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I remember my first freelance client and even my first job interview. I was nervous. I was scared. I didn’t want to fail. We’ve all felt like this before.
But overcoming fear is critical to succeeding in business. Here are a few tips to help you overcome fear and focus on your creative business.
1. Have hope in yourself
When fear hits, people don’t respond, they just react. They react with their emotions and look at their circumstance instead of seeing success. Applying hope to your situation will change everything.
Visualize that goal, that job you want, that new project. You are able to grasp success into your mind and bring it into reality. Just visualize it and believe it is already yours.
[Tweet “Your success is influenced by how much hope you have. #freelancelife”]Your future success is influenced by how much hope you have. The more hope you apply in yourself, the more results you will have.
I remember applying for my first internship at this branding design agency. I applied for many agencies before, but never got a response. I was fearful of not landing a job. It was frustrating.
But I knew that this time was my opportunity, so I applied hope. I created the best cover letter and portfolio I’ve ever seen (well, my mum liked it), put in those extra late hours to fix my website, and clicked send. I felt peace because I knew this job was mine. I saw myself working in that studio and bringing value to it.
That same day I got a response and called in for an interview. Soon after, I got the job.
2. Don’t affirm your fears
Most people don’t realize that there is power in your words. When people affirm their fears and doubts they are canceling out their opportunities. They are crushing their dreams by letting fear have power over them. Use your words wisely, never affirm your fear.
Speak positive affirmations everyday. Every morning I wake up and go outside to breathe and say positive affirmations. My affirmations go a little like this:
“I’m a success, I’m productive, I’m wise, I’m born to win, I’m rich, I can’t fail, greatness is in me.”
Say it with confidence and be consistent. Honestly, when I started doing this regularly it influenced my mind and the decisions I was making. I took greater risks and more opportunities came from it.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
3. Creative confidence
There will always be walls and strongholds that we perceive to be blocking our way. People prevent themselves from winning because they think they’re not good enough, or they don’t have the time, or they can’t because they can’t afford the Adobe software.
We’ve all had mental block, creative block, or the fear of uncertainty.
[Tweet “In order to conquer your fears you have to take action. You start by doing.”]
In order to conquer your fears you have to take action. You start by doing. After affirming and having faith you must take a step forward. You must start, even if it’s a small step.
You have to do. Doing is hard. Most people don’t start. But you’re different.
Most people gain the motivation but stop there. You sustain it by applying yourself and taking action.
“A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.” – Chinese Proverb
Once you take that first step, it makes the process easier than you might expect. People’s high expectations and fear of the approach prevents them from moving forward.
I was stuck at a point where I was unsure which direction I should take my brand. I even consulted other designers about it. There was uncertainty. A wall was preventing me to go forward. I took a small step and started to focus on design and illustration. I felt relieved; all I did was take a chance and the wall came down. Now I’m happier and confident in what I’m doing.
4. Effort = results
“The best way to gain creative confidence in your creative ability is through action, taken one step at a time.” – Tom Kelly
Consistent hard work will always bring profit. You reap what you sow. If you put in the effort, then it is impossible to not see results.
People can feel inferior when they go on Instagram or Behance and are amazed at other artist’s work, but don’t realize the years of practice it took them to reach that level.
I felt like this and it made me want to give up, but I decided to look at it from a different perspective.
All they did was put in the time, practiced more, and gained experience. I realized it is not just talent, but how many hours you are putting in. You have to practice every day, even if it’s for a few hours. The more work you produce the more confidence you will gain in your craft, all while advancing your technical skills and expanding your creativity.
5. Focus on positive habits
Without focus, your dreams will fade away. Dividing your focus is not an efficient way to work.
“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” – Russian proverb
Human behavior is determined by habits that you create. Your brain functions based on patterns both consciously and subconsciously.
When I first started running my business straight out of college it was challenging.
I carried all of those bad habits from college. I had to break out of it because the old way of doing things was negatively affecting my work. I knew I had to focus and pursue my passion seriously.
I started developing positive habits by creating a morning routine. Now I read more, write more, eat healthier, and design more. I admit, some days I skip the gym and delay client work, but I don’t lose focus on my bigger goals. I stick to my schedule and be consistent every week. Set that alarm early to make a change, create positive habits, and your business will improve.
6. Time blocking
Time blocking will change the way you work. In order to focus on the things that matter, you need to allocate time every day to do so. I usually block off the first 2 hours when I wake up for reading, writing, and planning.
[Tweet “Time blocking will change the way you work.”]
Block off specific times during the day to do specific tasks. You can create 4 hour blocks, 2 hour blocks, 1 hours blocks, it doesn’t matter how long it is, as long as during these times you are giving your full attention to the task without distractions. Yes, that means turning off your notifications, or just throw your phone out the window (just kidding).
When I started time blocking I began getting so much more done. I knew how long I was going to work on each task, as well as when I would be taking breaks to recharge. It improved my productivity and I felt more accomplished throughout the day. The time blocks can always shift if important things come up, but use it as a foundation for your schedule.
- Have hope, visualize your success
- Take action, step into the fear
- Speak positive affirmations every day
- Gain confidence by doing, apply yourself
- Positive habits = productivity
- Time blocking allows time to focus
How do you overcome fear? Running a successful creative business starts with you. Overcome fear and focus on what matters most.
Let me know in the comments how you’ve overcome fear with your business.
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A very beneficial article Jeremy. Thanks very much for sharing your experience and advice. Just on the verge of taking the plunge from employment into freelancing myself. Your article has helped to give me some broad principles to follow.
No problem, my pleasure Kashif! That sounds great man, Keep those principles close and you will keep going higher 🙂
Nice article, thank you.
Thanks Tom 🙂
Wow, this article really encouraged me! you answered so many questions that I had been wondering about in furthering my creative career. Thank you for the inpsiration.
Thank you Nikki! I appreciate it, I’m always here to help others grow and be inspired 🙂
Thanks Jamie 🙂
Possibly the most realistic, practical, functional – and oh yes, truthful article I have ever read. Now that’s excellent writing.
🙂 Thank you man! I’m so glad in helped you, appreciate it.
Good article again. I agree with the time blocks. So easy to get sidetracked otherwise.
Yeh agreed if you don’t block time, things will always pop up and grab your attention. It then takes time back to refocus on the task you were doing.
Great job, I really enjoyed your list, especially Effort=results.
Thank you Sharon, I’m happy that it inspired you :). Appreciate it! , small efforts each day will take you very far!
Great post Jeremy!
I totally agree with your way of thinking.
Actually, I’m writing a post about creativity, where I also mention some of your points, that helped me so much to stay focused and be really creative.
It seems that we have a lot in common, like habits and love for cats!
Thanks Mania! I appreciate you. It’s the best way of thinking! Awesome can’t wait to see what you write 🙂 Haha we’ve been blessed with good traits, small world.
Thanks man, it felt like you prepared this article specially for me. It’s tough to become really good at what you love and it’s great to know someone with the confidence I seek acknowledges that, I hope this works for me!!!
No problem man!, I’m glad it helped you. Yeh it is tough, it takes diligence and perseverance but you can do all things!, just keep going it will work. Say this is working in me shout it out! 🙂
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