Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or staring out, working a side gig or freelancing full time, there is always a fear factor.

When we think about starting something new fear comes. Once we actually start moving toward making something a reality, once we stop dreaming and we actually set goals and move forward is when fear tends to kick in.

This is especially true for anybody who has been or will become part of the great resignation for whatever reason; you’re moving from secure employment to unsure self-employment.

It doesn’t matter what you’re starting, whether you’re going to be serving clients or creating product and selling it. One thing we need to overcome is that sense of what if, what if I can’t do this? What if I don’t know how, what if I’m an absolute failure? What if nobody buys my stuff… all those what ifs.

So I want to reframe the getting started idea and talk a little bit about how to overcome that fear because, in order to do anything new, we have to go through a period of doubt.

Something that’s kind of typical about me is the fact that I don’t move forward until I have an idea what to do. If I don’t know how to do something, or I don’t have any idea I have even the first step to take, I will stay where I am. In a way this is related to fear. It’s a not knowing how things are going to turn out. It’s not knowing which step to take that are going to lead me to the greatest success.


Starting a freelance business requires a step of faith.

It’s a step of faith in your own value and abilities. It’s a step of faith toward a future that is preferred or a future that’s better than where you are right now.

Fear will get in the way. Fear will actually keep a lot of people from doing anything. I’ve worked with many freelance creatives over the years, helping them set up and plan out their marketing, set up their business and prepare to start, but they never do get started. So they spend all that time and effort and never pull the trigger on it. They never move. And they’re stuck perpetually.

We tend to think that we already know how things are going to turn out and therefore we’re not going to take the leap. I’m sure everybody’s experienced this sense in some manner. Nobody is immune or nobody is unaware of this aspect of life.

Freelancing is a risky business. Freelancing is stepping out into the unknown and feeling like you’re on your own. You’re really not alone because you’ve got people and resources, you’ve got Freelance Road Trip, but very often we don’t trust ourselves. We don’t trust our own value. We don’t trust our talent or skill or training our wisdom.

Fear is an emotional response that rises whenever we perceive a threat. It actually causes changes in our system. It has a physiological effect on us. Responses to fear range from hiding out to escaping to being paralyzed from doing anything.

Fear can come from not knowing what to do. It can be caused by opposition, and for freelancers that can be opposition from friends and family members. It can be lack of funds or other resources. Or it’s just fear of the unknown. We want to be certain before we make a move.

Fear is often defined as an acronym: False Evidence Appearing Real. What I’ve learned from the years I’ve been in business is that facing a fear actually gets rid of the fear. And that’s not just acknowledging it, but going toward it and saying, “Okay, this could happen, but I’m gonna do this anyway. Because I have a conviction in my heart and my gut, and my soul and my spirit that it’s the right thing to do.”

So fear can seem real. But most of the time you have nothing to fear.  We human beings fear things that never come to pass. And we let these imaginations rule our decisions and our actions.

If you don’t have a set of goals, if you don’t have a roadmap to follow, and haven’t seen somebody else succeed doing the thing that you want to do, you may be a lot more fearful.


Fear and Risk

Every change you make, every new thing you endeavor to do involves some risk.

Risk is basically weighing the danger that you’re stepping into versus the reward.  Often we will not do something because there’s too much risk involved, — we might lose too much. A more effective way to evaluate risk is to ask what’s at stake if you don’t make the move? What’s at stake for you, and the people who rely on you if you don’t step out and do this thing?

Fear is a good thing in a lot of ways. It keeps us from doing stupid things. It’s protective. But if it’s holding us back from what we need to do to succeed, then it’s not a benefit. 

No one starting out in freelancing knows exactly what lies ahead. And I think that’s an important thing to understand. There’s always risk in setting out on a new road. We don’t know what’s going to happen. Facing fear requires courage.

Courage Crushes Fear

When we face our fear, we develop courage. Courage is moving forward in spite of the risk. It’s taking that step even though you don’t know what’s ahead. Courage, is the first step of success. 

It takes courage to step into something new. That builds competence or capability. Capability leads to confidence. And then confidence leads to courage to take the next step because you’ve already succeeded in a previous thing or a lesser thing. There’s no reason to think you won’t succeed in the next thing or the greater thing. You’ve already had success. You will have success in the future. 

