How to Overcome Fear as a Newbie Freelancer

Carrie Lowrance is a 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success alum, and the person everyone in the community has been cheering on for the past few months.

Carrie just quit her full-time job to pursue freelance writing. And today she stopped by the blog to tell us all about it. I love how enthusiastic Carrie is about this new journey – help us continue to egg her on!

I quit my job.

I quit my job.

As I look around my office this morning, that is what keeps running through my head. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited. I really am.

I left a job that felt just like mere ‘existing,’ in order to pursue my love of writing.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like my job. I did.

I was working in daycare – the kids were a lot of fun and I had wonderful coworkers. But it was also exhausting. I don’t care who you are, whether you’re a parent or a teacher, children are exhausting. When I came home in the evenings, I would have no energy. On the weekends, I would be able to write and pitch a little bit, but I was also catching up on laundry, groceries and housework.

I needed a change.

I had my samples built up, but I knew I needed to be uber focused if I wanted to grow this business quickly.

My husband and I discussed it, juggled numbers and looked at every angle. Then at 4:30 PM on a Monday afternoon, I jumped off the cliff and dove in with two feet.

I feel confident, brave and fearless. But I also feel scared.

What if I can’t find clients?

What if I can’t pay my bills?

What if, what if, what if?

This is ridiculous, I have thought it all out. I have looked at every angle to make sure we would be okay until I get this thing off the ground. This is fear talking.

I say no more. I have an action plan that is going to help me overcome fear. Maybe it’ll help you too?

How to overcome fear as a freelancer and a writer1. Set Goals   

Just like anything in life, goals are important.

They need to be specific and they need to be measurable so you can identify progress. In the beginning, I believe it is good to start small. You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself.

For example, if you are just starting out and want to set an income goal, maybe start with a $250 goal for your first 30 days. I set my goals in 30, 60 and 90 day increments. I also set a goal to be at by Christmas and one for the New Year.

2. Pitch, Pitch, Pitch

We hear it all the time in this business, but pitching is key.

One of my current goals is to send two pitches a day to start. Small, I know. But I know it can only grow from here and will keep me from getting overwhelmed early on. The last thing you want to do is put too much pressure on yourself and quit.

When pitching to a job ad, I always pay close attention to what they are wanting in a pitch. Sometimes they want a resume and writing samples, only writing samples or just your article copied and pasted in the body of the email.

I do not end with a question when pitching a job.

(Gina’s Tip: We have a lot of great cold pitching advice from freelance writers. Check out this post by Renee on easy tweaks that will make a difference in your pitching. Joe Dyton, a cold pitching master, shares the lessons he learned from a winning the 30 Days or Less cold pitching challenge.)

3. Hire a Business Coach

This step to me is crucial. I have so much more confidence in myself in doing this.

I don’t feel like I’m going out ‘totally’ on my own.

I have someone to learn from who will help me navigate the waters and avoid mistakes. Someone who will hold me accountable for the steps I do or do not take. Someone who will celebrate the wins and grieve (and learn from) the rejections. This help and guidance alone is worth its weight in gold to me.

One of my favorite quotes by author Jon Acuff is, “Quit asking fear for permission to do that thing you know you’re supposed to be doing with your life.”

The first time I read this, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It made me realize that the only reason I didn’t pursue my passion for writing was because was afraid. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the drive or the talent or that I couldn’t do it. It was because I was too afraid to do it.

There should be absolutely no reason for me to be scared. I have written for newspapers and have three published books under my belt:

  1. Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise
  2. The Safety Of Objects
  3. Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green).

I have been featured on sites like Huffington Post, She Is Fierce and Indebted Mom.

Some days I wonder if I’m scared of success.

My point is that I’m right there with you. If your friends and family are not as supportive of you as you would like, and you think it is contributing to your fear, find a group of like-minded people.

I am involved with a wonderful group of freelancers who support and encourage each other. I came to know this group through Gina’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success course. They’re also at all levels in their businesses.

And I’m feeling much better going forward with the action steps above.

I have faith in you. I encourage you. You’ve got this.

What’s keeping you from going freelance full time? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Carrie Lowrance_Freelance WriterCarrie Lowrance is a freelance writer and author. She has been featured on Huffington Post, She Is Fierce, The Freelance Dance and The Frugal Farmer. She is also the author of three books, Lithium Dreams And Melancholy Sunrise, The Safety Of Objects and Don’t Eat Your Boogers (You’ll Turn Green). You can connect with her at Freelance By Lowrance.

 

8 thoughts on “How to Overcome Fear as a Newbie Freelancer

  1. Good luck, Carrie! Your website is very nice. I look forward to following your new career and learning from your success. I’m a few steps behind you.

  2. Congratulations, Carrie! It’s comforting to know all of my hesitations are normal, Your tips encourage me to push through my doubts and keep working towards productive writing that will allow me to leave my job!

  3. Thanks for the article! I definitely needed to read that right now. I’m nowhere near able to quit my job to do this full-time, but this gives me hope that I will be able to in the future. Also, I loved this: “Quit asking fear for permission to do that thing you know you’re supposed to be doing with your life.”

  4. Congrats and best of luck! I have no “real job” to quit. I’ve been a SAHM since 2007 and ventured into VA work about 6 months ago. So far I’ve only worked with clients through a company I signed up with. I’m ready to start getting my own! I did Gina’s 30 Days or Less to VA course. I’m realizing the only thing that’s holding me back is FEAR! Fear of being successful. How silly is that? I’m determined to let go of my and really build up my business!

    Thanks for sharing you story!

  5. Thanks for the encouragement, Carrie! I dream of being able to quit my job one day to do freelancing full-time. I know I’ll get there! It’s nice to hear from someone who’s done it. 🙂 Good luck to you and thanks for the post!

  6. Dear Carrie! Congrats! I am so glad that I found this article. I am right now in very similar situation. I am a translator and I have never made my dream come because of fear. But I quit my job and I am about to start. This September. I’d love to be in touch. My twitter profile: Apctrals

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