Being a freelancer seems glamorous, even romantic at times.
The notion of working when you want, how you want, and only on projects you deem worthy sounds too good to be true.
While it’s true that freelancing is pretty darn awesome, there’s one thing that every successful freelancer identifies with on some level.
Fear is a common thread, and even the most experienced freelancers experience it on occasion.
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How can freelancing be scary?
The insecurity of not always knowing where your next dollar will come from isn’t for everyone. Sometimes I wonder if I’m going to make it, and many times payments come in the same days the bills are due.
But in addition to the up and down nature of the business, a slew of fears can drive any freelancer to the job boards to find a full-time gig.
After talking to several creative freelancers, these are the most common fears that came up. While most of these apply to newbies, those of us with more experience still feel the same way at times.
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Fear #1: Your Client Will Find Out You’re a Phony
You don’t have to be the best at what you do. You only have to know more than your client to provide them with the services they need. At times you may find yourself in unfamiliar territory. But taking on challenges is vital to your growth as a freelancer.
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Be honest about your limitations. Don’t be afraid to say no, and if you’re willing to try something new, let your client know this isn’t your area of expertise but you’d like to gain more experience in it.
Everyone starts somewhere. No matter how talented you are, feeling like you’re not good enough is natural. Imposter syndrome is very real. Just tell the voices in your head thank you for sharing but you can do this.
Fear #2: You Will Fail Miserably
There’s no guarantee of success. If you hate to market yourself, don’t enjoy challenges and don’t want to wear a lot of hats, freelancing probably isn’t for you.
The truth is you probably will fail. A lot. But if you can treat your failures as learning experiences, dust yourself off and get back up, you’ll be fine.
The important thing is that you’re willing to try. You’ll spend the majority of your time marketing yourself in the beginning. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you’ll be to pick up clients and projects.
Besides, what’s the worst that could happen? If your business doesn’t work out, you can always get a job working for someone else.
Fear #3: You Won’t Get Paid
As you gain more experience, it becomes easier to see red flags that tell you a client may bail when it comes time to pay their tab. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth, even if the client doesn’t use your work.
When I go to a store, I pay for a product up front, regardless of if I decide to use it or not.
The same is true with creative freelancing. Follow best practices as you would with any new client, and invoice them for at least half of the project fee before beginning work.
Use a system that supports proposals, time tracking, invoicing and reporting to make it easier to keep your finances in order.
If you’re having trouble getting paid on time, I recommend looking into AND CO—the sponsor of this article. AND CO automatically creates invoices based on your projects and contracts, alerts you of their payment and more. You can learn more at and.co.
Wrapping It Up
Don’t let fear keep you from your freelancing dreams. Create a good workflow with systems to manage various tasks. Market yourself every single day.
What fears do you have about freelancing? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!
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