It’s not easy being a freelancer, whether you’re full-time or part-time. It takes a special kinda person who steps out of the ‘norm’ to pursue something they believe in or to do something that will make a change in their lives.

This adds a lot of pressure to your plate. Not only are you now responsible for bringing in your own money based on your own skills, you’ve gotta manage clients and projects, make sure they pay you and you also have to fit in time with your family and friends. It’s no wonder that it can feel like you’re failing miserably, or is that just me?!

Below are a number of reasons why you might be failing right now.

The key to moving past the failure is to ensure you’re learning from it. Sometimes you have to fail forward in order to get things right. So don’t think of these as failures, think of them as learning steps — just make sure you’re learning!

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Reasons You Might be Failing as a Freelancer

#1: You’re worried about what’s happening in your industry

If you focus on what’s going on in your industry, then you’ll drop the ball when it comes to being creative, no matter what you’re doing as a freelancer. If you focus too much on what’s going on in your industry, ie, who’s the best, who is losing clients and what you SHOULD be doing, then you’ll lose sight of not only what the client wants, but your creativity will plummet.

Remember why you got into doing what you’re doing and get back to focusing on your clients and your creative process. Who cares what others in your industry are moaning about?!

#2: You’ve lost sight of the fun

As a freelancer, we can tend to take ourselves a bit too seriously, particularly if we’re just new to the business. Yes you need to have your business hat on and take some things seriously, but you can’t forget to have fun too, otherwise you may as well go back to your J.O.B.

You have to be flexible and fun if you want to be creative. If you’re stressing about a deadline or making something perfect, then you can lose sight of that. Remember the fun.

#3: You’re all work and no play

Sure, you’re now doing what you love, but guess what? Others around you, ie, your friends and family, are still in the trenches. If you don’t spend time with them or have a creative outlet outside of your normal day-to-day stuff, how can you lead a balanced lifestyle?

Don’t forget about the most important relationship of all — the one you have with yourself. Make sure to find time to do things for you. Whether that’s working out, taking a ‘spa’ day (my personal fave!) or having a long weekend, do things just for you too.

By doing this, you’ll become more inspired and creative, boosting your workflow and capacity. A win:win situation.

#4: Ignoring what’s happening

Are you making mistakes but pushing forward anyway? I’ve done this before, where I’ve made a mistake but just ignored and kept moving forward, afraid that if I acknowledged it, I’d look stupid in front of the client. This ultimately leads to long explanations further down the track as to why this didn’t go right or why this didn’t happen.

Don’t ignore mistakes. Own up to them straight away and learn from them. Fix them as soon as you can. You’ll gain more respect from your clients if you can admit when you’ve done something wrong and then immediately present the solution. Burying your head in the sand never works.

#5: Are you listening?

If you want to be successful as a freelancer, you need to listen. You need to hear what clients are telling you, listen to the industry around you and consume ideas. Be open and listen.

Learn to take criticism in your stride. It’s difficult I know, when you’re a freelancer, you have a much bigger vested interest in the work you’re producing, each project is like your baby and when you get feedback from a client that they don’t like this or that, it can be hard to take. But in the end, you’re creating for the client…

Do any of these reasons ring true for you? How do you handle failures? Are you acknowledging them, owning up to them? If not, that’s ok, start now!

Share your tips on how you’re avoiding these failures above, or how you’ve dealt with them in the past.


Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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