Freelance writing gigs suck big time!

Or they can if you let freelance writing gigs get you down. Let me explain…

One of the things all new freelancers struggle with is self-confidence and, to be honest, that’s something that never really goes away completely.

No matter how experienced you get, there will always be times when you wonder if your writing is quite good enough. As you become a better writer and gain more traction, that creeping feeling of self-doubt tends to manifest itself slightly differently.

For example, I recently landed a job, working for an agency, where I had to come up with three different styles of brand communication voice for a client of theirs.

Although it’s the kind of thing I’ve tackled several times before, writing for a brand-new client (even through an agency) is one of the most challenging parts of freelancing. It’s also the time when that little bit of self-doubt can creep back in because you never know how a new client is going to react to your work.

Most clients are reasonable, at least that has been my experience, but every now again you do get a client who, for whatever reason, just seems to want to be awkward. That’s not to say your work will always be perfect, but you should have a good idea when your work is up to a decent standard and really doesn’t deserve to be shot down in flames.

This is another reason to make sure you have a very specific and detailed brief from your client, particularly when you take on new freelance writing gigs. Another good idea, when you’re working with a client for the first time, is to complete part of the brief (not the whole thing) and submit it to test your understanding of the job requirements.

Much better to do that than do the whole thing only to find it wasn’t what the client was looking for in the first place. A lot of freelancers slip up here and will spend hours upon hours on a job only to discover their efforts don’t match up with the client’s expectations, and it’s back to square one, start again and do the whole thing over.

This is definitely something you want to avoid!

However, no matter how many precautions you take with a new client, once you submit your work you endure that horrible waiting period where you’re never quite sure if the client thinks you’ve done a good job or not. You know you worked hard and turned in your best work, but is it going to be enough?

Rejection happens with freelance writing gigs – get used to it

One thing I’ve said many times before, and it bears repeating here, is that rejection does happen, it’s a fact of life when you take on freelance writing gigs and something you just have to get used to. In fact, you really do need to develop a tough skin to cope with the ups and downs you’ll face during your freelancing career.

This applies to many aspects of your work as a freelancer. For example, you might spend several hours on a proposal for a new job only to find that your application is rejected or, worse still, you hear nothing back at all from the potential client. Unfortunately, this happens, and even now it happens to me on a regular basis.

You just have to move on and accept that these things will happen. The good news is that the projects you do land can be very lucrative and a little bit of rejection never hurt anybody – what’s the worst that can happen?

Yes, but how did it all turn out?

Well, my situation turned out just fine! The client (a CEO) liked the work I’d done; in fact, he was so pleased with all three brand voices he’s finding it difficult deciding which one to choose. So, as is often the case, I shouldn’t have wasted my energy worrying at all.

The takeaway from this is that it’s normal to have nagging feelings of self-doubt and they can manifest themselves at any point during your freelancing career, but never undervalue yourself.  The trick is to manage these feelings, understand we’re all human and we all get them and try not to stress too much. Things normally workout for the best in the end.

I do understand that this is sometimes easier said than done, but in my years of freelancing, I’ve never had a situation turn out so bad that it was life-changing in any way whatsoever. If you must worry, spend your time worrying about things that are REALLY important – your loved ones, your health and your purpose in life are some good examples. A client who doesn’t appreciate your hard work is not the end of the world, and it will happen from time to time.

Remember, stay positive and push on to the next opportunity, there’s always something better just around the corner.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Godfrey

    Hey Les,

    Thank you so much for adding this section to your already superb blog. It just shows how caring and selfless you’re about those who look up to you.

    I couldn’t agree with you more on today’s thoughts.

    From my personal experience, I’ve realized that worry or doubt affects the quality of your writing if it goes unchecked. Why? It messes up with your confidence till all you can do is blankly stare down at the keyboard. Your creative juices just refuse to flow.

    Let’s face it, it’s not humanely possible to have a 100% success at everything you do. It’s not an excuse for you to be sloppy with your work but the truth is, you’ll get turned down sometimes.

    My key takeaway is this Les; only worry about things that are within your control. Give everything you do your best shot, and let things play out. PLUS, most of the things that we worry about never get to happen.

    Thanks a bunch Les for sharing this. It’s encouraging to Know that these things do happen to every other normal person out person out there.

    Again, thank you.


    1. Les Blythe

      Thanks for chipping in Godfrey.

      Worry and self-doubt will always be there, it’s a fact of life and there is not really much you can do about it. Recognizing this and managing it is the key. You’re 100% right, there’s no excuse for getting sloppy with your work, you’ll never build a successful freelancing business that lasts if you’re sloppy!

      All the best,

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