Many people choose to go freelance because of the freedom and independence that comes with the role. However, anyone who has freelanced will understand the dreaded fear that comes with the territory when starting out. The fear of taking a holiday in case you miss an opportunity, the fear of where the next cheque is coming from to pay the rent, the fear of never working again… Well, fear not!

Freelancer Club is here to help and provide freelance support through the rocky road of freelance fear.

Firstly, it’s important to say that these feelings are very natural and ones that I think most of us who freelance will be able to relate to so don’t think you are on your own. The first 12 months are often the most challenging. The key is not to let a fear of freelancing scare you off before you've had a chance to succeed. A process in which freelancers acquire jobs is very different to the way full-timers secure employment. Freelancers must through their hat in the ring on a regular basis and inevitably get knock-backs along the way. Rejection is commonplace and something that one must get used to when starting out.

Most 9 to 5er’s apply to a handful of jobs before landing the role and although there will be a few rejection letters on the way, there will be a job for a considerable length of time at the end of their journey. Freelancers on the other hand are applying for new jobs all the time so getting used to hearing ‘no’ is the first step to getting over it. 

Rejection is the shadow that follows every freelancer and it’s how you choose to handle this fear that will make the difference to your business. The natural reaction to rejection is self-doubt. We question our ability, our worth and ourselves; we dwell on the negatives and ask ourselves ‘why am I such a talentless, unemployable waste of space!’ OK, maybe not so dramatic but a version of this is pretty common. Not only is resilience critical for our financial success as a freelancers but it's vital for our mental health. 

Fear of Freelancing

However, there are a small percentage of people who are able to harness this rejection and use it in a positive way. So let’s talk about how to use this negative in a positive way.

First off, if you are getting rejected, that means you are applying to jobs so that, at least, is a positive step in the right direction. Staying pro-active and positive are great tools to combat self-doubt.

Having these feelings of fear and rejection can be used as a great motivator. Don’t suppress these emotions, rather use them as a reason to work smarter, go the extra mile and be better than the competition. A little pressure can be a very good thing for a freelancer. We spend a lot of time on our own when we’re not working and any motivation that we can get is welcome. So when you start to doubt yourself and feel down, address it, let it pass then use it to reach your goals. 

Once you do land a job, a lot of the fear will temporarily disappear and be replaced by a great sense of satisfaction. Knowing that money is coming in helps ease economic anxiety. However, it's important that we don't push aside any of the fears or anxiety we may have felt int he fallow periods as this will only facilitate a cycle. Rather, we want to work on ways in which we can be more resilient to help combat those times. Equally, it's important to celebrate the moments when you are feeling good. 

After a while when you have a few regular clients, it's a lot easier to come to terms with the irregularity of work. The feast and famine nature of freelancing is not something most of us our used to and generally requires time to obtain. Trust in your ability and know that there will be times of high and low but that it normally evens itself out. Keep in mind that the start of a freelancer’s career is generally the hardest. Once out of the woods, it’s a fantastic way to live your life and become the master of your domain.