You aren’t that talented

“You aren’t that talented.”

“You don’t belong here.”

“Everyone here is better than you.”

“Her booth looks way better than yours.”

“Your jewelry isn’t unique.”

Who do you think you are charging that much for your work?”

No, these weren’t the sharp words of a particularly cruel customer. These harsh thoughts rolled through my own head as I strolled down the aisles checking out the other vendors at my first trade show.

Over the years I sold my jewelry at numerous craft shows, and at this point, I do them without much thought.

However, participating in a trade show and selling directly to stores was a whole new ball game for me. It meant a new booth display; creating my first catalog; taking orders to be fulfilled later at home rather than selling ready-made pieces right there; and three days of smiling, standing, and constantly being on.

For weeks preparing for the trade show was all I thought about.

From January until the night before I left for Portland on a brisk St. Patrick’s Day morning, I had at least one stress dream a week where I usually forgot something important. (Thankfully, in reality, the only thing I left at home was a shirt I planned to wear on day two of the event. Way better than leaving my jewelry at home!)

Even though it was a juried show, meaning that I had to apply and be selected by a panel of judges, on throughout the weekend and leading up to the event I doubted my abilities.

Repeatedly.

It’s never easy to put yourself out there, and selling something you make is basically thrusting yourself out at the world and asking everyone to judge you and your talents.

I worried about everything.

I worried that my jewelry wasn’t good enough, that my booth display was lacking, that I had priced my jewelry too high, that I priced my jewelry too low, that I was a hack, that I wasn’t a real jewelry designer, that my line was smaller than everyone else’s, that my look wasn’t as polished, that I wasn’t that talented.

Those feelings were amplified by the fact that I was a new person on the trade show scene. Though I wasn’t the only first-time vendor there, I was surrounded by seasoned veterans. People who have been doing this show and others for years.

People who obviously knew what they were doing.

Me? I felt like I was making it up as I went along.

In truth, no matter where you are in your business, it’s easy for anyone to have those moments of doubt creep in.

To think you aren’t that talented, you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t belong.

On the last day of the show I talked to one vendor who has done this show for years, and she mentioned that she still worries that she isn’t good enough.

And that’s when it hit me.

I was selected to be there. I wasn’t a hack or lacking talent. Other people’s work wasn’t better (or worse) than mine, just different. I may not have reached my sales goal, but stores had chosen my work from a selection of 300 vendors to sell at their stores.

The morning of the first day of the show, as my husband drove us the 15 minutes from our friends’ house to the venue, he held my hand and reminded me to breathe. No matter what happened, I knew I had put my best foot forward. And most importantly, I was doing something that I love.

While it is not easy to make a living running a handmade business — and believe me, I am nowhere there — sometimes I pinch myself that this is what I get to do. On the days I spend hours making jewelry, working on orders or new designs, I feel like I’m somehow cheating. Work isn’t supposed to be playful or fun, right?

But the truth is those are my favorite days, and I can’t believe I get paid to do it.

So when you feel those moments of doubt creeping in, and you start to worry that you aren’t qualified or you’re faking it, remember this:

Almost everyone has those moments of doubt.

Regardless of how absolutely fantastic your work is or how polished your skills are, someone isn’t going to like it.

Your work will speak to someone, you just have to find the right someones.

Most importantly, you are doing something that you love.

What do you do when you feel the self-doubt coming in?

13 thoughts on “You aren’t that talented”

  1. Aw, I have had many of these feelings and questions at times of my own self-worth with working. Therefore, you are most definitely not alone in this. But I love your message here and agree that you my friend are totally worthy, as is your jewelry and work. So, proud of you and definitely happy to hear that you are able to attend these trade shows to showcase and sell your gorgeous jewelry line. 🙂

    1. Thank you, friend! I think when we have these periods it’s so easy to feel like we’re the only ones going through that, but then you realized that pretty much everyone feels that way at times.

  2. It’s funny how we all feel that self-doubt and then you see someone who you think is so obviously talented going through it too, and it doesn’t sink in that maybe you don’t suck as well! Story of my life! I read once that when we feel like washed-up hacks, and we ALL do, and when we feel like frauds, there are cool ways to change it. Just by doing.
    I think you rock for this!!

    1. Yes whenever I find out someone who I KNOW is super talented has these similar feelings it definitely eases up some of those feelings within me. It’s amazing how after years of doing what we do we can continue to feel like this!

  3. I know that self-doubt well! When I feel it, I think about the times I’ve heard people I respect voice the same concerns. I think about how I am astonished that they doubt themselves, because I have complete confidence in their skills or talents. Then I cut myself a break and hope they would think the same about me!

  4. First off I want to say I’m so proud of you!! I’m glad you had the ganas (just gonna through in some Spanish slang here) to do this.
    I know self doubt all to well. BUUUUUTTT I’m choosing to not let it dwell here. It comes to me, but I don’t want to let it root here and grow. I’m glad you choose to do the same. You should never doubt your work, ma’am, because it’s gorgeous!!
    I’m so happy for you, Bev. Wishing you all the best always.
    XOXO

    1. I love how beautifully you put it: “I don’t want to let it root here and grow.” <--- Yes to this! I've been meditating each morning after I wake up and it really helps to stop those feeling from rooting themselves and growing throughout the rest of the day. I don't want to doubt my work and I am CHOOSING not to let those feelings overtake me. Thank you, Dean! <3

  5. Oh Bev, this was such a beautiful and honest and POWERFUL post. I SO get it. Who wouldn’t? You must be SO PROUD of yourself and omg your displays and your booth and all your JEWELRY LOOKS GORGEOUS!!!

    This was such an inspiring read. YOU are an inspiration. I’ll be sharing this on my page. LOVE LOVE LOVE that you are showing us all that stepping through those self sabotaging thoughts of questioning our talents and pushing through your fear is WORTH, IT. And we all deserve to do the same.

  6. Love this! I am so happy you went for it, and I can only imagine how tough it must be to put yourself out there with items you created!! I know you will continue to grow and I can’t wait to see your beautiful jewelry in many more stores in the future!

  7. Pingback: Tips for planning a successful home trunk show for your jewelry business

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