There are so many things to stop you from making more money and having the work-life you want.
And most of them are only happening inside of your head.
Here are five roadblocks that I’ve noticed lately in myself and in others, and some practical instructions to deal with them.
1. Thinking you need a degree.
In the awesome world of freelancing, no one cares about your education, or whether you have a fancy-schmancy degree. You will be judged on the work you do, and that’s it.
Now, that’s not to say that you don’t need to learn something to make your business better, because you might. Perhaps learning some CSS is just what you need to become the design ninja you dream of being. If that’s so, do it. Just don’t get drawn into thinking you need a Master’s level Computer Science program. You don’t, and thinking you do is just derailing your dream. The same goes for getting your MFA, writers.
You know what makes you a master? Doing the work.
2. Being afraid to look stupid.
You are going to make mistakes. You are going to fall on your butt, put your boot in your mouth, and make a big mess of things. And when you do, you will feel like a complete and utter failure.
I won’t tell you to learn to laugh at yourself, or any of the other glib advice you may have heard about failure — Edison’s 10,000 light bulbs and all that.
I want to acknowledge that feeling like a complete ass is painful. It sucks. I will tell you that you can tolerate feeling that way. And if you learn to feel that pain and move forward anyway, you will be more successful that you can even imagine.
3. Being afraid to ask for it.
One of the biggest shocks I had when moving into the business world was how helpful everyone was. In my imagination, all business owners were masters of Machiavellian intrigue, and as likely to spit at me as to help me. In fact, I have never encountered such a large group of generous and giving people as the people in my local business community. I mean it. And virtually everyone I meet in my online and offline networking life is willing to give me a leg up if they can.
Trust that people for the most part want you to succeed. So go ahead and ask for referrals, ask for introductions, ask for work. And, of course, when you receive, be willing to do the same for others.
4. Not being a pro.
If you’re only working when you feel like it, you haven’t yet become a professional. You don’t have to work full-time to be a pro. But you do have to make time for your work, even if it’s 15 hours a week. Make a plan and stick to it. I know that for some, especially parents, this can be rough. But if you want to succeed, you have to prioritize your business somewhere well above baby penguin videos and Gawker.
One tool that revolutionized my work-life (other than my incredible babysitter) is OmmWriter. When I put on my headphones and start writing, the rest of the world disappears. (I’m not getting paid to write this, I just love it — and I think you will too.)
5. Losing your momentum.
When you have a win, it is not time to take a rest. I know, you put a Sisyphean effort into whatever it was, and all you want to do is cling to the couch and watch Dr. Who reruns for a week. (Or is that just me?) Instead, ride the good feelings into your next win. If you keep yourself rolling, pretty soon everything will seem much easier. Much, much easier.
It is just a fact of existence in our universe that things at rest tend to stay at rest. Don’t fight physics man!
ATTENTION: There are spaces open in our end of summer Build a Freelance Website session! We’ll help you set up and register your domain, plus install Word Press with a rockin’ premium theme and all the plugins you need to be awesome. It’s only $250 — but we can only accept a few more people at this price. Send me an email at rebecca (at) buildafreelancebiz.com to secure a spot before it’s too late!
Photo Credit: Brian M. Forbes