New to freelancing?
Finding it overwhelming?
All the information, advice, strategies, and tips can be a bit too much for the budding freelancer. You end up flooded with all this information and then become paralyzed.
Fear and anxiety sets in, and you start to doubt your ability to actually DO this.
That was me when I first became a freelancer. I’m just a mom, not a writer! Or, I don’t have a degree in journalism, there’s no way someone’s going to pay me to write.
This fear can literally stop you in your tracks. It almost made me quit.
So, what separates successful freelancers from every other freelancer out there?
It’s having confidence in your abilities…and being able to fake it ‘till you make it!
This is exactly what I did and it worked.
Even though I had NO clients, NO experience, NO business knowledge, I was still able to get clients and gain experience and business knowledge.
Here’s how you can fake it too when you’re a complete newb.
1. Build a Strong Network
New freelancers have to start building their support network.
Without having a support to lean on, you’ll start to quickly doubt your abilities.
Who is in my support group?
My husband for one. I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without his full-fledged support. He was the one who gave me the idea to find some work online.
I also lean on Lorraine Reguly, another freelancer, and blogger. She lives in the same town as me, and we regularly meet for coffee. We motivate each other one and after every meeting both of us have tons of great ideas that we want to start implementing right away!
I also belong to several mastermind groups and private social groups.
The point is, as freelancers, we are often doing this alone. We don’t have co-workers to riff raff with.
If you don’t have the support at home, use a community like Medium to find other designers, copywriters, proofreaders and the like to network with.
2. Write Every Day (If You’re a Freelance Writer)
A great confidence booster is to commit to writing every day.
When you practice writing every day you learn:
● to become a better writer
● to become a faster writer
● about grammar rules and structure
● to form your writing voice
● more about your niche(s)
Writing every day gives you the chance to hone your skills and solidify your expertise in your chosen niche.
You’ll start to have confidence in your ability to write an engaging and insightful article, blog post or piece of content.
And it’s easy to start writing every day. Since I got back into using Medium, I’ve been writing daily, which is helping me strengthen my writing process and ability.
This investment in my writing will help me land better clients.
3. Lose the Comparison
You’re probably thinking, there are just too many freelancers out there. I can’t possibly compete!
Then you start to compare yourself to all the other freelancers.
This is a slippery slope you don’t want to go down. By comparing yourself to other s— often more established than you — you start to devalue your worth as a service provider.
Instead of quoting a project for $500, you lower your rate to $150 because you think no one’s going to hire you. Why would they hire you? They could find someone else, so to land this client you’ll just offer a lower rate.
If there is one thing you should learn as a new freelancer, it’s not to succumb to comparing yourself to all the others out there.
High-paying clients that hire freelance writers don’t want a cookie-cutter writer. They will hire you because they want YOUR writing style. They want to work with YOU.
When you position your value as a writer and not your rate as a writer when you pitch, you’ll find you’ll land better clients.
So, ditch the comparisons and figure out your target market.
4. Set Goals and Track Them
One thing that happens to new freelancer is they give up before they really give it a try.
I know from talking to other freelance writers, that over 50% of them give up after the first year.
Freelance life is tough!
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, set goals!
While you don’t have to follow in my footsteps and publish your goals, you should be making some goals for your freelance writing business.
A good rule of thumb is not to focus on too many goals at once, or else you’ll lose focus. Create specific goals that you can easily track and attain.
Make at least two S.M.A.R.T goals and hold yourself accountable by tracking them.
Set up a metric to build your goals around. For example, if your goal is to land a client before the New Year, you can accomplish this by pitching at least five times a day every day until you land that client.
Set up a sheet and track all the pitches you sent, which job boards you found these gigs on and any useful information to keep on hand.
This will help you “fake it” because you are just following a metric. As a freelancer it becomes easier to research and pitch when you do a lot of it.
5. Face Rejection With a Smile
That’s right, with every rejection email you receive, smile, discard and move on.
Rejections are a big part of life for many freelancers and other creatives like actors and authors.
The trick is not to let them get to you. I know, that’s hard to do.
As a freelance writer, writing has my blood, sweat, and tears in it. I work hard to produce epic content that will wow our clients.
So, when you receive another rejection email that month, it’s hard not to think maybe it’s you they are rejecting.
Know that this isn’t the case. Businesses aren’t rejecting you. It could very well be they found someone else already, or their project needs changed, or you’re just not the right fit for them…right now.
This doesn’t mean you won’t be a fit for them down the road.
With every rejection, use your motivation to fuel you to keep on pitching, perfecting your writing and above all, hustle until you land that gig.
6. Get Out There…Slowly
A big part of fear for many freelancers is putting themselves out there.
The thought of taking action is overwhelming.
But, while the first step is always the hardest, once you just go out and do it, the rest falls into place, and it becomes much easier.
So, having the best odds of succeeding means putting yourself out there, but it’s okay if you do it in baby steps.
You’ll end up working hard and then you do it. You finally send your first pitch, but you don’t hear anything back. You pitch again, create more samples, and try to check the job boards when you can.
Putting yourself out there slowly isn’t a bad strategy; it’s just a slow strategy. Six months can go by, and all you have to show for it is a $100 client that gives you a 800-word blog post order once a month.
It’s a start for sure.
So go on, get yourself out there and take some action!