The word freedom rings inside your head. You’re letting go of the seemingly run of the mill stuff and the 9-5 grind, and you’re freely running with glee and with your arms joyously flying about up in the air. Well maybe not that last bit, but you’re likely pretty excited and have every right to be.
Starting out on your freelancing journey whatever your niche is a momentous and at the very same time somewhat daunting prospect.
You’re full of feelings and not 100% fixed on what to do with them. You’re full of thoughts of what’s your first move and where do I start.
I get it. I’ve been there. Quite often I’m still there. Here’s my penny’s worth of advice on the challenges you’re going to encounter; how to keep your feelings in check, plus workable tips on how to overcome and manage them.
1) The Niggles: Freelance Feelings of Doubt….
I’m sure this isn’t subject to just freelance life. I think many of us experience this when working within organisations too. It’s hard when you’re working on your own; have time on your hands and that’s when those feelings of self-doubt slowly edge their way in.
It’s well documented and talked about that these feelings are none other than imposter syndrome. Oh yes, it has a name. You’ve likely already heard of it. And if you haven’t experienced it, then consider yourself very lucky.
Remember to stay true to yourself and whilst it’s important to validate your feelings, what you don’t want to do is to let them take over. You’re awesome, can do awesome things and that is why people want to hire you.
It may sound crazy but there are times when I have to keep myself in check with a mantra like; ‘Fire in your belly,’ or, ‘you’re awesome, you’re brilliant and you’ve got this.’
You have got to support you and be kind to yourself. You started this journey because you had something to offer. You still do. Keep plugging on and moving forwards. Leave feelings of doubt behind. Give them 5 minutes of worry time and move on.
2) Don’t Feed the Freelance Drought: Use the Time Wisely…
There’s a very good chance that you won’t necessarily be back to back with work. At least not to start with, and even the best will have periods when they are not working.
Obviously, there is the practical business side to account for, but you also need to prepare emotionally for this. This is when self-doubt as stated above can creep in and also when you can hit a low.
Looking at the non-paid things that you don’t always have time for is a great filler, as is strategising and thinking about you and your business.
I write and so writing blogs for myself or other publications to market and keep my skills fresh is a great way to keep the mind occupied and a super outlet to balance your feelings.
It doesn’t have to all be work based. Let’s face it, if you were in the office, you’d have a couple of breaks and definitely take lunch. Why not choose things to look forward to, to break up any expanse of time.
Take a walk; see a film, meet a friend, finish reading that book, read your favourite newspaper, dance around to your best tunes or maybe visit the gym.
If you are working from home, this would mostly apply to you. Taking a planned break is good for you. Gain a little perspective. Find some clarity. You don’t have to feel guilty.
You may even find that some of your best ideas come when you’re at your most relaxed.
3) We all Need Someone to Lean on: So, Build Your Freelance Family and Combat Loneliness with Community…
Staying socialised is really important. Some people thrive on their own company. Others need the company of others.
I’ve learnt to not mind my own company but my heart does sing when I get to chat with other people.
Company doesn’t have to always mean the direct people that surround you; it could mean the community that you strive to create online. Some of my best connections I’ve made online and then also met offline.
Some due to the sheer amount of water that separates us, means we physically can’t. But you can go online and not only market yourself, but build a hub of close trustees that will show up and find you.
Seek them out. Find your tribe and cherish those comments, connections and precious engagements.
4) Don’t Let Your Thoughts Destroy You: Use Your Freelance Mindset to Strive and Try to Always Default to Positive…
It’s easier said than done I know. It’s easy to say when you’re experiencing the highs of freelance life. But not quite so easy when our brains naturally default to see the bad, and you’ve hit a low. But with a little effort in your mindset, through perhaps meditation and training yourself to pick the good, you can find the sun even through those cloudy days.
You have to believe and realise that even if today is a bad day for you for work or in how you feel, tomorrow is a new day. That doesn’t mean that tomorrow is actually tomorrow. But it does mean that your tomorrow will come and it will get better. So, hang on in there.
By working as a default to positive and by not allowing your mind to fixate too deeply and for too long on the negative, you’ll hold yourself in good stead to push through those tough times.
5) Our Journey is a Journey and Our Path isn’t Always Smooth: See Freelance Growth in Learning…
Let’s face it, it’s a path that actually never does stop. And it shouldn’t. Because no-one was born knowing and there are many ways to learn.
But it’s also empowering as well as building upon your skills. You don’t need to always be embarking on the most expensive option. You can seek many a free course, or even pay a nominal amount to learn a whole lot, and you can and should view what you read and absorb as boosting your skillset too.
If you start a course, make sure you finish it and proudly put your certifications everywhere you can. Blow your own trumpet, because you’ve earned it.
You are your business but you’re also your own investment. Being kind to you extends here too. If you’ve read something interesting, share it with your community on and offline. Write a post, write a blog and put your slant and opinion on that theme.
Don’t use your perceived lack of skills in any area as an excuse not to push yourself. What you don’t know, you’ll learn. What you’ll learn, you’ll use.
Embrace the Highs and Hug the lows: See the Joy in Every Part of Your Journey…
A freelancer’s journey is full of highs and lows. But relish in the highs and seek learning in the lows. Build a strong community around you in your life both offline and online that will support you and are happy to chat when you need it.
Talking is so important to keeping balance and to stop you literally going insane with thoughts whirring around in your head. It helps you to get another’s perspective but quite often can be a lightbulb moment and also a moment of clarity.
Push yourself beyond what is naturally comfortable, otherwise you may find yourself going around in circles, or not moving at all. But know that you hold the key and simply quite often all you need to be, is yourself. Because you sell you and your skills are the backup to you.
It may not always be the dream you imagined but enjoy the journey; buckle up for the ride and sail beyond what you ever thought was possible.
Where Are You on Your journey?
From one freelancer to another: Keep going. You’re doing just fine…