- What product/services you’re going to offer;
- How much you’re going to charge; and
- Where you’re going to find help when you need it, to name a few.
All of these are common questions you’ll see addressed on blogs, websites, forums, etc.; in short, anytime the issue of how to start freelancing full-time is brought up. Of course, these topics are addressed in detail in The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook, as well.
However, one topic you won’t hear nearly as much about is how to mentally prepare to start freelancing. I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993, and except for an 18-month stint between 2006 and 2007, when I took a full-time job, I’ve been freelancing full-time.
And let me tell you, mentally preparing yourself for this amazing career choice is just as important as what services to offer or how much to charge.
In fact, I’d argue that if you don’t “get your head right” for what lies ahead, it significantly impacts things like how much you charge; how you negotiate terms with clients, suppliers and other vendors you’ll inevitably have to deal with as your freelance business grows.
Mentally Preparing to Freelance Starts at Home
In The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook, I outline four things you can do to mentally prepare to freelance. Here we’ll cover the first one, which requires you to start “at home.” Following is an excerpt from the book that explains what I mean.
You may be well prepared to handle the “Are you crazy?!” arguments from acquaintances and co-workers, but when pushback comes from those close to you, it can cause you to doubt yourself—and abandon your freelance business dreams altogether.
Friends, family, and acquaintances may constantly downplay, outright criticize or not respect your boundaries by disrespecting your employment choice.
They may drop by unannounced when they have a day off from work to hang out; or expect you to volunteer because you “don’t have a real job.” They may make snide comments like, “Making any real money yet?”
How can you counter this sort of thing? First, have a very clear idea of what you expect from your freelancing career and why you’re doing it.
Create healthy boundaries to prevent others from impeding your success because if they truly have your best interests at heart, they’ll accept that this is your career choice.
One Freelancer’s Negative Experience
One blogger who quit his stable job to “pursue the dream thing,” as he put it, explained what happened to him this way:
I left the security and stability of having a salary along with a supposed career. Back then, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had no experience in blogging, plus I didn’t exactly have the confidence to market and start running a business.
You expect support and encouragement from people you consider close to you only to be completely rejected, criticized, or worse, laughed at. I was taken by surprise by some of the things I heard from friends; some of the comments were particularly hurtful.
Like any choice you make it life that loved ones may not agree with, freelancing can be kind of a litmus test for who to keep in your circle, and who you may have to distance yourself from on some level — especially in the beginning of your freelance career.
The whole reason I’m writing this post is because I don’t want you to be surprised if/when what this blogger experienced happens to you. If your confidence is shaken before you even start, you exponentially decrease your chance of success.
And this is why it’s important to get mentally tough.
Why Some Push Back When You Decide to Pursue Your Freelance Dreams
Psychologists tell us that the way we respond to a situation usually has less to do with the particulars than how it impacts us. So what does this have to do with friends and family not supporting your freelance dreams?
Simple – having the guts to pursue your dreams brings many face-to-face with the fact that they’re not. They may not have your courage or your “get up and go-ness.” And how dare you shine a bright light on that?
Some other reasons loved ones may resist supporting you:
- They don’t understand what you do;
- They tend to be resistant to anything new or different;
- They are jealous;
- They are truly worried about your ability to succeed and fear that they may have to step in and rescue you – financially or emotionally.
Whatever their reasons, just don’t be shocked or surprised if someone you thought you could count on for moral support takes some time to come around – or never comes around. Get mentally prepared to handle the pushback.
Freelancing: Your Life, Your Way
As you battle internal doubts and fears that inevitably come with deciding to freelance, the last thing you need is the constant negativity of loved ones in your ear. While they may be well-meaning, if you’ve done your homework and have decided to go for it, don’t be deterred — even by those whose opinions you hold most dear.
This is your life. You only get one. Don’t be deterred … by anyone.
FYI, Did You Miss This Post? Why I More Than Quadrupled My Freelance Writing Rates: Is It Time for You to Do the Same? Please don’t forget to take the poll at the end.
Did You Mentally Prepare before Starting Your Freelance Writing Career?
Share your advice, tips and insights in the comments section below.
P.S.: How to Get The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide Bonus Content
Special Report: 5 Things You Should Know about Freelancing in a Global Economy That Will Land More Clients. To get this bonus content, send the receipt for your pre-order to info[at]InkwellEditorial.com on/before September 1st. Put “Pre-Ordered UFG” in the Subject line. On Sept 1st, you’ll be emailed the special report.
P.P.S.: Here’s How to Start Earning $100-$250+/Day as a Freelance Writer.
I hope all is well! I just wanted to let you know that this month marked the first month that my writing income surpassed that of my day job.
Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!
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