Fear. No single emotion has greater potential to stop you from achieving your goals in life – if you choose to allow it.
Fear of failure, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of setting your prices incorrectly, fear of not being able to land clients – the potential sources of fear is as varied as the number of different types of freelancers working today.
Look, no one ever said that launching a career as a WordPress freelancer would be easy. If that’s what you were told, I don’t think you received information that was entirely accurate.
Being a freelancer is hard work.
Sometimes, it even feels impossible. There will be times when the fears inherent with freelance work and self-employment, in general, will cause you to have sleepless nights, and unproductive days. You might even find yourself reconsidering your career choice.
But you can control the severity of the impact that fear has on your life, your business, and your relationships. With practice, you can even use it to your advantage. Fear of not being able to pay your bills can be very motivating.
In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the more common fears that WordPress freelancers face. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned pro, you launched your business last week or are preparing to get started next week. Fear affects everyone, and I think you’ll find some of the ideas in this post will be capable of helping you move your business forward.
Fear Versus Anxiety
Anxiety, worry, angst and trepidation – we often lump all these emotions under the same umbrella called fear. But they can all have varying degrees and slightly different meanings. Although we’ll be referring to the emotion of fear, it should be pointed out that anxiety is closely related and could also be applied to all of the scenarios we’ll be discussing.
Fear is often considered to be a sudden, explosive response to something that is causing you immediate danger. Traveling to Pamplona to participate in the Running Of The Bulls is something that is likely to trigger a fear based response – the minute those gates open, you’ll be running for your life, right?
But launching your freelance WordPress business probably doesn’t cause that same fight or flight response. Instead, you’re faced with a feeling of anxiety that hangs over the decisions you need to make. It’s always present and it stops you from taking any real steps towards the achievement your goals.
If there is one thing worth learning about fear and anxiety when it comes to running your freelance business it’s that you have the ability to control your internal conversations. Once you learn to recognize the conversations happening inside your own head, you can change them in a way that is more likely to help you grow your business.
What we’re talking about here is your self-talk. You can choose positive self-talk or you can choose negative self-talk. Most of the time, the choice you make will dictate the overall direction of your business.
For example, you can choose to tell yourself that clients are a scarce commodity or you can tell yourself that there is an abundance of clients. Whichever one you choose, if you say it enough times, you’ll start to believe it.
Let’s take a look at some of the most specific situations or thoughts that you are up against as a WordPress Freelancer.
Are My Skills Good Enough?
At some point in time, almost everyone has to deal with the fear that their skills are not good enough. Most of the time, these fears are unfounded. Nevertheless, you worry that you’ll be discovered as a fraud or you’ll completely mess up with your first project, forever destroying your reputation.
Even the freelancers who don’t talk about this fear suffer from it at some point in time, usually is the early stages of starting a freelance business. These thoughts sometimes referred to as imposter syndrome can be overwhelming. Sometimes preventing you from ever taking the leap into freelancing.
You need to ask yourself, how realistic and how accurate are these thoughts that you’re having? The thing about your skill level is that it’s all relative. Chances are you know more about design or development than your clients does. As long as the gap between your knowledge is large enough, you have the ability to help them. Don’t forget, if you’re proactive, your level of knowledge tomorrow will be greater than it was today. Each day presents a new opportunity to improve.
I know what you’re thinking, there are hundreds of other Freelancers out there who know more than you do. That might be true, but instead of using that as an excuse to not get started, use it as a goal to work towards.
Will I Be Able to Earn an Income?
The idea of trading a stable paycheck for the uncertainty that comes with being a freelancer might be the only item on this list that is right up there with the fear that comes with The Running of The Bulls. If you have bills, rent, a mortgage or other people depending on your ability to earn an income, there is no way to sugar coat this – it can be scary.
The first thing you could do is look around at other freelancers who are working in the same space. If you’re developing plugins, put together a list of other successful plugin developers. If you’re a designer, put together a list of 5-10 freelancers who seem to have comparable skills. Learn everything you can from them by reading their blogs as well as learning who their clients are and what services they provide.
