Deal with the Pressure to Meet Perfection while Freelancing
Freelancing can be quite liberating given the fact that you can set your own rates, choose the clients you work with, and choose when you’d like to work for the most part.
When you are offering a valuable service to others, the pressure to attain perfection in everything that you do can easily sneak in and make your workdays quite stressful. Freelancing offers a lot of freedom, but it also can feel like you need to be ‘on’ all the time whether it’s responding quickly to emails, delivering flawless work consistently, or handling clients’ questions and concerns.
While you are likely very good at what you do, it’s important to realize striving for perfection is not always realistic and can even lead to burnout and resentment toward your work. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still try your best at all times, but there are a few things you can do to overcome the pressure to meet perfection without sacrificing the quality of your work.
Do Work You Enjoy
As a freelancer, you have the power to choose who you work with and to drop projects that you don’t like or are uninspiring for you to work on.
One of the main reasons why you could be feeling stressed to do your best is because you’re not interested in the work that you’re doing in the first place. When you’re not passionate about the work you do, it’s hard to be motivated each day and put your best foot forward.
This is why I always try to work with clients who will allow me to do work I truly enjoy since I’m good at it and more productive which leads to better results and less stress.
Raise Your Rates
If you’re being asked to deliver champagne on a beer budget, you might not feel so happy about it. We all know what it’s like to have few clients who are more demanding than the others, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing especially if their needs are different.
However, if your project requires more time on your part, you should ask your client for a higher rate so you can be properly compensated for the extra time and effort it takes to polish your work.
If you’re being properly compensated from the start, you can use your time wisely to do your best. You won’t have to worry about rushing through the project to get to the next one so you can earn enough money to meet your needs.
Give Yourself a Break
Do you ever stop to give yourself a break or acknowledge how well you are doing? If you just knocked out a challenging project, you might want to take a brief break or switch gears to some easier tasks.
You’re not a robot and you’re bound to break down after a while if you keep pushing yourself. You can always go on a walk, take a longer lunch, do some small tasks like schedule social media updates, or anything that will allow you to decompress so you can power through your next big task.
It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison game, but to be completely honest, it’s a huge waste of time. If another freelancer you know seems to always flawless work, you may feel pressured to mimic their style and their process or even beat yourself up if you’re not doing as well.
While there’s nothing wrong with admiring someone’s work ethic, I think it’s silly to compare because you never know the truth about someone’s situation and it’s probably much different from yours.
One person’s method may stress you out, or your comparisons may not even be based on reality. The person you’re comparing yourself to may have to go through several rounds of revisions with clients to get to the finished product or they may have an assistant helping them which makes it look easier.
Summary: Do Your Best and Stick to What Works For You
The bottom line is to stick to what works best for you. Most freelancers want to do excellent work and make their clients happy, but you don’t have to stress yourself out by striving for perfection each day. Focus on your talents and deliver your best work.
If you receive feedback or constructive criticism, don’t beat yourself up about it or compare yourself to the next person. Instead, use it to improve your process and the quality of your work.