Being a Freelance Superhero

Just the other day, I wrote on my personal blog about a career move I was considering. One of my readers — neonfoxtongue — commented on the moves she herself was thinking of making, mentioning her worry that she might not be taken seriously in the field because of her…newness. “Maybe this is something you could address on Freelancedom?” she asked.

An excellent idea! (Who needs an editorial calendar when you’ve got such helpful readers?)

All of us, after all — at some point or another — have to go through that intimidating rookie period. When you’re a freelancer, the pressure can be doubly heavy, as one has to constantly self-market, proving oneself anew to each prospective client.

As a newbie, how do you maintain confidence in yourself, and then engender that same confidence in your clients?

Say it, and thy will be done.

I’ve already told you about this golden nugget in Marci Alboher’s book, but it bears repeating: “Tell everyone you’re a writer…everyone you know, everyone you meet, and everyone who asks you what you do. Pretty soon it’ll be true.” The same could be said of any field.

Trying to build a business as a web designer, but paying the bills by copywriting full-time? Introduce yourself as a web designer — assertively, people! — and no one will have any reason to question you. Practicing such an aggressive brand of self-identification will also help in solidifying your self-identity on a more personal level.

Be prepared.

I may have been pretty obsessive when it came to preparing for the freelance lifestyle — self-help books, online forums, continuing education courses — but, at this point, I’m confident that I know my shit.

For me, nothing beats that comforting sense of certainty that comes with being over-prepared.

I’ll be covering this in greater depth later this week, so stay tuned!

Learn as you go (everyone else does).

After five years in the professional realm, I’ve learned that — no matter what level we’re at — we’re all on a pretty level playing field.

In much the same way that I’d be able to pull off red shoes if only I wasn’t constantly worrying that I couldn’t pull off red shoes, we all ensure the safety of our positions by projecting a certain attitude, one of competence.

In the meantime, we  (and everyone else) only grow to embody our positions by throwing ourselves into our work…learning by doing. Once we come to learn everything there is to know about a certain task or position, it’s probably time to move upward and onward.

So, CEO or assistant, we’re all working on a learning curve here. Being able to remember that can be comforting.

Be a bit conceited.

As a freelancer, you’re providing a service to your clients that they are unable to provide for themselves. Display an adequate level of capability, and they will be suitably impressed, not to mention grateful for your very existence. You have the upper hand here. Remind yourself of that.

Talk the talk, and be able to back it up.

As I’ve mentioned in just about every instance here, success can come easily when you act as if you deserve it.

But only if you have the goods to back it up. I’m assuming you do.

So review the secrets to self-marketing, from physical representation to the ins and outs of virtual and in-person networking. Face your self-marketing fears.

And then do a damn good job. Once you prove your worth, no one will care that you’re the new kid on the block.


  1. neonfoxtongue says:

    I feel very honoured to have inspired a blog post! Thanks for this – it all makes a lot of sense and it’s great to have it all in one spot. I’ll be referring back to this post whenever I need to give my career dreams a little boost!

  2. No prob! I often wonder why certain people trust me with certain tasks. It helps to remind myself of all of the above. 🙂


  1. […] from these more technical tips, remember to always be confident. In the midst of acting confident, I’ve often convinced myself that I actually […]

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