Overcoming Fears in Pursuing Your Dream Freelancing Career

September 9, 2021
by Bong Isleta 
Batch 2017 Graduate of the VA Bootcamp and has been working as General Admin Assistant, Project Manager and HR Recruiter since then.

Do you want to be a successful freelancer? 

Do you dream of working from home, earning 5 to 6 digits income per month, while you spend quality time with your family?

Then, what’s holding you back from pursuing it?

What’s stopping you from following your dream?

I understand that there is uncertainty in freelancing, but you’ll never reap the rewards if you don’t even try to begin the journey.

Admit it or not, there are fears that are holding you back.

It is very common and normal to experience fear amidst uncertainty. This is especially true when you want to begin a new career that’s far different from the familiar corporate setting. Or if you simply have no idea what freelancing is, you feel confused as to where to start.

And no matter how much you try to tell yourself that things will turn out just fine, and that you are good enough to be a freelancer, you still have hesitations. At the back of your mind, you have doubts and discouraging thoughts telling you that you will just fail.

However, in order to allow your freelancing career to kickstart, you’ll need to overcome these common fears that you, as newbie freelancers, may have.

  • I don’t know where and how to start.
  • I’m not good at English.
  • What if I fail the interview?
  • What if clients don’t like my work?
  • I don’t have enough experience. And,
  • What if no one hires me?

Why am I telling you this?

I have struggled with fears and lack of self-confidence when I started freelancing in 2016. There have been times when I was just SCARED. 

I’ve always been afraid that I won’t be able to answer interview questions well because I am not confident in speaking English. I dreaded interviews because I often think that I won’t get hired anyway. I’ve always felt that I’m not ready and that I still need to learn new skills.

But I know that sooner or later I have to face my fears and just take the leap in freelancing. Because if I really want to just stay at home and earn more than what I was earning in our family business, then I have to face my fear of failure head on.

I had to make a firm decision not to let my fears stop me from reaching my goals of being a successful freelancer. If others can do it, I believe that I can too.

I must admit it was not easy. It took me months to gain enough confidence before accepting interviews. Then I had to face another fear -- rejection.

I have experienced a ton of failed interviews and rejections. It was demotivating. I kept questioning my skills and abilities all the time.

But my dreams were bigger than my fears and I have no plans of stopping. 

Yes, my patience was tested time and again. My emotions placed me on the verge of quitting. But I remained determined knowing that I am capable of getting that one client who will believe in my skills and the value I can offer.

After months of struggling to find a client, I have successfully landed one, and then another, and another.

I believe anybody can be a successful freelancer too. 

To those who are facing the same struggles that I’ve been through, let me share with you some helpful tips that personally encouraged me to overcome my fears:

1. Boost Your Confidence

I understand that building confidence is very difficult. But you just have to start by knowing your worth. You should believe that you have the skills that will benefit any client. 

You should also know that you still have room to grow and learn, but that doesn’t mean you're incapable of providing assistance to prospective clients now.

2. Remember why you started

Whenever you’re faced with distractions and rejections, left and right, you just have to stop and look back on your goals, your biggest “WHY.”

Why are you pursuing freelancing in the first place, and who would benefit if you become successful in this field?

3. Your Mindset Matters

Our mind (and sometimes the people around us) can often make us doubt ourselves and our skills. But if you have the right mindset, you will be able to slowly build your reputation, and all the hard work will eventually pay off.

You always need to look for the positive side of things. Remember that rejections does not mean the end, it may just be a redirection to something better.

4. Find A Community

Another great way to overcome fears is to have a supportive community to back you up.

Be with like-minded people who can help encourage and support you throughout your freelancing journey. 

Find a Facebook group like the Freelancers In The Philippines by Jason Dulay that offers a genuine support system. There you will find all the information you’ll need not just to start a freelancing career but to bring it to the next level, like developing special skills so you can charge higher rates.

5. Take The Leap

In freelancing, you just have to take the first step in applying for jobs. Even if you don’t think you can do all the tasks listed, and you’re not familiar with all the apps and tools, go ahead and apply. You’ll never know if you are fit for the job unless you try. So just go for it. And if you get hired, learn to do the tasks and the tools as you go along.

6. Take Action

Transform your fear into action. Freelancing can be overwhelming especially when you’re faced with so much different information. I suggest to just start taking the first step of creating your online profile, then start crafting cover letters or proposals.

7. Find Your Niche

It is always safe to start with what you know. Your work background can help you determine what particular jobs to apply for.

Finding your niche will somehow give you enough confidence as you narrow your search to online job postings that you’re familiar with.

8. Build Your Credibility

Building your credibility is very important in freelancing. If you want to be successful in a particular niche, you have to start taking certifications and creating a portfolio. 

Make sure everything is aligned   with all the skills, tools and samples that you present.

9. Manage Expectations

There’s no easy start to freelancing. You’ll encounter tons of rejections or even unanswered proposals. In order to still be motivated to pursue it, you just have to set expectations early on. 

When applying for jobs, make sure you send the client your best work samples and clarify what they are looking for.

In doing tasks for the clients, you may want to follow up if they have any feedback for you. If they have any constructive criticism, make sure you don’t take it the wrong way, and apply their advice in a positive way.

Also keep your communication lines open. This will help in building a good client relationship.

Final Thoughts

If you want to enjoy earning 5 to 6 digits monthly income and be a successful freelancer, you should know how to handle the fears that may be holding you back.

And if you’re determined to pursue freelancing, you just have to remember that you don’t have to be an expert to have value. It’s more important to find a level of confidence in your skills and abilities. That will bring you closer to becoming a successful freelancer.

Freelancing can be such a rewarding career and there will always be, not just fears, but distractions and rejections as well. However, with consistency, coupled with perseverance, achieving your dreams of becoming a successful freelancer can easily be achieved.

Always remember, YOU are valuable. So learn to STOP limiting yourself and doubting your skills.

Say NO to your fears and say YES to your dreams. 

For further discussion on this topic, you may want to check out my recent webinar entitled "Fears that are Holding You Back from Freelancing (And How to Overcome Them)." You may register here to access the recording.

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by Bong Isleta 
Batch 2017 Graduate of the VA Bootcamp and has been working as General Admin Assistant, Project Manager and HR Recruiter since then.

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