How to stop just thinking about freelancing and actually start

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Let me ask you a simple question: what are you doing here?

Yes, I mean you.

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You’ve been combing the internet for months. Maybe even years.

You’ve read up on more articles about freelancing than you ever thought could possibly exist.

You’ve subscribed to so many email lists you’ve had to create a separate email account just to hold all the updates.

You’ve clicked on so many blue, underlined links you can’t remember which Wikipedia page you started out on.

In short: you’ve taken the time to learn how freelancing works.

But every time you think of actually putting that knowledge to work, you get that nasty tingly feeling at the back of your neck.

• Did I learn enough?
• Have I prepared enough?
• If I read just one more article, will that be enough?

Believe me, I know the feeling. Because from the outside, the world of freelancing can look like a Kafkaesque labyrinth of gatekeepers and gatekeepers of gatekeepers.

Sidenote: Once you finish, read how 4 freelancers built recurring revenue models that changed their business. You'll love it.

And when you’re trying to work your way in, the fact that every article you read has you looking down the barrel of links to five other articles, each of which links to five more articles, each of which links to five more.

You get the point.

There’s a real potential for information overload at the frankly overwhelming amount of information that’s available. And if you let that intimidate you it can be downright paralyzing.

And that, my friend, is why I’m here.

I’m here to show you the line of thought that’s holding you back.

I’ll guide you through the process, and as I guide you through the process I’ll show you how you can break out of it.

They say the first step to avoiding a trap is knowing there’s a trap. So, with no further ado, let me show you the trap.

Getting trapped in your comfort zone

You’re probably not going to like what I’ve got to say here.

In fact, you’re probably going to hate it.

But I promise this is for your own good, and telling you this hurts me more than it hurts you. You’ll thank me for it later, though.

The simple fact of the matter is that you’ve built it up too much in your mind and you’re psyching yourself out. You’re comfortable where you are (even if you don’t like it too much), and part of you really wants to cling to the status quo.

Call it psychological inertia, if you like. The clear-cut fact of the matter is that there’s never been a human being yet who wasn’t on some level frankly terrified of change.

There’s an old Buddhist story about a man who walks around with a piece of burning charcoal in his hand. The charcoal is literally burning through his flesh and causing him extreme agony, but he won’t let go. And when the people ask him why he won’t let go, he says he’s holding on to the charcoal because he’d have to let go of it if he wanted to let go of it.

It’s what he’s used to, in other words.

There’s a part of me and you and every other human being who’s ever walked this earth that likes to keep things nice and calm and predictable and always the same.

It’s there in the back of your mind while you’re learning all about freelancing, and it’s whispering in your ear, “No, you can’t do all that. You could never do all that. Look at everything that would have to change, why, it would be just like death!”

If you’re stuck thinking about freelancing and learning about freelancing instead of actually doing freelancing, chances are you’re afraid of change and you’re worried you’ll die if you start trying to realize your dreams.

Join the club. It’s okay, you’re human. Personally, I’m terrified I’ll die every time I have to eat beets, so I feel your pain.

Transitioning to the freelance lifestyle is a major life change, way up there with getting married, having a kid, or going Facebook official. It’s entirely understandable if you’re a little hesitant.

How to break the cycle

That being said, if you’re seriously thinking about becoming a freelancer, odds are you’ve got the drive for it and you’ve got the skills for it. You just need to get over that mental hump that’s holding you back.

So I want you to ask yourself something: “Am I serious about becoming a freelancer?”

“Am I willing to take on all the extra planning and responsibility that comes with being my own boss?”

“Am I willing to go through the process of learning how to promote myself and how to find and serve clients?”

I want you to take these questions and think seriously about them. These are serious, life-changing questions, so it’s more than okay to spend a day or two thinking it over.

But you’re going to have to answer them. You’re going to have to answer them clearly and definitively.

It’s absolutely necessary to decide one way or the other, because there’s nothing that kills like not being able to make up your mind.

If you decide freelancing isn’t for you, that’s just fine. You’ll have made up your mind and you’ll be able to settle into your routine.

If you decide you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make a freelance career, that’s great! But be serious and committed about it.

Start planning. Make a timeline. Hold yourself accountable for following it.

Get used to the fact that you’re going to have to expand your comfort zone. Things are going to feel very strange for a while. Accept it.

Remember that it’s easier to learn freelancing by doing it than it is to learn it by reading about it.

You don’t need to know everything in advance. So you’ll have to accept that you’ll probably end up looking like an idiot on more than one occasion while you’re learning the ropes.

Wrapping it up

Last, and most important: remember why you decided to become a freelancer in the first place.

Remember that the goal is worth the effort it takes to reach it, and that you’ve promised yourself you’ll make it.

Now the only thing left is to do everything it takes to get your freelancing career off the ground.

Just do that, and you’ll be fine.

Share in the comments what you did to get out of your comfort zone?

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About Geofrey Crow

Geofrey Crow is a freelance writer who specializes in helping brands find their voices. His other hobbies include dispensing ancient wisdom and pretending to know both less and more than he lets on. Geofrey has not yet appeared on any major podcasts, nor has he yet been interviewed on national televison.

To learn more, take a look at crowcopywriting.com. If you’re lucky, maybe you can find an email address to contact him, or maybe you’ll get stuck with a middle man who asks you if you want to join the waiting list to join the waiting list to contact him.

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Comments

  1. This article speaks to me. I’m more determined than ever. Thank you! Goodbye comfort zone! 😉

  2. Hi Geofrey. Great article, thanks! I completely agree, especially about the comfort zone. People don’t like to leave their cushy full-time jobs and a good deal doesn’t believe that freelancing can offer them the same kind of security.