Oh if I could only have a do-over! There are a few common problems and negative thoughts that many people have when it comes to going freelance, none of which are likely to be avoided, but sometimes if you know that you’re not alone, it makes the whole process easier. This is the advice I wish I’d been given when I was first starting out, and as someone who overthinks things to the max until I’ve made a volcano out of a molehill, take it from me – these things are true:
They’re real. They are real life human beings. Companies are out there and they need the help of freelancers just like you, whether you’re a designer, a copywriter, a photographer, whatever. Don’t be discouraged by thinking that all of the current freelancers have snatched up all the work and you’ll never find any. It’s out there, and it’s up to you to go find it.
You deserve the money
Deciding that you should be charging (and what you should be charging) for your valuable creative work is tough, and something that I think a lot of us struggle with. Believe me when I say, your work and your time is worth something. A lot, even. Assuming that you have a skill, and that’s why you want to start freelancing, then people should be paying you for that skill. Full stop.
Imposter syndrome will eat you alive
I could talk all day about imposter syndrome, but I won’t be giving it any power here, just like you shouldn’t give it any power in your freelance business. It’s a real phenomenon, and it exists in all of us in some form or another, but it’s up to you to acknowledge the feeling and do it anyway. You don’t have time for imposter syndrome, and trust me, if you let it take hold you’ll get nowhere. So give it one last sassy comment and then drop the mic on it right now.
It’s not that hard
Running your own business might sound earth-shatteringly difficult, but once you’ve mastered the basics, you don’t need to be a genius to figure it out as you go along. Other freelancers you see doing the same thing aren’t gifted with special powers, they’ve just learned on the job, and they’re still learning now.
Don’t expect to make money right away
If you begin by giving yourself a realistic goal to start seeing money flow to your account, it will happen. If you start by believing that you will become an overnight success and be rolling in dolla in your first month of freelancing, well you’ve got the ‘believe in yourself’ part down, but you may want to lower your expectations just a tad. At least until you’ve got your website off the ground.
You’re not all alone
When you dive head-first into freelancing, it can be a lonely place. Going from an office full of people (or a cubicle surrounded by people) to working from home can seem daunting at first, but don’t feel that you’re all alone and have no one to turn to for advice. There are a bunch of great (and free) networking events, especially if you live in London, which are the perfect places to meet other like-mindeds and freelancers to share your glory or grief with. There are ways to find your accountability partner, so don’t worry about feeling like you have no one to turn to – everyone’s in the same self-rowed boat.
Photo by Tachina Lee via Unsplash Tachina Lee