“Going freelance isn’t just about switching to a new way of working. It’s about taking on a new way of living, a new way of understanding your life,” says seasoned independent copywriter Tom Albrington.
Whether you’re just starting out, or whether you’ve been working independently for most of your working life, at some point (or several), you’ll most likely struggle with the insecurity that working for yourself brings. Our own Talmix community often share their experiences of dealing with insecurity and what remains consistent from their stories is that developing confidence as a self-employed, independent worker is not something that you overcome only once. It’s something you build on throughout your entire professional career. For some, it’s the challenge of knowing what to charge people, for others, it’s joining a new team – but whatever insecurity you face, there’s one thing that remains true:
You are here, and you are more than able.
With that in mind, we share 7 quick tips to building your confidence as an independent consultant and getting your focus back on track.
1. Get to the root of the problem
Although it may not feel like it, when you slowly dissect your lack of confidence, you will probably find that all of your insecurity boils down to 1 or 2 root causes. It may be that you lack information in order to make a clear decision – e.g. How much to charge, how to find new clients, how to promote yourself, or it may simply be that you haven’t taken the time to plan for the quiet days – both of which are completely fixable challenges. When you take the time to unravel your concern, you are left with a truth which is the starting block for action. When you start to take action, your confidence will naturally grow, without you even realising it.
2. Find your business muse
Perhaps your professional insecurity lies in the fact that you’ve simply lost your way. You’ve either lost your spark, or you simply feel uninspired to keep trying. Most of us, at some point in our careers, have had 1 person or individual who has in some shape or form, moulded us into the state we find ourselves in today. What you’re looking for is an example that what you dream of for yourself, is entirely possible. Finding a business muse doesn’t mean finding your business guru, but rather finding inspiration (in whatever form – a person, a business, a journal) that serves as an example of your achievable dream.
3. Get back to your network
It has been said in many of our previous articles that the strength of a successful independent consulting career is very heavily related to the strength of your personal and professional network. So, if your lack of confidence is restricting you from visualising the possible, perhaps it’s time to speak to your network again. Re-build lost relationships, build new ones, draw inspiration from people who have made changes, and succeeded. Time to quiet the voices of insecurity, and open your ears to the voices of opportunity and proven track records.
4. Become a mentor
Sometimes, the best way to overcome a blimp of insecurity is to move your focus onto something else. Remember, there will always be someone who is not as experienced as you are, and who, just like you when you started out, needed advice and guidance from someone who has been there. Build your own confidence by reminding yourself of your ability, your successes and the experience you’ve built up – by helping someone else who needs it.
5. Keep reminding yourself of your achievements so far
There’s a wonderful quote that reads, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” (thanks, Ferris Beuller). And all too often, our lives are filled with business of today, that we forget to recognise all the achievements we have built up over the year. So the next time you need a bit of a boost, why not take a moment and note down of all that you’ve accomplished so far – regardless of how small and insignificant it may feel. And if you get stuck, then ask your peers. They’ll soon remind you. Do this as a regular practice. Make it visible.
6. Ask for recommendations
In the same train of thought, there’s never a better time to build your recommendation, testimonial and case study library. Not purely as a personal promotion tactic, but rather as way to visually represent your achievements and successes throughout your entire professional career. Recommendations speak for you but there’s another huge value to obtaining them, and that is to re-affirm your ability and your value, to yourself, in order for you to keep growing, and keep giving.
7. Stop comparing yourself to others
Some may call this piece of advice the “avoidance of toxicity” – purposefully protecting yourself from negativity, unproductive comparison and valueless noise. We may not be referring to the noise from others, but rather, the noise that results in your own mind when your esteem takes on blow after blow through the struggle of always trying to keep up. It is easy to feel subordinate to those who appear to be doing much more, much better, than you are. Remember that everyone struggles with something – and while they appear to be leading the perfect professional lives, chances are, they themselves are looking for inspiration or encouragement somewhere else.
Why not join our next Live Broadcast where we’ll be discussing the challenge of managing peaks and troughs of an independent career.
About the Author
Katy is an independent marketing consultant and founded Fresh Brew Marketing out of her love for the cuppa. A seasoned marketer, Katy writes for several global publications and provides outsourced marketing services to businesses throughout the UK. She is a keen geocacher and rates running around in city centres dressed in Christmas lights as one of her most successful Social Media campaigns to date.More Content by Katy Roberts