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4 Freelance Fears and How to Overcome Them | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

4 Freelance Fears and How to Overcome Them

Date January 31, 2008


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We dream of quitting our jobs but, when it comes down to it, the thought of working for ourselves can scare the bahookie out of most of us.

So, we end up putting it off and continue dreaming about the day we can make our resignation into a paper airplane and fly it into our boss’ office.

But, the only way to make it happen is to overcome those obstacles which frighten us the most. Below are 4 fears that, if overcome, will help you get your freelance career from dream to reality much quicker.

The financial factor

You have to position yourself financially if you’re ever going to give self-employment a fair shot.

What this means is that you must take deliberate steps to fix a “not so good” money situation—a situation shared by many. As job holders, we go through life paying our bills (hopefully), eating out, and watching movies in comatose fashion. All because we know the next pay check will drop into our bank account in the next week or two.

But, as freelancer, you won’t have that luxury. You must look at your financial reality and take steps to remedy any money problems

Financial worries will zap your creative energy. I lost a major client two months into my freelancing career and right after my wife and I had closed on a new house.

Instead of cranking up my marketing efforts, I moped around the house for six weeks. The stress of that single incident almost sent me back to cubicle nation before I even got started.

Even though you won’t be able to protect yourself from every financial calamity, there are steps you can take to lessen the impact.

Steps such as…
…paying off all consumer debt.
…paying off vehicles (stop leasing/yes you can keep a car for 10 years).
…buying the equipment you will need for the first two years of your freelance life.
…learning to live on less (make it a game, it’s fun).

Your stress level will be in direct proportion to how many unresolved financial situations you drag in with you.

The lost benefits factor

One unanimous complaint (excuse) that holds many people back is the thought of losing company benefits. Here’s a quick tip…stop worrying about it. You can buy health insurance through any major carrier and pay less than you did as an employee.

Granted, your co-pay and out of pocket expenses will be higher. But, it’s not as big a deal as most people make it out to be. Unfortunately, a lot of employees abuse health insurance precisely because it’s not costing them anything out of pocket.

One thing I noticed when I went out on my own was that we got sick much less often and, as a result, went to the doctor much less often. Change your thoughts on why you’re getting health insurance. Start thinking of your health insurance as major medical insurance.

Sure, none of us could absorb the cost of a tragic accident or illness. But, most of us can get over a cold by self medicating.

As for 401K plans, profit sharing, and Christmas bonuses…you are losing those. Remember, though, your business is an investment. Instead of the S&P 500, you’re betting on You, Inc.

Again, these may seem like major setbacks but they’re really not. You’ll have plenty of opportunity and options to set up retirement plans. And, of course, you can always pay yourself that Christmas bonus.

The lonliness factor

You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you’ll be on your own. Distractions will be close to nil.

What about bouncing ideas off other people?

Here’s the way I look at it. When you’re asking someone for their opinion they’re either going to answer a) positively because they don’t want want to hurt your feelings, b) negatively because they want to upset you, or c) negatively because they always have something negative to say.

It’s your clients that matter. Again, it’s a mental shift. It’s not so much about you anymore, even though you’re the lone source of ideas and inspiration.

There are plenty of Websites and blogs on every topic imaginable. You won’t be for lack of ideas only lack of annoying co-workers.

The “on the clock” factor

One of the hardest emotions to overcome is the feeling that you should be doing something everyday, 8 hours a day. And, if you’re not, you’re a loser.

You have to learn to let go of employee based emotions. Some people can’t function unless another person is breathing down their neck.

It took me two months and a vacation before I settled into the work. So, don’t worry. You’ll get there. As long as you’re getting the work done, you shouldn’t feel guilty about not working for a solid 8 hours.

Can you think of any other distracting fears? Fears keeping you from getting on with your freelance life?

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Related posts:

  1. Before you Quit your Job - How to Determine your Replacement Income
  2. How to Live with Freelance Success
  3. Self-Imposed Stress for the Self-Employed

2 Responses to “4 Freelance Fears and How to Overcome Them”

  1. Diana Levin Illustration » Blog Archive » Resources for Freelancers said:

    […] great article on www.freelancesprout.com is about how to overcome freelance fears. Here it is http://freelancesprout.com/2008/01/31/4-freelance-fears-and-how-to-overcome-them/ Filed under: […]

  2. diana said:

    Great article. Thanks. I Linked it to my blog.

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