I sling the covers back.
“I might as well get up,” I say to myself, as I watch every hour on the clock creep towards another day.
Another day of fear.
Another day of uncertainty.
Another day of asking myself over and over and over again, “What am I gonna do?”
Recognize this type of worry; this feeling of helplessness?
That’s the way I felt when I lost the last job I had in 2007. I had some money in the bank; but I knew I was gonna be in big trouble fast if I didn’t find another job soon because as I outline in this post, I had bills – all the bills that come with living a cushy suburban life.
After trying for around four months in vain to land another position, I chucked my resume one day and decided that freelance writing was gonna work. It had to, because I had no other choice.
Going on 10 years later – knock wood – it has. I can contribute this to a lot of factors, ie:
I’d been a freelance writer before so knew the ropes going in;
I’m pretty determined when I set my mind to something;
I figure if others can do it, so can I;
But as I thought back to what got me through that really scary time, one thing stood out that I’d never really give much credence to. I worked through my fears.
Fear – it’s the number one thing that stops many aspiring freelance writers from pursuing their dream. And I’m not gonna tell you that you shouldn’t be afraid.
There’s a lot of competition out there. Finding high-paying clients can take some time. And, you have to be prepared to figure out a lot of crap on your own if you’ve never owned a business before.
The demand for quality writers has never been greater (especially in the digital sector).
There are many complementary services you can offer as a freelance writer that can increase your earnings seamlessly (eg, social media); and
It doesn’t have to cost you anything to get started if you already have a laptop/computer and an internet connection.
See how your fears are balanced out? For every fear you have as a budding freelance writer, there’s a counter – if you push hard enough through your fears to see it.
How to Push Through Your Fear(s) of Starting a Freelance Writing Career in 4 Simple Steps
For every fear you have about becoming a freelance writer, there is something you can do to overcome it. Following is a four-step plan for defeating any and every fear you may have about becoming a freelance writer.
1. Write Down Your Fear(s)
Seeing your fears in black and white will allow you to tackle them more effectively.
Write down exactly what it is that you’re afraid of. Is it that you won’t be able to find clients? That your writing isn’t good enough? That you won’t be able to pay your bills? That there’s too much competition? That you don’t have a specialty; a niche?
2. Examine Your Fear(s)
Take each fear that you listed, and ask yourself what makes you feel this way. For example, if your fear is that you won’t be able to find high-paying clients who pay well enough, then do some digging.
Then, find freelance writers who do that type of writing. Study their blogs, websites. If they blog, it’s highly likely that they’ve revealed how they find their clients. Do they cold call? Do they prospect via email? Do they hang out in groups on LinkedIn? Do they network at their local Chamber of Commerce, or local writing groups? Do they belong to certain industry associations?
Then, emulate what they do. Sure, it may take some time to break in, but at least you’ll have a concrete plan of action, which brings me to my next point.
3. Devise a Plan
Having a plan is the nuts and bolts of overcoming fear. Why? Because it’s preparedness. A lot of fears are steeped in the unknown.
Entrepreneur, explorer, author, speaker, ultra-marathoner, and success coach Akshay Nanavati calls this state of being in constant fear “Fearvana,” which I think is just ingenious. And, he says the he attributes his massive success in live to his ability to “face, embrace, and overcome FEAR.” And that’s exactly what a plan does. It helps you head off and tackle the unknowns of Fearvana.
For example if your major fear about becoming a freelance writer is that you won’t be able to earn enough to pay your bills, you may need to save three, four or six months of expenses. That way, you won’t be so stressed when you start. It’ll give you the room you need to breathe while you go about getting your first clients, doing the work and feeling more confident in your abilities.
4. Work Your Plan
Did you know that almost 25 percent of people who make a New Years resolution falter within the first week. Yes, the first week! Six months later, over half (54%) of us have fallen off. My point?
Sticking with something is hard – even when that something is good for you. Devising a plan is one thing; sticking to it and making it work is another altogether. So make sure your plan is something that’s feasible that you can stick to.
Give yourself measurable goals, eg:
- The first week I’ll decide on my service offerings and rates;
- The second week, I’ll knock out my writing samples;
- The third week, I’ll build my website (or find someone to do it for me);
- The fourth week, I’ll find 50 contacts that I can market to.
The main thing is, once you start marketing stay on it. Get your marketing done the first thing every day. Why? Because nothing else matters if you don’t bring in clients. So don’t let “busy work” keep you from this all-important task.
When I first started my SEO writing career, I’d send out 20 or 25 cold emails per day. Within the first couple of months, I got so busy that I had to bring in other freelancers to help me. I was also only charging $25 per article/post back then.
3 Things You Need to Land Clients as a New Freelance Writer
Now, the market has matured and landing gigs is not quite that easy. But if you have the following – and you market consistently – you’re practically guaranteed to land jobs.
- Competitive rates;
- Top-notch writing samples; and a
- Defined niche.
What About Experience? Don’t I Need It to Start a Freelance Writing Career?
No, you don’t. As discussed in this post:
… you DON’T need previous writing experience to get started. What you DO need is the ability to prove that you can write.
Your writing samples prove this, which is why they must be “killer.” Even with no experience, somebody will give you a shot. And, once you have that first client, you’re on your way. If you land one client, then you can land two, and three, and four, etc.
How Did You Overcome Your Fear of Starting a Freelance Career?
What was your greatest fear? How did you overcome it? What advice would you give to newbies? Please share in the comments section below.
Next Post (12/30): How to Know When It’s Time to Let a Client Go [This can literally save your freelance writing career]
Get the training you need to start a successful online writing career. The class is discounted to the lowest price it will ever be. Get trained, and come January when busy season gets in full swing again, you’ll be ready to go.
P.P.S.: Register Early to Get A Discount on the Upcoming “Create and Sell Your Own Email Course.”
E-courses are a great way to diversify your freelance writing income, and you can earn basically on auto-pilot for years once the course is created.
Let 2017 be the year you finally put your writing skills to use — for you!