I study successful people and I’ve noticed a few things. Many of them are talented, but some of them are average, at best. Neither do they have mind-blowing academic achievements. Some of them aren’t even good looking.
And yet, they attract hordes of loyal “fans.” They seem to beguile clients and hypnotize them into opening their wallets to pay their sky-high rates.
What sets “them” apart from struggling freelancers?
I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most important ingredients to success in freelancing–in life–is mindset.
Mindset is the way you think about yourself, others, and the world around you.
Often, we’re unaware of these thoughts. Yet they play in our minds every minute of every day and affect the decisions we make and how we behave.
Below, I’ve listed a few negative mindsets that could be standing between you and your freelancing success. What I present below are practical ways in which you may be sabotaging your own success. Read on.
“I’m Not Good Enough”
We freelancers like to put ourselves down for various reasons. We think we ought to have that degree or certification. We ought to have a long list of impressive clients, or more years of experience behind us. Whatever it is, there’s always SOMETHING that keeps us from being good enough.
This mindset is destructive, because it keeps you from trying anyway and finding what you are good at. It keeps you from stretching, and therefore reaching, beyond what you’re already capable of. Instead, you stick to projects you know you can accomplish with minimal chances of failure. While this keeps you safe, it also keeps you from growing.
Realize that you don’t have to be the best at what you do. You only have to be good, very good. And that’s something you can always work for.
“Success Is for the Lucky Ones, Not Me”
The problem with thinking like this is it tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Studies have shown we tend to act the way we believe ourselves to be. When schoolchildren were told they were special and smart, they performed better in school than their peers who had the same intelligence but didn’t receive the same “programming.”
Don’t program yourself to be a failure. When you see a successful freelancer and jealousy starts to rear its ugly head, try thinking instead, “What can I learn from this person that would make me successful too?”
“Money is the Root of All Evil”
Something got lost in translation here. The Bible, which is where most people think the quote is from, does not say this at all! What it does say is, “For the love of money is the root of all evils.” Having money does not condemn you.
Loving money can make you a greedy, selfish, shallow person. But simply having money means that money can be used for both bad or good purposes. With money, you can give other people jobs, support charities, and help your family and friends.
“I Can’t Succeed Without Giving Up What I Love”
Granted, you do have to make sacrifices to succeed. I mean, is it realistic to believe you can run a successful freelancing business while playing Angry Birds all day? But that doesn’t mean you need to give up your love life, or have your children adopted by relatives, either.
The problem arises when you’re not clear on what your values are. Obviously, value systems are personal and yours will look very different from mine. Maybe money is more important to you than family. Or maybe you only want enough money so you can go backpacking through Europe two months out of every year. As long as you’re clear on what you cherish in life, then you’ll have a compass to help you decide how to use your time, energy and talents.
“It’s Not My Fault”
Are you still blaming your parents because they didn’t pay for art school? Or that overachiever at your last corporate job who outshone you and caused you to get laid off? Or the president and whoever else is responsible for this stinkin’ economy?
Well, guess what? Those things are beyond your control, and no amount of whining or hating will get you anywhere.
Focusing on who’s to blame for your lot in life keeps you from taking charge of your life and doing what is within your control. What a waste of time and energy! Instead, you could be focusing on sharpening your skills, finding good prospects, and rocking your clients’ socks off.
If anyone has ever done you wrong, forgive and move on.
The Power of a Positive Mindset
I, for one, believe it’s impossible and downright unnatural to be positive all the time. Some situations may call for swear words, slamming doors and maybe even some foot stomping. I have my own share of bad days, getting up on the wrong side of the bed, and what seems like plain bad luck.
In general, a positive outlook, one that welcomes hope, is good for you. It gives you the confidence and courage to take risks and try new things. It infuses you with a certain energy, which other people pick up on, like a sweet perfume. They sense your enthusiasm and are attracted to you.
A positive mindset also fuels you to persist even in the face of failure or challenges. Believe you me, there will be plenty of setbacks. Some will be enough to make you want to quit. But a positive mindset will keep you from quitting when you’re on the brink of success.
Do You Have the Mindset to Succeed in Freelancing?
Successful freelancing takes more than talent, hard work, marketing savvy, and business know-how.
It also takes a certain way of thinking: an unshakable belief in yourself and your dreams.
Do you have It?
Or are you still struggling to overcome the mindset busters that are keeping you from succeeding? Tell us about your mindset challenges or success stories. We’d love to hear from you!
Image by Rosemary McKevitt