Recently, someone asked me about how to boost your confidence when freelancing. I’m not sure this post will entirely address this. I’m a big believer in faking it until you make it. I get why celebs like Lady Gaga and Beyonce have these personas that they put on when they’re in the public eye. In all honesty, most of the freelancers I know have the occasional (or regular) crisis of confidence. Many admit to feeling like a freelance fraud – that someone will rock up and say “Hey, who do you think you are? You can’t run your own freelance business? Hahahahaha. Go home freelancer, you’re drunk” That all said, there are some things you can do to boost your confidence and beat those nasty little voices in your head that tell you you’re not good enough.
Build a network
When I’m feeling low or unconfident about a decision I need to make, I turn to my network of freelance friends. They’re a supportive and honest bunch, who can advise me or give me a second opinion. As cliche as it sounds, we act as each other’s cheerleaders. Or, y’know, intervention team.
Remind yourself of your achievements so far
All those brilliant things you’ve done? Make a note of them, and return to them every time you’re feeling less than confident. Even if it’s as simple as ‘started as a freelancer’ or ‘nailed that scary pitch’. Or ‘didn’t spend my entire work day in last night’s pyjamas’. Penny Golightly suggests having a look at your CV to remind yourself of what you’ve done.
Ask for recommendations/testimonials on LinkedIn
I make a habit of sending my clients a LinkedIn recommendation request after completing a contract. This is useful for two reasons – it gives my LinkedIn a power up, so it looks particularly good to potential new clients, and it’s a great thing to visit when you need reminding about your achievements (see previous point)
Don’t compare yourself to the more experienced
This is an entirely pointless exercise. In fact, don’t compare yourself to anyone. Everyone works in different ways – and having plenty of clients or big names on your portfolio doesn’t guarantee happiness and success.
I’m addicted to the Happier app. It’s an app and social network that asks you to submit three ‘happy moment’s each day. The theory is that sharing happy moments, no matter how small, can contribute to making you happier and healthier. Personally, I think it’s a nice way to remember all the lovely little things that happen each day, which you might otherwise overlook.
If all else fails….
I adopt the ‘it won’t kill me’ approach. I recently started a new job where I have to stand up in front of a group of adult students and teach several times a day. This is terrifying. And full of opportunities to embarrass myself (I am a naturally awkward person). But y’know what? It didn’t kill me. No one has ever died of embarrassment. How do you boost your confidence as a freelancer? Joanne Mallon has put together some (arguably far more practical and useful) tips on how to boost your confidence on her blog.