Freelance Mindset – How to Navigate Through the Ups and Downs of Freelancing

A freelance mindset is a must if you want to make it in the world of freelancing. With the number of mass layoffs occurring, more and more people are joining the freelancing workforce. However, not everyone is able to become successful. So, what separates freelancers who thrive and freelancers who are striving to survive? A major factor is having a freelance mindset. If you don’t have this, then maybe freelancing is not the right path for you.

The good thing about the freelance mindset is it can definitely be learned or acquired. It’s not something people are born with. No, it is something you grow into or learn along the way.

Freelancing is not a steady corporate job where you do the same thing day in and day out. This is a rollercoaster of emotions and activities. One day you are bored out of your mind, not having any luck scoring a job. The next thing you know, you are juggling 4 clients and struggling to find a schedule for sleep.

Drawing of a mind, left side black and white, right side colorful

For some, this can be frustrating while for others, they definitely enjoy the change. Guess which people have a higher chance of becoming successful freelancers? The ones who enjoy change, of course. But, just because this frustrates you doesn’t automatically mean you can’t be successful in freelancing. Below are some tips to help you out with common issues freelancers face:

When you are just starting out

Maybe you’ve never worked a day in your life, or you have and you’re making the switch to being a freelancer. Maybe you are changing industries or expertise? No matter the reason why you are starting out, keep these in your freelance mindset:

• It’s all about learning and growth

The foundation of a freelancer should be themselves. You have to focus on developing yourself, not just in your line of industry. Aside from learning about the tasks of freelancers, you also need to work on your soft skills, this includes being able to talk to clients, marketing yourself, or simply networking.

• Don’t worry about the destination

Too often, freelancers get anxious trying to reach their goals. Of course, you should always have a goal but don’t make it the sole focus that you forget to enjoy your journey. For example, maybe your goal is to become good enough to have a rate of $100/hr. You might end up burning yourself out or losing connections along the way when this is your only focus.

Make sure that you also have a work-life balance. Meet fellow freelancers like yourself, and collaborate when you can. Also, don’t burn bridges with potential clients who didn’t work out because they might have a project better suited for you in the future.

When you’re struggling to get clients

It happens, sometimes you just can’t find the right client or the right project. Other times you don’t make the cut or the competition is really aggressive. When this happens, again you need to have a freelance mindset:

Woman wearing glasses, holding pen and open notebook

• It’s better to fail because you tried

Don’t be discouraged. Apart from learning from your unsuccessful interviews or difficult tests, you also need to understand this is part of being a freelancer. It’s part of the grind that an employee will not experience. You have to keep in mind, the real failure is that you failed to even try.

• Keep putting yourself out there, get creative

If you keep doing the same thing over and over again, and you are still not getting clients, the real freelance mindset is to actually learn from this. Do you keep sending the same proposal? Change it up. Re-check your resume and see if improvements can be made. Also, if you want to get a client, you really need to stand out—get creative, and use unique ideas for freelancing.

When you are tired or burnt out

There will also come a time in a freelancer’s journey when they just get tired. You will experience burnout at one point or another for various reasons. Maybe you took too many jobs at once, your client is high-maintenance, or there’s something going on in your personal life. When this time comes, having a freelance mindset, once again, will help you out:

Man looking tired holding eye glasses, working on a desk with a laptop, iPad, and notebook on top of it.

• You can’t be the best if you can’t rest

Even if the freelance mindset has a focus on “the grind” and perseverance, it also acknowledges that you also need to take a breather every now and then. You can’t keep grinding and expect everything will be okay despite not sleeping properly. Although work and clients are important, your own health is way more valuable.

• You don’t have to do everything

Being a freelancer, you have to be “creative” and this means creative solutions. The freelance mindset is all about doing work efficiently and effectively. This isn’t a corporate job where you have to follow the rules. Freelancers get to explore unique tools to help themselves as well as their clients.

Utilize online tools and software to make your life easier. Kosmo is a freelance software that can make things easier for you. It has excellent tools, including invoicing, contract templates, a task time tracker, and more. Working smart is an important part of the freelance mindset to become successful.

Conclusion: The Freelance Mindset

Woman sitting on floor surrounded by a laptop, books, a notebook, and magazines

The freelance mindset is not blind optimism that everything will work out. It’s also not about working hard and grinding every day. The freelance mindset is a realist that understands what it takes to become successful, to have a work-life balance, to learn from failures, and always find opportunities even behind closed doors.

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