By Carol Tice
Have you got big plans for your freelance career — but nothing’s happening?
Somehow, you’re not moving forward and marketing your business. You’re not getting out and finding the clients.
Or maybe you’ve got a freelance assignment, but you’re frozen at your desk, worried you can’t deliver.
If any of these sound like you, it’s time for a self-confidence boost.
Fortunately, there are plenty of concrete things you can do that should help you leave the fear behind and move your freelance career forward.
Here are 10 confidence building tips:
1. Experience Your Fear
Do you live in terror of pressing “send” on that pitch letter because you dread negative feedback? Toughen yourself up by having a friend read and ridicule your marketing.
Toughen yourself up by having a friend read and ridicule your marketing.
This can be a transformative experience. You’ll realize two things: one, you’re unlikely to get this kind of rude feedback in real life. And two, if you did, you would survive it.
Fear is our fight-or-flight response kicking in when we feel our lives are threatened. After you do this exercise, you’ll realize you aren’t really in danger. Nobody ever died from a client’s (or prospective client’s) rude remark. That should help you move forward.
2. Think Small
If pitching a top national magazine or major corporation your freelance services has you quaking under the bed, scale back your ambitions for the moment. Instead, target small businesses or publications where you’d be more likely to get a “yes” — shops you frequent where you know the owner, blogs you read and know well.
Build your confidence with a few wins and add to your portfolio. Then you’re ready to go after the big game again.
3. Put on Blinders
Does the idea of sending 100 marketing emails paralyze you? Then you need to break it down into smaller steps.
Maybe today, you’re just going to research and qualify 20 leads. Just focus on that. Tomorrow, you send five emails. That’s it.
Take away the pressure of the big, scary goal and just focus on the parts you need to do today, or this week. Choose one tiny thing you could do, even, that will move things forward, such as improving your personal website. Tomorrow, one more thing. You may have heard the journey of a thousand steps can be accomplished this way.
4. Face Facts
Are you scared of getting rejected when you pitch your freelance services? Well, you can relax.
It is 100 per cent guaranteed that you will experience rejection in the course of pursuing freelancing. So rather than fearing it, accept and embrace it as an ordinary part of freelance life. Realize that every other freelancer is dealing with the same thing.
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5. Learn More
Sometimes, that lack of confidence is coming from the nagging feeling that you don’t know enough. You need to learn a new design platform, or a niche type of copywriting that pays better.
If so, don’t delay — find the most affordable way to get the knowledge you need. Bone up your skills so you can move forward.
6. Network In Person
Why? Networking in person gives you a chance to go up to new people and introduce yourself and say, “I’m a freelance writer” — or photographer, or designer, or whatever — over and over.
That does something magical for your head. Soon, you believe it.
7. Get Support
It can be lonely, being a solopreneur. Your friends with regular jobs don’t understand what you’re dealing with.
You can be haunted by the feeling that you’re making mistakes — bidding too low or missing out on good marketing methods. So find where freelancers of your type gather, whether online or in your local bar, and connect.
If there’s not a lot available, start your own networking group, online or off (or both). There’s something particularly empowering and productive about bringing a community together, and it will improve everyone’s fortunes when it comes to peer support.
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8. Avoid Toxic People
If your family and friends dis your freelance lifestyle, do not discuss your business with them. Period.
If they ask, say something vague about how it’s going great and you love freelancing. Refuse to expand further on the topic and move on to discussing the weather.
It’s not about shutting them out, it’s about ensuring you maintain a positive outlook and get into work discussions with those people who educate, energise and inspire you.
9. Don’t Say You’re ‘Aspiring’
This is a nasty way of calling yourself a wannabe. You’re not there yet, you just wish you were.
If you’re writing, bulletin: You’re a writer! Even if what you’re writing is just a private journal or your own blog.
If your graphic designs only appear on your own website, that isn’t important. You’re doing it. So take the word “aspiring” out of your vocabulary.
A former Google executive recently cautioned women (and anyone looking to move forward in the working world) against using the word ‘just’ for similar reasons. Language matters. Articulate who you are and what you do with clarity and self-belief.
10. Do Affirmations
When’s the last time you looked in the mirror and said, “Damn, I’m good!” If it’s been a while, make that a regular habit.
After all, you are totally unique in this world, and no other freelancer can bring your approach and style to what you do. Face it — you’re special.
Now, get out there and show them what you’ve got.
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