I’m going to let you in on a little secret — so come closer and listen carefully. Ready?
I almost ruined my freelance writing career before it even took off.
I was about to give it all up and start another adventure as a work-at-home mom when I suddenly had a wake-up call (but we’ll get to that later).
I’m glad I didn’t because after only a short time branding myself as a freelance writer, clients are coming to me for help.
So what was it that almost made me quit my writing career?
Take a look at the word cloud I made with words and phrases that went through my mind when I began freelance writing.
If you’re new to freelance writing, then I’m sure you’ve experienced doubt in your ability to write well at one time or another.
And you don’t have to be new to writing to have uncertainty and apprehension about your skill. Many seasoned writers, like Dean Koontz and Alice Munro, experience self-doubt to the point of almost ending their success.
For us, a lot is riding on our career choice, right? Especially if you’ve given up your full-time job to pursue a freelance writing career.
Maybe you’ve thought these questions when you were battling cold feet in your new career choice:
Will I make enough money?
I have three children to take care of and a house to run. Do I have time to write?
Am I even good enough to write professionally?
What if a client drops me?
Why did they not hire me for more work?
Should I raise my rates or will that scare off my clients?
Will my pitch get businesses to hire me?
I’ve had my fair share of self-doubt, cold feet, apprehension and fear of rejection more in this profession than at any other profession I’ve had in the past.
Struggling to land clients? Check out my complete course, Write Your Way to Your First $1k.
I learned over time, though, to squash any doubts I had about my writing and to never think twice about choosing to write professionally.
If you are battling doubts in your freelance writing career, look no further!
Learn what made me almost quit freelance writing (so it doesn’t happen to you) and I’ll show you how to overcome your doubts so you can be a writing success!
Having the Naive Disease and Second Guessing Myself
When I started freelance writing, I was on a high. I finally decided to jump in and start writing. I made a website and a blog. I wrote three articles in a week! I was pumped and excited to start this new venture.
Little did I know, I was about to get a dose of reality.
In the process of setting up my website and blog, I also created social profiles on all the big social platforms.
I quickly began sharing my content and asking for feedback and suggestions from whomever would give it. I was new to blogging and, although I had read about how to blog effectively, I wanted to make sure my writing style, topic choice and blog structure was easy to read and easy to scan.
I never thought I would get rude comments from sharing my blog posts. I only posted at other freelance writing places and thought since they know more than me, perhaps they can offer constructive criticism.
Unfortunately, I had come down with what I like to call “Naive Disease”.
This is when you believe everyone in your online groups is there to help you with improving your writing and offer guidance to new freelance writers.
Although this is generally true, there are some professionals that might have unresolved issues or have had bad experiences in their careers and feel it’s necessary to criticize other professionals.
I got a taste of rude comments when I posted this blog post on a freelance writing group at LinkedIn.
I checked on the group later that day to see if anyone commented and someone did.
‘Excellent advice’ if you want to brand yourself like a McD’s Big Mac rather than, lets say…an actual ‘writer.’
That was what I was thinking. I honestly did not think my post warranted such a negative comment. This person went on to attack ME saying,
I believe you are neither “new to writing” nor do I believe your real name is “Elna.” You have zero connections on your LinkedIn profile. You are a pseudonym for one of many predatory companies trolling Linkedin, and this group recently, whose sole purpose is to sell “services” from the corporate site that “Elna” actually represents. Neither your “advice” nor your “writing” skills will help anyone.
Come again? My real name is not Elna? Please tell my Danish father that! I was livid.
I can understand his views on my blog post. It may not be everyone’s style or preference, but to start attacking me because I had no connections? Excuse me for just starting a LinkedIn profile and not wanting to connect with my friends or family.
I created a profile on LinkedIn to promote my new business, network with other freelance writers, and to connect with potential clients. As I was new to freelance writing, of course I had no connections.
I started second guessing myself at that point. I started thinking,
Maybe I’m not cut out for this? Maybe I’m not a good writer. Maybe I can’t write.
I had let this one person almost ruin my career. I’m not a teacher and I don’t have a journalism or creative writing degree and this person’s comment started to create doubts about my ability to write for a living.
How Doubt Can Weaken Your Confidence
I sat on that comment all day. I chose not to attack this person and just commented back that everything this person said was untrue. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I seriously considered whether freelancing was for me.
Having doubts can shake your confidence when you’re new to a profession. When doubting yourself settles in your psyche, you start to:
- Avoid putting yourself out there. No more pitching, guest posting or sharing your blog posts for fear of ridicule.
- Think you have nothing unique to offer potential clients. Why would they hire you if other freelance writers say your blog posts are junk?
- Undervalue yourself as a writer. You start thinking that writing for $.03/word is all you’ll ever get.
If you ever had doubts, then you know it can be tough to snap yourself out of it. For me, my wake-up call came with all the positive comments I got from that post. Other writers enjoyed my post and the exciting part was that I provided useful information for new bloggers.
When I realized that my content was valuable and people were actually reading it, I started to think that writing is for me.
I decided to stop thinking about the negative feedback and only think about the positive feedback from that point on.
