I frequently challenge freelance writers to make important changes to their businesses.
Such as raising their rates.
Or going after bigger opportunities.
Or pursuing better clients.
But sometimes writers don’t feel confident enough to make those changes. So they stay stuck.
And they wait for the confidence they need to materialize somehow.
But confidence isn’t something that just shows up out of the blue. In fact, confidence lies at the end of a series of sequential steps. And you need to follow those steps if you’re going to grow your confidence.
Here are those steps (adapted from the ideas of Dan Sullivan):
Making a firm commitment is the first step in the process of developing greater confidence.
You need to make a strong internal commitment to yourself — whether your goal is to charge higher fees, go after bigger opportunities or something else.
You need to say to yourself, “Yes, I’m going to do this thing. And I’m committed to giving it my very best!”
Give yourself something specific to aim for. Something that you can define and (perhaps) visualize.
A commitment to “improve my business” is too vague.
But a commitment to “raise my fees with all new clients” will get you headed in the right direction.
Until you make a firm promise to yourself, the whole process can’t start.
Once you’ve made your commitment, you might start to feel a bit frightened or worried.
“How am I going to reach this thing that I’ve committed to?” you may wonder.
Recognize that fear is natural. It isn’t a sign that you should stop. It’s a sign that you’re on your way toward a breakthrough.
But moving past that fear requires some courage.
Notice I said some courage. You don’t have to muster all the courage in the world (thank goodness!). You just need enough to take the first few steps.
So how do you foster that courage?
You can look to external and internal forces for support.
External forces are motivating forces that are “outside of you.”
It could be your coach. Maybe inspiring videos, books or movies will do the trick. (Personally, I love a great underdog story!)
It could be your peers or family … or anyone or anything else that can help “bolster you up” so you can cope with your fears.
The more of these external forces you have, the better. Your spouse might be able to give you a pep talk, for example. But you should also be looking for other external sources of support, such as colleagues, favorite authors or even inspiring blogs.
Internal forces are motivating forces that come from “within you.”
These can include things like your “big WHY.” Being really clear on why you want your business to succeed (e.g., more time with your family or more flexibility to do the things you love) can help you find the strength to overcome your fears and keep moving forward.
Whatever your big why, it has to go beyond “I want to make more money.” If that’s the depth of your big why, all it will take is one bad month and you’ll start debating whether to shut down your business and get a regular job.
Your feelings, such as disappointment or anger, can also help give you courage. Maybe you’re disappointed that your business hasn’t turned out the way you wanted. Or maybe you’re angry and frustrated that you’re working like crazy but still aren’t getting ahead.
If you’re thinking “This isn’t what I wanted! I’m so frustrated. This has to stop!” you can use those feelings to push through your fear.
Your finances can also provide internal motivation. When you’re struggling to pay the bills each month — and you’re feeling scared and frustrated — that too can give you courage.
When you have enough external and internal factors pushing you toward your goal, you’ll be amazed at how brave and bold you can be.
Once you’ve made the commitment and mustered the courage, the next step is to expand your capability.
And nothing grows your capability like actually doing the things that you want to do!
Prospecting more consistently can help you become more effective at drumming up business. Landing a higher-quality client will force you to get better at your craft. Going after a new type of project will push you to learn things you wouldn’t have otherwise.
This won’t happen overnight. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll have to make changes. But the more you do it, the more capable you’ll become.
When you push yourself, you learn.
Confidence is what comes at the END of the preceding three stages (commitment, courage and capability).
But unfortunately, most of us don’t understand confidence that way.
Many of us think that confidence needs to come first! So we wait for it to come before we’ll make a commitment or drum up some courage or develop our capability.
And so we bemoan our lack of confidence and conclude that’s just the way things are.
We do this instead of committing to something bold, accepting that we’re going to feel afraid about doing it and realizing that it will take time to work out the kinks.
I invite you to think of this confidence-building model every time you hesitate to make real changes to your business.
Because confidence won’t just appear. You have to first walk through the hot coals.
By the way … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.
You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here
2. Download a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.
I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster. — Click Here
3. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories). Just email me at [email protected] and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
4. Get a 1:1 strategy call with me.
Are you a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time with less stress? Let’s jump on a quick call and brainstorm some ideas for getting you there. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Brainstorm” in the subject line.