Ask yourself if whether or not anyone else in your space is earning an income. If you look around and can’t find anyone who seems to be earning a living, maybe you need to reconsider your approach. But if you find other freelancers doing what you want to do (as I know you will), you’ve got all the evidence you need.
The last thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong way to launch your freelance business. Do what’s right for you. If that means starting out part-time, there is nothing wrong with that approach. Build a small clientele, start generating some revenue and watch your confidence grow.
Am I Charging Too Much or Too Little?
The million dollar question. For whatever reason, freelancers spend a ridiculous amount of time worrying about their prices, especially when they are just starting out. Don’t make this decision more complicated than it needs to be.
There’s a common misconception that lower rates translate to more work, but that’s not usually the case. If you’re out shopping for a WordPress designer and you come across four websites:
- Website #1 charges $13/hour
- Website #2 charges $59/hour
- Website #3 charges $79/hour
- Website #4 charges $147/hour
What are the thoughts that immediately run through you mind? Chances are you think there’s something wrong with #1 – it’s far too cheap. Number four is at the other end of the scale – way too expensive. But numbers 2 and 3 seem to be in the right ballpark. Certainly not cheap but not exactly unaffordable either.
When you’re starting out, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about your rates. Set them at a level that seems fair, competitive and that will allow you to earn a healthy profit after all your expenses. They can always be changed.
The three the most important thing to remember about your rates as a freelancer are this:
- You’re not just paying yourself. You’re also responsible for paying your overhead and earning a profit.
- Over time, your rates should increase. Keeping them in line with your skills, experience, and workload.
- Don’t work for free. If you don’t respect your time, neither will your clients.
Will I Be Able to Find Enough Clients?
Many new freelancers have this underlying fear of not being able to find enough clients. Or, they fear that the day they open the doors for business, the market will shift. What appeared to be a sea of opportunity during the research phase will become a dried up riverbed.
The funny thing about clients is that the harder you look, the more you’ll find. The problem of not being able to find enough clients is usually caused by not looking hard enough. It too easy to sit back and wait for new clients to call, all the while building an argument that proves your original suspicions.
If you want clients, and you’re hungry enough, you’ll find them. And the amazing thing is that after you find a few, some of them will start to find you. Before you know it, you’ll be turning away work because you’re too busy.
How Will I Survive With All the Competition?
Competition can seem like a scary thing to a new freelancer. Anyone who works with WordPress can find literally hundreds or thousands of competitors. Visiting one of the big job boards like UpWork can literally send shivers down your spine.
How on earth are you supposed to compete with all those other professionals? It’s overwhelming to say the least. What you need to remember is that many of those freelancers who you see as competition are facing the same fears that you are reading about in this post.
Do you honestly think that all your competitors are as proactive and as hungry as you are? Probably not.
Instead of being fearful of competition, embrace it. Competition means there is a demand for your services. If you’re willing to work hard, you can probably discount 80% of your perceived competitors right out of the gate.
For the remaining 20%, realize that there is more than enough work to go around. Instead of going head-to-head against your competitors, consider reaching out to a few of them. Let them know about the kind of work you do and the services you offer.
In most situations, you’ll find that freelancers and entrepreneurs are fighting the same battle – an internal one. Most of them are more than happy to work together, collaborate and even refer business back and forth.
It’s always easy to rationalize your fears. It’s what most people do, day in and day out.
But being a freelancer, you are faced with a choice. You can tackle your fears head-on, discovering in the process, how easily they can be defeated. Or, you can give into your fears and accept defeat.
That’s part of what makes being a freelancer so great. You are in control of your own destiny.
When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Throughout the whole process, the most important thing to remember is that there are worse things in the world than making mistakes.
If you really want to turn the tables on your fear, accept that making mistakes and being fearful is just a necessary part of achieving success. Some of the people that we perceive to be most successful have actually failed more often than anyone else.
What are some of the fears that you face as a WordPress freelancer?
Have you found that many of the fears you faced in starting your business never actually came true? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Article thumbnail image by Ingka D. Jiw / shutterstock.com