Entrepreneurs like myself who work in creative service industries often discover that we have to market ourselves as much as, if not more than, our service. We are the eyes, ears, and hands behind our service. A customer who hires our business actually hires us, the people behind the business. Our “product” is our skill, our craft, our art. The value of our service depends on what our customers value about us, the skilled worker, the craftsman, the artist, the writer.
Creative work in service industries is subjective. With writing and editing, for instance, one potential customer may understand the time, skill, and knowledge that must go into writing that reflects correctness, purpose, and relevance. That person will readily accept the “cost” of such work, desiring the product that will result.
On the other hand, another person who doesn’t understand what it takes to create high-quality writing may regard such services as irrelevant, assuming (incorrectly) that “anyone can write.” And how, we may ask, are we to convince them otherwise when they seemingly have already formed an opinion about the value of the work we do?
As much as we may be tempted to look to customers to validate our worth (and the accompanying rates for our services), we must remember that the value of a creative service industry comes from within. We have to be confident that what we offer is worthwhile and worth what we charge. As Stefanie Flaxman notes in a recent post, “[Creative business owners] know their creations are not going to please everyone — and they know they deserve to be paid anyway, simply because of their high level of thought and care for their work.”
What’s more, as Flaxman explains, the very people who may need our services and yet don’t value them don’t matter. We can still “own” our knowledge, skills, and expertise. Ultimately, we know what our services are worth and the impact they make. Those customers who recognize the same will reap the rewards of what we have to offer.
If you work in a creative service industry and find yourself struggling with imposter syndrome, I encourage you to check our Flaxman’s full article. She offers insights into two key steps to keep that imposter in our brains in check.