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Four Negative Beliefs You Need to Kick in Order to Be a Successful Freelancer

Four Negative Beliefs You Need to Kick in Order to Be a Successful Freelancer

More people are going freelance than ever before. With the rise of the internet and increasing acceptance of portfolio careers and flexible working hours, self-employment is becoming a common option. This is especially true for those working in creative professions. If you can make the freelancing lifestyle work for you, geographical flexibility and a great income can be yours.

When did you last give your mindset a health check?

However, there’s much more to freelancing success than simply taking the leap to self-employment, filling out your tax return on time, and applying for gigs on freelancing job boards. What will determine your success in the long run is your mindset.

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It doesn’t matter how skilled or lucky you are: if you don’t believe in yourself, then you are vulnerable to early burnout. The following is a list of the most common self-limiting beliefs that you must overcome in the early days of your self-made career if you are to make it as a successful freelancer.

1. “Success is all-or-nothing.”

If you tend to have a perfectionist streak or see success and failure in binary terms, you need to adjust your attitude quickly. Otherwise, you will become demoralized. It takes time to grow a reputation as a professional freelancer.

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Some weeks and months you will feel as though everyone wants to hire you and everything is going fantastically well, then at other times you will encounter setbacks in the form of difficult clients, underemployment, problems with your website — the list of potential pitfalls is endless! Know from the beginning that you can expect an interesting and varied journey. Keep a list of your triumphs for encouragement. Remind yourself that the path to success is rarely smooth.

2. “Rejection is too painful. I can’t bear it.”

The harsh reality is that most freelancers get rejected on a regular basis, whether it be in relation to an article pitch or a carefully-made application for an advertised gig. Even clients who have previously hired you on multiple occasions may decide they no longer have any use for you.

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The best approach is to see each rejection as a chance to become more resilient. As the months go by, you will feel the sting less acutely and come to accept that all self-employed people need to deal with the fact that rejection is inevitable.

3. “I feel overwhelmed, which means I just can’t do this.”

Feeling overwhelmed isn’t a sign that you should give up on your dream of working for yourself, just that you need to refine your time and project-management skills. At first, you may indeed struggle with the responsibilities that come with having to motivate yourself, organize multiple projects, and manage on a fluctuating income.

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However, once you learn how to make the most of your time, you will become more comfortable and confident in your abilities. Read a couple of books on time management, implement the basic principles, and be patient with yourself. Working freelance is a skill in and of itself. Like all skills, it can only be learned through trial and error.

4. “No-one will ever want to pay me enough to live on!”

There really are customers out there who can and will pay you a fair sum of money for decent work. That’s the good news. However, it might take a little patience to find them. With practice, you will soon be able to spot a promising client from one who is only looking to get work done at the cheapest possible price. If you are serious about becoming a high-paid freelancer, do not compete on price. Compete on quality. Build a solid portfolio, do great work, and ask your clients for references.

If you feel as though you aren’t making sufficient progress in your career as a freelancer, use this list as a sanity check. Are you falling into negative thought patterns and sabotaging yourself? Take a deep breath and remember that you don’t have to believe everything you think! Have faith in your abilities, and take your career one gig at a time. You can do it.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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