Tilda Blog

Beating Designer's First Job Fear

🤜 😱 Rookie web designers doubt their abilities and can dread taking on first commercial projects for fear of failing or missing deadlines. We’ve asked pro designers to share how they overcame this fear

1. Articulate What Makes You Scared
Make a list of things that worry you about your first project. Is it the risk of disappointing a client? Or the need to speak a language you're not fluent in?

Then come up with solutions: If you’re afraid to miss the deadline, ask for some extra time from your client in case of unforeseen issues. Also, make sure that your first projects aren’t urgent ones.

Jan Mráz: "The scariest part for me was communicating with clients in English since I'm not a native speaker. It was quite tricky at first. After some practicing though, I gained confidence about it."

2. Imagine The Worst-Сase Scenario
What happens if your fear becomes a reality? Maybe this client will leave you or even ask for a refund: Upsetting but not a big deal. But if things do work out, you’ll be adding a new project to your portfolio with a paycheck in your pocket.

Frankie Kastenbaum: "My first design job was working as a solo practitioner, freelancing for clients. The transition from Bootcamp was intimidating as I no longer had the safety net and feedback from classmates. However, it forced me to see the whole “picture”—highlighting weaknesses I had to face head-on and overcome."

3. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s easy to get flooded with insecurities when you look at somebody else's work. But comparing yourself to others won’t make you better at what you do, focusing on your own personal goals and objectives will.

Simon Wijers: "You will probably doubt yourself, mostly because you see so many great designers out there. But comparing yourself to others is the worst thing you can do. There will always be someone who is better at their job: Compete only with yourself, not with others."

4. Work On Your Skills
If you want to get better at something, learn something new every single day: Try new techniques, stay on top of the industry trends, and don’t be shy to ask for feedback from people whose work you admire.

Jan Mráz: "It took me more than a year of training before I got my first freelance design job. Studies and feedback from skilled designers gave me confidence, so I didn't hesitate and started working without any problems."

5. Go Easy On Yourself
Struggling to escape the impostor syndrome trap? Take a deep breath and write down all your professional and personal accomplishments. Look at that list from time to time. You got this, we believe in you!
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