Freelancing is a mixed bag of blessings and challenges. One day, everything is hunky dory when you love what you do. The next day, it all feels just a bit …. too much.
How can you beat negativity and forge on ahead regardless?
Set the right priorities (and stick to them)
I remember when I started freelancing (many moons ago), I was happy to take on whatever work came my way, regardless of the pay or the project. As a result, I ended up overworked, overwhelmed and underpaid.
Today, I’ve learned a trick or two to help me prioritise what’s more important to me.
- I now have a (secret) ideal day rate. Whenever a project comes along, I calculate whether it will generate a return on investment. If it doesn’t, it’s not for me!
- I also have a very firm notion of the type of projects that will or won’t suit me personally. You know that nagging feeling you get when something doesn’t feel right? I’ve learned to listen to it, because your first instinct is usually the right one.
Set firm priorities for your working day and stick to them. It’s slightly easier to beat negativity when you have specific milestones to achieve.
Adopt a daily positive affirmation
Positive affirmations are powerful assertive phrases that you adopt and repeat regularly to overwrite negative, self-limiting beliefs.
I say mine as soon as I wake up in the morning, to set my mood for the day.
Try Power Thoughts: 365 Daily Affirmations by Louise Hay. It’s not a new book, it was first published in 2005, and there are similar books on positive affirmation which I’m sure are just as effective. The key is to keep your affirmations positive and in the present tense, such as:
“I am a creator with amazing talents… I will create something beautiful today.”
Create your own affirmation by visualising exactly what you want (see yourself doing it) and then write it down. The very act of writing something down forces you to be specific. Once its down on paper, stick it everywhere as a reminder – on your dressing table mirror, on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror, everywhere – and say it out loud to remind yourself just how important this is to you.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Yes it’s good to scout out the competition (occasionally) to keep an eye on the market. But you don’t need to get all hung up over it. If you’ve found your niche, it doesn’t matter what the competition is up to. Your niche is precisely that, yours. No-one can do what you do, quite like you.
Don’t compare yourself to others to the extent that you allow negative feelings to drag you down. Instead, draw inspiration from others. Have they overcome similar trials? How so? What can you learn from them?
No-one knows what they’re doing all of the time! We’re all muddling through the best way we can, picking up skills here and there, while learning on the fly. If you are lacking in something, use it as an opportunity to continue learning and growing in your field.
Celebrate your successes
I’m a voracious note taker. I don’t think I’d survive without my notebook and pen. I jot down everything from random words in speech bubbles, to more coherent ideas, to logical structured ‘To Do’ lists.
The reason note taking is so important to me (other than for obvious reasons as a writer and researcher) is because every once in a while, I annotate what I’ve accomplished with a yellow highlighted “YAY!” I look forward to my “YAYs”. If I feel I’ve gone far too long without one, I scour my notes again just in case I’ve forgotten something. I *will* inevitably have forgotten something, which is a great opportunity to remind myself how well I’ve done (YAY!)
Celebrate how far you’ve come, look back on your triumphs, re-read your testimonials or reviews, anything to lift your spirits.
Nothing lifts your spirits more than seeing in writing how brilliant you are.
What tips would you add?