How to Deal with Self-Doubt as a Freelancer + 5 Top Tips

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As a freelancer, self-doubt is an issue I deal with on a regular basis.

From worrying that my work isn’t good enough to wondering if this is actually the right job for me, I’ve definitely grappled with difficult freelance doubts throughout my career so far.

In my first year of freelancing, I spent a lot of time working on my outlook.

I found a few key ways to deal with self-doubt and imposter syndrome, including how to build a positive mentality towards myself and my work.

In this blog post, I’m discussing my experience of self-doubt as a freelancer- and a few top tips to deal with it!

Experiencing self-doubt as a freelancer

If you’re a freelancer or you work for yourself, chances are you’ll experience self-doubt.

Self-doubt is that crippling, often overwhelming feeling that you’re not doing a good job. You might doubt:

  • If your writing is good enough
  • If you’re charging enough
  • If anyone will ever want to hire you
  • If you should have taken the leap to freelance work
  • If you know what you’re doing

In fact, it’s likely that you’ll worry about all of these things- and more!

Self-doubt is a tricky issue. It can have a negative effect on the way you view yourself.

laptop freelancing

However, when you work for yourself, your mentality is so important.

You control what you do and how you work- and so it’s essential to maintain a positive outlook on yourself and your career.

I recently saw a LinkedIn post from a fellow freelancer, who made the point that if a boss treated you as poorly as you treated yourself, you’d file a complaint.

If you’re a freelancer, you are your own boss- and so you need to treat yourself in the kind, nurturing and supportive way that gets results.

Self-doubt can also have a detrimental effect on your work, too, if it starts to get out of control.

If you’re constantly doubting your own skills, it can make it harder to promote yourself to clients.

You might not describe yourself in the best way possible, or you might not apply for an opportunity at all if you doubt whether you can do it or not.

freelancer self-doubt- working at a laptop

Self-doubt and imposter syndrome go hand-in-hand.

As a freelancer, you might think that you don’t have enough experience when you first get started- and this might affect the way you view your career.

Likewise, even as you start to gain experience, you might still feel like an imposter in the freelance world.

You might worry that there are others that know how to do the job better- and so why would anyone pick you over them?

But the truth is, everyone experiences doubts just like this. It can be really hard to get out of negative patterns when it comes to our mentality towards ourselves.

It’s taken a lot of time and energy (and lots of help from other people, too) to get to a place where I can manage freelance self-doubt- and I still struggle with it sometimes.

My top tips to deal with self-doubt as a freelancer

Self-doubt is a big part of freelance life- but that doesn’t make it any easier when you experience it.

I’ve put together 5 top tips to deal with self-doubt as a freelancer, including ideas that anyone can try out.

1. Accept it

As with many things in life, it’s important to accept your self-doubt.

This can help you think about where it comes from and how to deal with it, on a personal level.

Accept that freelancing isn’t always a walk in the park, and sometimes the biggest struggle is changing your mentality towards yourself and your work.

accept freelance self-doubt

Accepting self-doubt can also get to the root of the problem. Although self-doubt is very common, there could be something deeper going on.

Check in with yourself and take a bit of time to examine what is giving you feelings of doubt.

2. Remember that you’re not alone

It’s so important to remember that you’re not alone. Everyone deals with self-doubt, even those in “traditional” jobs.

Whether you worry about finding the right clients or you doubt your skills as a writer, self-doubt as a freelancer is very common.

Join freelancer threads such as Peak Freelance to connect with other people in the profession and make connections on social media.

This will help you realise that everyone deals with these issues, and it could even give you a few tips to settle into freelance life.

3. Practice self-love

Self-love is the perfect antidote to self-doubt, helping you believe in yourself and restore your confidence.

Unfortunately, it’s very easy for our brains to start criticising everything we do. Practising self-love means changing the narrative, and actively thinking about ourselves in a positive way.

freelance self-love

This is easier said than done, but finding small ways to silence your inner critic is a great way to reduce self-doubt, especially when it comes to imposter syndrome or those times when you don’t feel “good enough”.

This could be as simple as writing down whenever you achieve something.

You can go back to this at a low point, to remind yourself that the freelance lifestyle experiences lots of ups and downs.

4. Avoid comparison

In the freelance world, it is impossible to compare yourself to other people- and yet we all do it!

Even those freelancers on the same level as you will do some things differently, and we all deal with self-doubt on a regular basis.

From freelance writers to remote interpreters, it is so important to avoid comparing yourself to others in your profession.

It doesn’t achieve anything, and it just feeds the idea that you are somehow doing something “wrong”.

There’s a difference between getting advice from another freelancer, and actively comparing yourself to them.

I’ve got some of my most valuable ideas from other people- but the problems start when you judge yourself based on unhelpful comparisons.

5. Do your research

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a problem is to learn as much as you can about it.

Do your research about concepts such as imposter syndrome, to find out how you can get help when you need it.

You could set yourself goals and think about how you can make an effort to reduce self-doubt.

freelance notebook, pencil, laptop, glasses and mobile phone

Arm yourself with as much information as you can about anything that worries you.

For example, I always doubt myself when it comes to pricing. So I’ve connected with a few lovely freelancers, and I’m learning how to sort out my negotiations or my pricing to suit me- and my clients.

Are you a freelancer? Have you dealt with self-doubt in the past? Do you have any tips to deal with self-doubt?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below πŸ™‚

Happy reading x

58 thoughts

  1. Amazing! As a blogger, I always have a lot of self-doubts and never know if my content is good enough for people to want to read it. But I have a little saying to help me keep going when I am starting to doubt myself – “I am capable and everything is figure outable”.

    Like

  2. Self-doubt is like a thief that creeps in without your notice and steals your happiness and peace. You are absolutely right in saying that everyone has self-doubt at any stage of their life. Wonderful post πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely needed to read this today!

    I am always battling imposter syndrome but this is so helpful, especially enjoyed this part:

    “I recently saw a LinkedIn post from a fellow freelancer, who made the point that if a boss treated you as poorly as you treated yourself, you’d file a complaint.”

    Information I didn’t know I needed. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That LinkedIn post really helped me too! I couldn’t find it again, but I really liked what she had to say πŸ™‚ thank you so much Sammi, I really appreciate it. It’s true, imposter syndrome is so common- and everyone deals with it on a daily basis x

      Like

  4. I deal with self doubt everyday. It’s hard because I’m trying to set up my business and in my first months I’ve had 1 set back if someone not paying and then discovering how much AI can do. It is hard to stop the negative feelings though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never worked as a freelancer, but I’ve experienced self-doubts. Me and self-doubts fit together like a hand in a glove. And I think the biggest factor in that is making comparisons. Nobody wins when you making comparisons

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As someone who has been holding back from trying freelancing, this post is super helpful! My biggest issue is feeling like I am not good enough, so I will be bookmarking these tips for the next time I’m feeling that way. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Heartwarming and motivating blog post, freelancing is like a rollercoaster 🎒. You’re right self love is so important. Self Doubt is my biggest problem, I try to shake it off but I must admit it gets the better of me sometimes. But no comparisons is a good reminder it removes so much stress. Thanks for sharing, blogger life is harrrrrd.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with alot of these points, I think in any profession it’s extremely easy to get caught up comparing yourself to others you deem more successful than yourself, but it’s best to focus that energy on yourself x

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think avoiding comparison is so important! I’m a freelancer myself, but haven’t been able to find work since December which is extremely disheartening. I just have to keep my head up and keep applying for work and stop comparing myself to other people with jobs. Great tips!

    Liked by 1 person

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