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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 October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

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Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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