I have been a freelance content witter and specialist for over a decade. I have grown from someone who churned out 10 articles a day to now helping clients with content strategy, marketing campaigns and work on select projects only. Gone are the days when i spent endless hours writing or doing research. I now get to hand pick projects and clients I want to work with and set timelines that help me work at a pace that is comfortable [ ofcourse there are exceptions when a client requests, we speed up the process, or adjust to their deadlines]. Thankfully, those are far and few.
Anyways, when I take on a project to create content, I get into a good headspace and create the piece in a few hours [depending on the project], and then I give myself a timeout [half hour to couple of hours depending on set timelines]. Revisit the piece, make any edits and then let it sit on my laptop. The time when I complete could be 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, but i will usually wait till 9ish or even 10 before I send it across to the client. Not because that is the promised time of delivery, but because the later I send it, the lesser the chances of them coming back with comments or feedback or edit suggestions. This is where the imposter syndrome sets in. It used to be quite bad till a few years earlier. I have grown more confident since then and dont hesitate to send out the completed piece or answer a client’s call [some come out of the blue] without any fears. Well, almost no fears.
Even today, I get a message from a client asking if we can talk and immediately alarm bells go off in my head making me wonder what they want to talk about [ esp if it’s an ongoing project and am waiting for client feedback], but unlike earlier, I dont put off replying to them. Instead, i take a few second, breathe, have some water and tell them I am ready to talk. 99.99999% of the time, the client just wants to share some generic update or give me the green signal [telling me that I am on track & good to proceed]
The freedom, flexibility, and potential for high-earning: freelancing has it all, right? While those aspects are true, freelancers know it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. One particularly pesky shadow that often clouds our days is the ever-present imposter syndrome. That nagging voice whispering, “They’ll see through you soon,” or “You just got lucky,” can be incredibly draining and hold you back from reaching your full potential. But fear not, fellow freelancer – you’re not alone in this battle!
Where does this imposter syndrome come from? Why is there a teeny bit of self – doubt? Is it cos of some past experience, or someone around us telling us we are good for nothing [ during our childhood years]
Here are some strategies to quiet the inner critic and claim your rightful place as a freelancing rockstar:
1. Celebrate Your Wins (Big and Small):
It’s easy to dwell on what went wrong or compare ourselves to others. Instead, track your victories, no matter how seemingly small. Landed a dream client? Finished a challenging project? Jot it down! Revisiting this list will remind you of your capabilities and boost your confidence.
2. Seek (and Heed) Real Feedback:
Imposter syndrome thrives in isolation. Reach out to clients, past colleagues, or trusted friends for honest feedback. Don’t just listen for praise (though that’s great too!), but actively learn from constructive criticism. This feedback loop provides valuable external validation and helps you grow.
3. Remember, We All Learn As We Go:
Nobody starts out a perfect freelancer. Mistakes are inevitable and embracing them as learning opportunities is key. Did you overpromise on a deadline? Analyze what went wrong, communicate openly with your client, and use the experience to improve your processes. Growth isn’t linear, so be kind to yourself as you navigate the learning curve.
4. Find Your Tribe:
Connect with other freelancers online or in local communities. Sharing experiences and supporting each other can be incredibly empowering. Talking to people who understand your struggles can normalize your feelings and offer valuable advice.
5. Reframe Your Self-Talk:
Challenge negative thoughts with evidence of your skills and accomplishments. Instead of “I’m not good enough,” say “I’m still learning, and I’m constantly improving.” Replace “They’ll realize I’m a fraud” with “I’ve delivered high-quality work before, and I can do it again.” Over time, this positive self-talk can significantly alter your mindset.
Remember: Imposter syndrome is common, but it doesn’t have to define you. By acknowledging your doubts, celebrating your successes, seeking support, and practicing self-compassion, you can silence the inner critic and step into your full potential as a successful freelancer.