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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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