The monster in your closet may have moved out ages ago, but what still keeps you up at night? I was inspired by this Being Boss episode to compile some common fears that freelancers share—and some tips on how to keep them in perspective.
– Fear of Missing Out, aka “FOMO.” Do you struggle with knowing when to say yes or no? Are you afraid of going down the wrong path in your freelance career?
Remember: you can always change your mind. You are in charge of your life and not the other way around. Think of your work choices as an ongoing experiment: test and improve as you go.
– Fear of Failure. Does one failure kill your day/week/year, no matter how many successes you’ve had? Failure is necessary, important, and inevitable.
Prioritize your failures by thinking through the worst-case scenario. Many times something that seems big in the moment is really not that bad. Try to frame your failures as learning experiences instead.
– Fear of Money. You feel like there isn’t enough, there won’t be enough, or you’re misspending what you have now. Freelancing has many benefits, but one big downside is the lack of financial stability.
To start, looking at the actual numbers can help. Sit down with your budget again, and you may find your fear is unwarranted. Also, January/February and July/August can be slow months for creative entrepreneurs, so instead of being afraid, plan accordingly. Use the time for marketing or other projects for your business you’ve been putting off.
– Fear of Everyone and No One. Are you afraid of what other people will think? Or are you afraid that your efforts will go completely unnoticed?
This might be a sign that you’re not feeling connected to your work. It may be time to re-evaluate the focus of your business so that you’re doing something that you care more about. Or it may just be a matter of finding the clients that appreciate what you do.
– Stress. That’s right, stress is fear in disguise. I’m sure there are a few things you could name that are stressing you out right now. What are you afraid of?
Naming them is the first step to dealing with them. Take on each stressor one at a time so they feel more manageable and figure out the stress management technique that works for you.
– Fear of Death. You have a sense of urgency that life is too short.
Truth is, no matter how much time you have, you’ll likely never feel like you have enough time, be it 40 or 140 years. All the more reason to jump in and go for it, whatever “it” is. What if you died tomorrow? Would you be satisfied with your efforts thus far?
If you’re really struggling, find a business or life coach who can help you with some much-needed guidance. Fear isn’t real, but it feels real. It’s normal to be afraid, but your fears shouldn’t keep you from doing what you need to do. Good luck, and be gentle with yourself.
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