When you’re freelancing, you’re an entrepreneur. You are selling a product, your product.
Successful entrepreneurs have energy. You’ve seen it. Day in and day out, this energy gets them out of bed to work and keeps them in hot pursuit of their goals.
Where does this energy come from? Confidence.
Successful freelancers and business people have confidence in their products. They know they are putting out something worthwhile and it’s this knowledge and desire to spread the high quality product that propels them.
Think about it: would your heart be in it if you felt like your product sucked? If you knew you were trying to bilk folks into buying trash, would that make you feel good?
To be a successful freelancer in the age of content, you have to know that your skills are worthy of an investment. Without this confidence, you won’t have the energy needed to sustain momentum and you won’t land gigs.
If you are the “product”, do you believe your sales pitch?
When you freelance, and especially if you’re hoping to build lasting client relationships (rather than one-off article sales), you aren’t only selling pages of your writing, but yourself as a professional.
You are your product.
With each email you send to a prospective client or editor, you aren’t only marketing your writing skills, but your ability to take feedback, your tenacity and creativity, your adherence to deadlines, and so much more.
And when you don’t believe your own marketing pitch, it comes through in the copy.
Are your skills worthy?
Think about what you offer a potential client. Do you feel good about it? Do you think you can compete with other writers at your level?
If you answered no, or anything less than a certain yes, you need to address your lack of confidence and where it’s coming from.
I’m not suggesting you build up false confidence here – there’s enough of that already in the market. If you have a legitimate reason to doubt your skills, you need to address your skills, not your confidence.
Maybe you are uncertain about the quality of your writing. If so, ask for feedback. Ask an editor, another writer, or someone that represents the “average” reader of your work. Ask them to be merciless, and don’t brush off what they offer in return.
We all have areas in need of improvement, but we can’t address them if we don’t know what they are.
Confidence through consistent improvement
I’ve found my confidence can be nurtured and maintained through consistent improvement.
How else could someone with a degree in criminal justice and no formal writing background rise to bylines on national media sites?
I have a library of grammar and writing books. (I’ll share this library in an upcoming post).
I subscribe to newsletters that help me improve my craft.
I get regular feedback from editors and have no-holds-barred friendships with fellow writers. (Conversations in these friendships allow for brutal critique and amazing growth).
I enroll in online classes to stretch my limits. (Currently taking one on data journalism and another on coaching/mentoring).
For more on where I find the time for all of this, read here.
All of these combine to ensure I am not stagnating. And all of them help boost the confidence I have in my work.
How do you see confidence playing into your success?
If you lack confidence, what steps can you take now to improve how you feel about your “product”?