out for her. Her heart was in copywriting for service-based providers but her self-esteem and inner voice kept her from doing it for years because she was too afraid of having to sell herself to clients to stand out in the sea of copywriters. But Krista’s business has skyrocketed since she focused on where her heart lies and what she is truly passionate about.
It’s so easy to see what works for other designers or what is making money for them at the moment, and think you have to niche towards that instead of following your path.
You can start to feel the pressure of always having to do more. But take a second and do a gut check. Is that freebie offering something you want to do? Something that aligns with your goals?
How are you feeling in your business and your personal life? Are your negative thoughts about yourself holding you back from succeeding in your business? Is the weight of your self-esteem keeping you from trying something new?