Mind Games and Mental Tomfoolery
I’m going to go out on a limb today and suggest that one of the hardest things we do as freelancers is joust with the internal dialogue – that incessant chatter that is fueled by the screaming voices of the roller coaster we often find ourselves on.
No, I’m not saying it’s all in your head.
At least some of it.
Most freelancers understand when I talk about the feast or famine cycle of running your own show.
Crazy work times when everything turns to gold, bottomless depths when every lead turns to ashes.
Let’s face it, the average freelance life is an exercise in uncertainty and anxiety because even in the middle of the high, we know it won’t last.
And when that famine cycle hits, it feels like the stakes are high. And they become really real.
- Work vs. home. I really need to be generating more leads …I’ll have to do the dishes/mow the lawn/repair the garage door/play with the kids later.
- The empty horizon. This client’s expectations are ridiculous but it’s the only job I’ve got lined up for the next month.
- Delaying payment to yourself. I never should have become a freelancer.
Knowing it’s a mental game as much as a technical one is your first step to escaping the freelance funhouse.
It’s a simple formula: Start small, dream big.
Small? How small?
Start with what you have.
That might mean looking at your finances and deciding you need to stay at the office of cube walls while you build the freelance business on the side.
If you’re having a hard time landing clients maybe you should consider subbing for a consultancy.
Or maybe it’s time to find a specific niche that you can dig into. Depth over breadth can sometimes be an asset.
Take inventory. And ask for help if you’re having trouble seeing it.
Then form your battle plan.
After all, a goal is only a dream with a plan. Set realistic goals for three months, a year, five years.
Value yourself. Are you charging a reasonable rate for someone of your background and experience? (Your income is your offense in this battle against the adrenaline-soaked voices in your head.)
Then account for it. And by account, we’re talking about budgeting. Get your finances under control so they don’t control you. (That’s the defense.) There’s a reason I call business savings a war chest. As that war chest fills up, you’ll find the mind games aren’t as noisy anymore.
Well, maybe not everything. But it’s a great place to start.