Your wake-up call might be different from mine. If you’re struggling to gain confidence, here are some other ways to ditch doubts and welcome triumph.
5 Ways to Gain Confidence as a Freelance Writer
1. Keep Writing
The number one confidence booster for me was to keep writing. The more I wrote, the more I learned about grammar, structure, tone, style and engagement.
I also learned a thing or two about writing faster and better.
When you practice writing, you actively learn more about your niche and it can help you as a freelance writer to know what you are comfortable writing about.
And the added bonus is, when you practice writing, you become better at writing.
Take a look at some good resources to help you on your way to better writing:
- The Write to Done free ebook, Get the Nearly Ultimate Guide to Better Writing
- 7 Ways to Improve Your Writing…Right Now
- The Hubspot’s free ebook, The Marketer’s Pocket Guide to Writing Well
2. Change Your View From, “This is what I offer,” to, “How can I help you?”
As a freelance writer, you might be under the impression that clients want to know what you have to offer, but what clients really want to know is, if I hire you, how can I make more money?
When you start thinking how you can help other businesses, all doubt about your writing ability will vanish. Allison Mansfield, who guest posted on Beafreelanceblooger.com, puts it nicely when she said,
The attitude shift from profit to service can change your life — and it can change other people’s lives.
Allison goes on to say,
A blogging client doesn’t pay a blogger just because he has the money to spend. What motivates a paying client is his problem: he needs timely, engaging copy that will build a relationship with his customers.
He’s motivated to solve his problem, plain and simple. He’s willing to pay for a solution.
Thinking about yourself as a solution to other people’s problems will get you to start thinking about how you can showcase your abilities and create more business for your clients.
And when you think this way, you will grow your business as well.
With this new thinking paradigm, you are no longer guessing whether or not your writing is good enough. Instead, your only concern is, “How can I help you?”
Check out some more blog posts on changing your mindset to create more business as a freelance writer:
- How Two Simple Words Will Change Your Life as a Freelance Writer
- 7 Steps to Freelance Writing Success Through Positive Thinking
- How to Break Free of the Employee Mindset and Make Your Own Freelance Success
3. Face Rejection With a Smile
That’s right. Smile away as you open your third email of the week and see that your pitch did not wow a potential client … again.
All freelance writers have faced rejection numerous times. It’s part of the requirements for being a writer: must get rejected.
But this doesn’t mean you let it change your perception of who you are.
Remember, clients aren’t rejecting you as a person. They’re probably rejecting you because you are not the right fit for their company, at this time. It doesn’t mean you couldn’t be the right fit later.
You win some and you lose some. The point is, you have to move on and learn from rejection.
As Jane Champagne, the artist, once said,
The effects of rejection can either kill your muse or change your life.
Don’t let rejection give fuel to your doubts. Instead, use rejection as a time for reflection.
Reflect on why you’re not getting clients and work towards perfecting your pitch and developing your portfolio.
Let rejection inspire you to create even better content and to work harder at making your business a success.
Here are some blog posts about handling rejection as a freelance writer:
- How Getting Rejected Made Me a Better Freelance Writer
- 10 Tips for Dealing With Rejection as a Writer
- No, No, No: How to Deal With Rejection
4. Get Out There… Slowly
Even if you’re faced with countless rejections and the feeling of doubt, you can still promote your business.
When you start thinking of yourself as a business that can fix problems, then you can promote yourself as such and build your brand up slowly.
Take a look at your pitch and incorporate ways you can fix problems for potential clients. You can also create content on your blog to promote your services. For example, you can create a post about why small businesses need a blog or how to add engaging and unique images to blog posts.
In any case, try to be online, promoting your business daily. It will attract potential clients and will give you the much needed confidence in your writing ability.
Take a look at some blog posts on how to promote your freelance writing business:
- 10 Tips on Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Writer Online
- 10 Ways Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Find Freelance Gigs
- Get Noticed: 5 Interesting Places to Promote Your Freelance Writing Business
5. Gain Your Confidence by Reading Other Freelance Writing Blogs
I started reading what they were writing and became absorbed in their lessons, tips and words of advice.
When you take time out of your busy schedule to read other people’s blogs you not only grow your connections within your field, but you can learn:
- Different writing styles
- Other ways to engage an audience
- Insights into freelance writing
Above all, you gain confidence in yourself as a writer because when you read other people’s writing, a little of it rubs off onto you, making your writing better.
So use this tip right now and take a look at these confident boosting blog posts from fellow freelance writers:
- How to Create Bomb-Proof Writing Confidence
- One Word That Can Change Your Freelance Writing Career
- Putting Yourself Out There – Part 3: How to Ooze Confidence
Be a Writing Success Today
Once I realized I was helping other bloggers and I was getting positive comments on my blog posts, I started gaining more confidence as each day passed.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s normal to still experience doubts in freelance writing. I still do have doubts, especially when I have to “sell” myself to prospective clients to seal the deal.
But it’s all a learning journey that everyone first starting has to go through. And I hope my story and my confidence boosters can help you achieve your writing success today.
Let me know in the comments if you had a similar experience and almost quit writing because of it. How do you remain confident in this line of work? What’s working and what isn’t?