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Why Your Freelancing Success Depends on You Taking Chances and What to Do About It Today

by Laura Spencer

on June 25, 2014

in Freelancing Life

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What’s keeping you from freelancing success?

Sometimes, lack of opportunity isn’t the culprit. I’ve blogged about how freelancers sabotage themselves before.

The sabotages listed in my earlier post aren’t the only ways that freelancers hold themselves back. There’s another big problem that keeps many freelancers from succeeding. In fact, this problem is so common it deserves at least one post dedicated just to it.

That big problem is FEAR. We’re afraid to succeed. We’re afraid of failure. We’re afraid of taking chances. We’re afraid of rejection. We’re afraid of over committing. The list goes on and on.

So, we stay where we are. Not learning new things. Not taking chances. Playing it safe. Certainly not growing our freelancing business. Paralyzed by fear.

Is fear something you struggle with? If it is, this post is for you. I’ll discuss why we’re afraid and I’ll list four chances worth taking. You can start to overcome your fear of risk-taking today.

Why We’re Afraid

First of all, you need to understand that most fear is normal. Healthy fear keeps us safe. It keeps us away from dangerous situations. It helps us to be more careful when we should be careful.

A lack of fear can cause some very real problems, as described in this Time magazine article about a woman with no fear from Meredith Melnick, Where Does Fear Come From? (Hint: It’s Not the Creepy Basement). In the article, the woman often faced dangerous situations needlessly because of her lack of fear. Her lack of fear was unhealthy.

So, nearly everyone has fear–and that’s a good thing. Some people just manage their fear better than others. They are able to discern between reasonable fears (such as a fear of a stranger with a knife) and self-limiting fears (such as the fear of learning a new skill).

Important Note: This post is not medical advice. If you have an uncontrollable fear that seems to be overwhelming you, please consult a medical professional.

If you’re faced with trying something new that could benefit your freelancing business, ask yourself:

  1. What’s the worst that could happen? So, you didn’t master the new skill or that risky new client blew up at you. Those situations aren’t the end of your business. If those things happen, you can overcome them.
  2. What’s the worst that’s likely to happen? If we’re realistic about it, the worst that we can imagine usually doesn’t happen. Think about what’s likely to actually happen if you take the risk.
  3. How much time will this take? If taking a chance will consume a lot of your time, you may realize that you just don’t have time to take this risk. But many chances require a time commitment of less than an hour a day.
  4. How much does this cost? Some risks are relatively inexpensive; others require you to spend a significant amount of money. But remember, taking a chance for your business is an investment.
  5. What are the potential rewards for taking this risk? Even when the business risk is costly or time-consuming, the potential rewards may outweigh the risks. List all of the benefits and opportunities you hope to enjoy.

Often, those five questions are enough to put a business risk into proper perspective and help you to decide whether you should take it.

Chances Worth Taking

Some chances are worth taking. Your freelance business won’t grow unless you try new things. Here is a list of four freelancing risks you could take today:

  1. Apply for a more prestigious gig. Did you ever see an ad for a gig and think to yourself, “There’s no sense in applying for that, I’d never be selected?” If you’ve thought that, you’re letting your fear hold you back.
  2. Sign up for a class to improve your skills. Does that new skill sound complicated and difficult? The truth is that you’ll never know whether you can master something unless you try it.
  3. Reach out to an influencer.He or she is simply too busy to pay attention to me, there’s no sense in connecting.” Actually, influencers are people too. If you’re polite and respect their time, many will respond.
  4. Start a new marketing campaign. Is fear holding your marketing back? Are you afraid of cold calls? Maybe you hesitate to contact local businesses. Whatever you fear is, stop letting it affect your freelance marketing.

You can probably think of your own chances worth taking.

Your Turn

Have you recently taken a chance in your freelance business and succeeded? Share your story in the comments and inspire us all.

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About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.