Becoming a freelancer and leaving the traditional work world can be scary. There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with freelancing, but it’s also a labor of love.
Freelancing can help you build a business you’re passionate about and do work that is fulfilling. Freelancing can also provide you with the flexibility to work from anywhere which can help improve your work-life balance.
However, in order to allow your freelancing career to really take off, you need to overcome some of the common fears new freelancers have.
1. “I Don’t Have Enough Experience.”
The freelancing industry is booming so it’s easy to feel like a little fish in a big pond when you’re just starting out. You may notice that your specific niche is competitive and wonder why clients would choose to work with you over someone else who has more experience.
On the bright side, there is always plenty of work to go around for everyone, and the more projects take on, the more experienced you will become.
In order to get over this fear, you should build up your portfolio with quality work samples. I wouldn’t recommend doing a ton of work for free, but perhaps you could take on a few assignments at first without asking for compensation in order to build up your portfolio.
You can also charge clients an entry-level rate that you feel comfortable with and increase your rate over time as your value and experiences increased. Another option would be to hire a coach or take a course to improve your skills.
2. “My Fear of Rejection Will Prevent Me From Getting Good Clients.”
If you want to find work as a freelancer, you’ll need to pitch and establish relationships with others. There’s no way around it. Will you get rejected sometimes? Yes.
Not everyone will want to work with you and that’s okay. There are two things you can do to overcome this fear.
You can start sending more pitches. Yes, the more pitches you send, the less of an effect rejection will have on you. Focus on sending out quality pitches in batches and follow up once a week if you don’t hear back.
If you do hear back and it’s a rejection, be sure to ask the person why they decided to pass on your services so you can you use the feedback to fix your process.
Another thing you can do is work on building your network up and establishing positive relationships with other people in your niche. When I got started with freelance writing, I hired a coach who had a huge network. Since she trained me and vouched for my work, clients were more willing to hire me because they knew my coach had a good track record.
I also took it upon myself to introduce myself to others in my niche and support them so when they knew someone who was hiring, they could refer me. It’s harder to get rejected when you’re receiving referrals or have a shared contact with the client you’re pitching.
3. “What If Clients Don’t Like My Work?”
If you’ve gotten past your fear of rejection and actually start getting new clients, your next fear may be that they won’t like your work. Freelancing can be uncertain at some times. Just like you can find a new client quickly and sign a contract, you can also lose one of your best clients abruptly as well for various different reasons.
I know a freelancer who prides herself on the quality of her work, and always says, “I would hate to provide anything less than exceptional results for my clients.” If you’re afraid that your clients won’t like your work and will choose to stop accepting your services, there are a few things you can do.
First, set expectations early on. Make sure you send the client your best work samples and clarify what they are looking for.
Then, you’ll want to follow up after the first few weeks to see if they have any feedback for you. If they have any constructive criticism, make sure you don’t take it the wrong way and apply their advice in a positive way.
Keeping open lines of communications with your clients is the best way to make sure both sides are pleased. Sometimes, client relationships just don’t work out or people have over-the-top requests.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be stuck doing work that you don’t want to do so in some cases it’s best to cut ties with certain clients.
4. “I’m Afraid I’ll Fail.”
Lastly, failure is probably the biggest concern freelancers have. What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t earn enough money? What if they don’t like it?
These are all common fears to have when you’re embarking on a new professional journey. My best piece of advice (which might sound a little cliche) is to give it your all.
Set SMART goals that are realistic and give remain dedicated. You’ll never know what the results will be if you don’t try to do this job, and you don’t want to regret not giving freelancing a chance years down the road.
Work hard to gain more experience and build your network and don’t sell yourself short. Charge what you feel you’re worth and choose to do work that excites and inspires you.
Also, understand that everything won’t happen as planned. Have a backup plan if you have to deviate from your original goals and try not to be too hard on yourself.
One person’s journey with freelancing may not look anything like the next person’s journey.
Summary: Overcome These Fears in Order to Become Successful.
Fear and uncertainty occur naturally when you’re embarking on a new journey, but freelancing can be such a rewarding career.
While these fears are very common, your success with freelancing will be determined based on how you handle and overcome the fears that may be holding you back.