During my time as a Creative Circle Recruiter, I met with thousands of freelancers in the creative industry who were extremely talented individuals but lacked the motivation and confidence to consistently book gigs. Then there were others who were always busy, had a consistent flow of work, and would actually turn down jobs that weren’t exciting to them. Which made me wonder: what’s the difference between these two types of people? How do some freelancers seem to have a steady stream of client work, while others are desperate to get whatever they can find?
The answer is all in your mind – literally. Your talent alone is not enough. You need a positive, empowering, and confident mindset to find gigs and consistently book out your freelance client list.
Here are five questions to reflect on to improve your mindset when it comes to freelancing:
1. What is your “why”?
Too often, the routines and responsibilities of working bog us down, and we can lose sight of the bigger picture. Why did you go into this industry to start with? Why did you want to be in the creative field? What do you hope to achieve with your creative talents in your lifetime? By scaling back and reminding ourselves of why we do what we do, we discover a refreshing sense of optimism and passion that carries over into conversations with potential clients and our work.
In my coaching business, I help women get “unstuck” in their life, whether it’s in a corporate job, freelancing business, relationship, finances, or physical health. My “why” is to empower women to take back control of their own happiness and well-being. I’ve come a long way in my own personal and spiritual development journey and I want to share that with others. My “why” is to help others recognize their limitless potential and to use it as fuel for inspiration and life-long change.
Reflect on your “why” now. Spend 15-30 minutes writing down your “why” – why you do what you do and what you hope to achieve in this lifetime. Remind yourself of your “why” before going to interviews or presenting your work, when speaking with a client for the first time, or if you’re feeling discouraged in the job application process to uplift and inspire you.
2. What are your unique strengths and abilities?
What makes you different? What skills, life and work experience, and past projects set you apart from others who are applying for similar gigs? Focus on your unique strengths and make a list of the top qualities that set you apart. What do your friends come to you for help with? What would your family or significant other say are your best qualities? What are you naturally good at? What do you genuinely enjoy doing, and how is that related to your freelance skill set? Think about these questions and how you can use these skills to your advantage.
3. Where are your money blocks?
Money is a taboo subject in our society, and yet, it’s something that we’re all driven by in some capacity. We carry around stories and fears around money that we’ve adopted from our parents, friends, the media, and society in general, and these stories can hold you back from charging what you’re worth, finding clients who actually have the budget to pay you, or attracting freelance gigs that will bring you a steady income.
For example, many of us walk around with deep-rooted beliefs that money is the source of all evil, that people who have a lot of money are selfish and greedy, or that wanting to make more money is something you should feel guilty about. Others may think that they’ll never have enough money, so they are constantly living from this “lack” mentality.
Think about what you’ve been taught to believe about money and wealth from your parents, your friends, the media, and society in general. Write down your top 10 beliefs and fears around money and reflect on how these thoughts may be blocking you. Choose to reframe these beliefs to be more positive and supportive of your career goals instead.
4. What is the best-case scenario?
Visualize your ideal scenario one year from now. Imagine you’re working with top clients, adding amazing projects to your portfolio, and making exactly the amount of money you’ve always dreamed of to live your best life. How does that version of you feel? What does that version of you do, say, or think when speaking with potential clients? What does that version of you believe about your work and your abilities to consistently book awesome projects?
Write down this best-case scenario and reflect on THAT possibility every single day. Then show up as if that is your reality NOW, embracing all the positive feelings that will come from that place of being.
5. Are you operating from a place of lack or a place of abundance?
Reflect on your mindset around lack versus abundance when it comes to your freelance work. Are you naturally a more optimistic person who trusts that money and clients are just around the corner? Or are you constantly thinking about how bad you have it and how unlucky you are? Are you excited about the possibility of new projects, challenges, and opportunities? Or are you burned out by the idea of having to sit through yet another project brief?
If you find that you’re operating from a place of lack mentality (i.e. never having enough), reframe your thoughts and beliefs to be more abundant.
Become more aware of the thoughts that go through your mind on a day-to-day basis and ask yourself: are these thoughts mostly positive or mostly negative? For example, in an average day, you might think that the weather is crummy again, the traffic is always such a pain, your boss is driving you crazy, and you can’t believe how busy you are with back-to-back projects, again. That would be the landscape of someone with a mostly negative, lack-based mentality.
You can change this mindset by focusing on the things that you can be grateful for in the present moment. In the above example, you could catch yourself in this negative thought pattern and course-correct by thinking about how grateful you are to be able to drive to work and to have a job that provides you with the finances you need to live your current lifestyle.
What we focus on expands, so choose to see the opportunities and things you can be grateful for as much as you possibly can.
When you can address your mindset in these ways, not only will your clients pick up on it, but you will feel more balanced, fulfilled, and excited about the work that you’re doing every day!
Lauren Madden is a Mindset and Wellness Coach and Yoga Teacher in Phoenix, AZ with a background in advertising and marketing. She helps women break through fears and limiting beliefs that are holding them back from living their best lives. To find out more, visit www.laurenmaddencoaching.com.