So courage allows you to see the possibility, to assess the risk, and move forward knowing what’s at stake. It allows you to look at the fear from the other side. of it saying, “Well, if I don’t take this step, if I don’t build this business, if I don’t shift gears, if I don’t seek this kind of clientele or this ideal client, what will happen?”

What are the results of inaction?

You don’t know what lies ahead. You don’t know what’s on the road. And that’s part of the adventure. You know, risk is the price of having the adventure, moving from a seemingly secure employment situation where you’re trading time for a regular paycheck to total independence has its rewards and also its risks. And you don’t know what all those risks are, but you exercise that courage in stepping out anyway. 

You can’t let fear determine your business decisions. Making any sort of decision out of fear is going to land you basically where you don’t want to be. It’s going to put you in the ditch by the side of the road. If you wait for the perfect time to start freelancing it will never come. You’ll be in the same place a year or two from now as you are where you are right now. 

I’ve talked with freelancers who were afraid that if they use contracts, they’re going to lose clientele. So they don’t use contracts. That’s a fear based business decision which does not do well for their business. Or they’re afraid of raising their prices, or they’re afraid of putting their foot down with a client has overstepped some boundaries. 

We fear loss, we fear harm. Those are risks in any business venture. I’ve come to understand that facing the fear actually going toward it, kind of like the account of David and Goliath. David didn’t wait till Goliath showed up on his doorstep. And he didn’t wait around for others to take the first step. He went and got his five stones and his slingshot and he faced the fear directly and he overcame it. He took steps of faith toward the fear and vanquished the fear and took it out. 

One of the ways that I’ve learned to get around fear is understanding that failure is not a permanent state. When we fail at something, it just means that we’ve discovered one way that something doesn’t work. Or one way not to do something. That doesn’t mean it can’t work. That doesn’t mean it won’t work. That doesn’t mean we can’t succeed.

When you were learning to walk you fell down a lot. You stood back up and kept walking. You learned to ride a bicycle by tipping over but you got back on the bicycle and you kept going and you learned in the failure, how to succeed

If we fear failure, we’re not going to enjoy the kind of success that we are destined to enjoy. Failure teaches us how not to do things . Unfortunately it’s the human condition that we’re going to fail. If we fear failing, we’re not going to step out but if we step out and fall down, then we can try another way. And we keep trying until we make it work. 

How do we push through fear? 

Good question. Because to get anything accomplished that’s what we have to do. It becomes easier to push through fear when we keep the goal in mind. We keep our eye on the prize and we press on to attain that prize that we set out there in front of us — whatever that is. 

Achieving the purpose accomplishing the goals that we’ve set, whatever that thing is that we’re going toward your reason for freelancing your reason for being your divine calling your ultimate purpose. Everything you do is a stepping stone toward that fear comes along and tries to hold you back. But fear is overcome. Fear is also a choice that we make. We’re not supposed to fear we’re supposed to fear not. When we do stay in a fearful state when we allow fear to rule our actions. It leads to inaction. Obviously, it builds a boundary or a wall around us so that we can’t move forward. So it leads to inaction. We stay stuck.

Fear is overcomable

Fear leads to anxiety, despair, and panic. There’s a physiological, psychological and a spiritual aspect of fear. It hits on all three levels. And I’m no psychologist but in my experience as a human being living life for as long as I have, fear has been proven to be overcomable. Sometimes you need help — you need professional help to work through it. But fear is not the preferred state of any human being. 

You can’t make good decisions out of fear. Some of the things we fear as freelancers our lack of experience, not knowing not knowing what to do. We fear not having enough time, enough money, enough resources. All of those are overcomable. We just need to take action, ask questions, utilize the resources we do have and develop additional resources. We keep the goal in mind so we can move through the fear, get past it, and get going. 

We step into the fear. We acknowledge it, we call it what it is. We face it and we say I’m going for it get out of my way. And the thing is that as soon as you take that first step toward it, it actually starts to crumble.

Goliath wasn’t expecting David.

You know, Goliath wasn’t expecting David. Goliath was out there taunting the army, and that army included David’s older brothers. And when David came along  his brother said, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” Well, David went and did something about it. And he did something that Goliath wasn’t expecting. He went toward the fear. He went toward the problem, and he took it out. 

So just like Goliath wasn’t expecting David, your fear is not expecting you. 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai