How to Work with (and Through) Your Freelancing Insecurities

Freelancing is among the most dynamic of career pursuits. It’s a path that’s chosen by introverts and extraverts alike, in accordance with their respective chosen niches. Offices are anywhere and everywhere, from a home desk to an airplane. A sage bit of advice that established freelancers might impart upon those just starting is that being one’s own boss can be as daunting as it is rewarding.

Freelancing insecurities often set in when there’s a concern about maintaining quality and quantity in both work and pay. These little career hiccups might seem uncomfortably familiar to you. If your personal and professional productivity levels aren’t optimal due to freelancing insecurities, know that you can move past and above the strife.

Everyone’s doing it…

In an effort to achieve more of a work/life balance, it comes as no surprise that many people are turning to freelancing in the ever-more-popular gig economy. Yet, with this promise of more flexibility, comes more competition.

  • Read this guest post for more statistics about freelancing roles in the gig economy.

Thousands of people might apply to just one job posting, leaving you with a sense of growing futility as you apply to job after job. Insecurities such as “Am I not qualified enough?” and “How am I going to keep up with paying my bills?” crowd your thoughts.

Positive thoughts create positive experiences, no matter how dire a situation seems. Although it’d be great to happily freelance along in what you feel the most qualified and comfortable in, change is necessary. The successful freelancer is someone who’s willing move beyond a set niche and adapt to trends as necessary.

For example, although it might have been your goal to write lifestyle articles, if trends point to tech and finance articles dominating the freelance job landscape, adjust your repertoire accordingly. Find a trend that you can identify with and learn about with at least a reasonable amount of interest. Research, start small, and patiently build a versatile portfolio you can be proud of. Have hope that you’ll return to your preferred niche as trends change again.

Unrealistic expectations…

Outsourcing work to freelancers is obviously a way for companies to keep in-house costs down. However, there are some who try to take that a bit further by trying to get away with getting more work for less pay. More-than-nitpicky standards, constant job postings from the same companies, these can be warning signs.

Have you ever applied for a job, gone through the testing, then found that the actual work is, in a word, ridiculous? Or maybe you thought a job was going well, then all of a sudden guidelines get changed and it seems like you can’t do anything right? An unfortunate truth is that it’s almost a rite of passage in freelancing to experience situations like this.

One thing you should never do is blame yourself for it. You know what you’re capable of, and chances are you’ve probably received at least a couple of compliments along the way attesting to that. What works well one place might be completely incongruous at another – it’s just the way things are (in freelancing, and otherwise).

So, if it seems like you’re constantly running uphill, take a moment to rest and renew. Evaluate the sorts of jobs you’ve been applying to and consider whether you should take a different approach.

For example, if you’ve tried things like transcription, data entry, or Internet research and have only been met with frustration, take the skills you’ve learned and switch into another niche like freelance writing or tutoring. Persevere in the knowledge that while no job is perfect, you know when to work in the present and also how to productively move forward.

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