How to beat self-doubt when freelancing

You've done it. You're working for yourself, and you're winning clients, getting regular projects and surviving – so why are you full of self-doubt?

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

It's completely normal to go through moments when confidence takes a dip. You wouldn't be human otherwise. There are, of course, highs and lows when running your own business. Sometimes clients might ditch you, and that can knock your confidence. Or someone might criticise what you're doing, and that can have an impact.

So how do you beat self-doubt when you're freelancing? Especially when you need confidence to succeed. Here are some top tips.

A big secret revealed

I'm going to let you in on a big secret here. No one knows what they're doing. Not completely. Everyone – no matter how advanced in their career – won't know everything. And we're always learning, we all make mistakes, and we never stop striving to be better. Anyone who disagrees with this sentiment probably has a massive ego, and you don't have to worry about those characters, as people who think they know it all generally don't.

You're only as good as your last piece of work

With the above tip in mind, remember you're only ever as good as your last piece of work. You must always strive to do better next time. Learn from any mistakes, work out how you can improve and keep pushing yourself forward. If you're trying your very best, how can you doubt yourself?

Knowledge is power

If self-doubt is kicking in because you don't think you're good enough – hold that thought! Beat self-doubt by learning new skills. Because the more you educate yourself, the better you will feel about yourself. Knowledge is power.

Force yourself out of your comfort zone

Nothing builds confidence than forcing yourself to do things you'd gladly avoid. Whether it's public speaking, going for bigger clients or learning new skills – consider pushing yourself forward, and you might be surprised by what you can achieve. The more you overcome fear, the more confidence you'll have, and the less likely you'll turn things down in future.

Don't be hard on yourself

So a client got rid of you? Don't let it get you down. So you messed up a project? Learn from it and move on. We all make mistakes. It's human nature to mess up sometimes. Deal with it and figure out how you can do better next time. Mistakes are fantastic because it's the only way we learn and improve.

Celebrate your talents and triumphs

Why is it we only listen to criticism and forget about praise? When someone tells us we're 'rubbish', we believe them! But if someone says we're 'talented', we don't let it sink in. Stop this behaviour now by celebrating everything great about you! Embrace your talents, celebrate your triumphs and remember how far you've come and the obstacles you've managed to tackle thus far.

Be inspired by successful people

Need an extra boost to banish those self-doubt demons? Read inspiring success stories and people who have made it. Like Richard Branson's Losing My Virginity or Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. You'll discover that successful people went through their own periods of self-doubt, struggles and hardship – but they still became a success.

What's the worst that could happen?

Finally, if you're still having moments of self-doubt, consider the worst possible outcome. Is failure that bad? Do you think Steve Jobs always got it right? Of course, he didn't – and the same applies to everyone else.

Fear of failure is a waste of time and energy. I think there is no such thing as failure – only lessons in life. Once you realise this fact, your confidence will soar, and you'll understand that everyone makes mistakes. That it isn't the end of the world when you do mess up and that you'll always live to fight another day. Now get out there, enjoy your work and be confident in yourself! What have you got to lose?


Get the best of Creative Boom delivered to your inbox weekly