Handling the Psychological Challenges of Online Freelancing
"Baseball is 90% mental; the other half is physical."
-- Yogi Berra
Berra’s famous quip is a bit of a poke directed at those who repeat the old maxim that sports is “90% mental and 10% physical”. I don’t know about 90%—I could never be a Cy Young Award winner or an MVP slugger, no matter how well-disciplined I was mentally! Yet if we set aside the actual numbers, there’s real truth underlying the saying: the success of an athlete depends on both his mind and his body. And this generalizes beyond sports: really, success at nearly anything depends not just on your skills and abilities, but on your attitude, your personality, and how you conduct yourself.
And so it is with freelancing. To get ahead, you need not just to have marketable skills and a willingness to work hard: you must have the right mental state. You must be able to deal with challenges such as having a rotating set of new “bosses” whenever you get new clients; starting over in a new career; dealing with rejection; and handling the uncertainty associated with freelancing. You have to not only do your work but also run a business, and maintain a positive attitude despite disappointments. You must learn not to doom yourself to failure with emotional decision-making, and balance respect for your clients with respect for yourself.
In this section I will discuss all of these issues and more, to help you understand the psychological issues that are associated with this style of work. There’s quite a bit here, and please understand that I am not trying to scare you away from freelancing; I just want you to have a good idea of what to expect before you decide on an online freelancing career. It’s a great way of life for some people, but if you read through this section and start to cringe, that may be a sign that you’re not one of them. On the other hand, if you view everything here as a challenge that you’re eager to tackle, then you can feel all the more confident that you have a bright future ahead of you as a net freelancer.
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Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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