Are you struggling with imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome is common among freelancers and it can create big problems in your business. This fear of not being good enough will hinder your ability to market your business confidently and land new clients.
The good news is that if you can overcome this feeling, you can focus on what’s important in your business and grow quickly. In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to beat imposter syndrome as a freelancer.
What is imposter syndrome?
Before we talk about how to beat imposter syndrome, let’s break down exactly what imposter syndrome is. Here’s the definition of this phrase:
The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.
Sound familiar? That’s the thing about imposter syndrome – almost everyone feels it.
According to a research paper published in the Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of people in the U.S. have felt imposter syndrome. In an era where life is moving at the speed of light and everyone posts their highlight reels on social media, imposter syndrome is a growing issue. However, if you want to make it as a freelancer, you have to learn how to squash these thoughts when they come up.
Want to find out how to ditch this feeling? Here are some ways that freelancers can beat imposter syndrome.
Separate your thoughts from reality
If you’re dealing with imposter syndrome the first thing you should do is separate your thoughts from reality. All of us get self-conscious, but we don’t always have a reason to be. Most of the time, when we feel imposter syndrome, we’re being too hard on ourselves.
Have you gotten feedback that says you’re actually bad at what you do? Or do you just feel like you’re not as good as everyone else? Think about this when you’re feeling imposter syndrome. Sometimes what we think about ourselves is very different from the reality of what’s going on.
Get out of your PJs
All of us have heard two cliches about the freelance lifestyle. Some people envision bringing their laptop to the beach and sipping on a tropical cocktail while they work. Others imagine lounging on the couch in their PJs well they get work done.
I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never taken my laptop to the beach but I have worked in my PJs on occasion.
The problem is if you’re already feeling like an imposter, working in your PJs is not going to help. If you wouldn’t go out in public in what you’re wearing, don’t wear it if you’re working from home. Dressing up and actually putting some effort into your appearance can help you feel like a professional.
Connect with other freelancers
Freelancing can be a lonely gig. We usually don’t have co-workers or anyone to connect with during the day. However, if you talk to other freelancers about imposter syndrome, almost every single one of them will tell you that they’ve felt the same way.
This happens to all of us. While freelancing and remote work is a growing trend, many of us still view successful people as educated individuals who have climbed the corporate ladder. We may feel inadequate and think we’re not as valuable because we’re not in the office or we don’t have a degree.
Once you know that many other successful freelancers have or still do feel this way, you’ll realize how common this issue is.
You can connect with other freelancers by joining groups on social media or checking out the Freelancer’s Union. You can also connect with me on Twitter, right here. I post bite-size business content there.
Take a course
If you don’t feel like your skills are up to par with your peers or good enough to work with a client, there are many resources that you can take advantage of. Pick one skill that you want to know more about or get better at and take a course.
From YouTube to SkillShare to college classes and beyond, you can choose whatever type of course feels right for you. I found that it’s especially helpful to take a course from someone that you respect who already does what you want to do.
For example, I LOVE the Freelance Writers Den as a resource for writers. There are TONS of courses to help you become a better writer, market your business and get gigs and it only costs $25 per month.
Don’t know it all
To beat imposter syndrome, you have to end the quest to know it all. No one knows everything. It’s impossible to. If you’re obsessed with having an answer to every question and never asking for help you are always going to feel like an imposter.
Know that it’s okay and usually expected for you to ask questions. The people who act like they know it all are really the ones who don’t know anything.
Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that will happen?
Imposter syndrome gets in the way of the success that you can have. If you send a pitch and it doesn’t land well, what will happen? If you submit that project to a client and they don’t like it, what will happen?
In most cases, if you get a negative response, it’s not a big deal. It might sting for a minute. You might feel that imposter syndrome creep up even more but you’re not going to die.
One instance of bad feedback isn’t going to end your entire business. Multiple cases of bad feedback wouldn’t even end your entire business. Everybody makes mistakes and it won’t be the end of your career or your life if you make a few along the way.
Give yourself a break
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by imposter syndrome and nothing you do seems to help, it’s time to take a step back. Freelancing isn’t easy. However, it can be easy to put your head down, learn as much as you can and work too much. The result? You end up feeling like you’re spinning your wheels and getting nowhere fast. If that sounds like you, take a break.
Imposter syndrome often leads freelancers to overwork to try and prove themselves. Unfortunately, doing this can cause you to face burnout and make your entire situation worse. Learn to listen to yourself, rest and re-evaluate your goals.
Embracing imposter syndrome
I’m not a psychologist, but I’m willing to bet that most people never truly escape imposter syndrome. There are things that you can do to beat imposter syndrome and be successful in business. However, every once in a while you’re likely to find yourself feeling this way again.
Understand that this is not a bad thing. The simple fact that you worry about being an impostor probably means that you aren’t one. When you have this concern, you have a constant hunger to keep learning, growing and improving at your craft. That’s exactly the type of person that clients actually want to work with.
What are your thoughts about imposter syndrome? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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