Written By: Katie Caples
As a Freelancer, Your Sense of Self Is Everything
Are you one of the 57 million Americans who freelanced in 2019?
If so, you represent 35% of the workforce in the United States, according to Upwork.
There’s a whole lot of us out there.
And if you’re feeling tired or uninspired, or dare I say, stuck…
You’re not alone.
We’re all feeling it. Now, more than ever.
So let’s collectively pause and check our inner narratives.
Let’s take a moment to think about our identities.
As a person, a human being. And as a freelancer.
Grab a pen and piece of paper. You’ll want to capture your thoughts as we take a closer look at the stories you are telling yourself.
“Identity encompasses the memories, experiences, relationships, and values that create one’s sense of self. ” [Psychology Today]
I’m guessing the path that led you here was not straight. Or smooth.
And it sure as shit didn’t come with an old-school road map.
Your mom digging for it in the glove box as your dad insists he isn’t lost.
It was a chore to unfold the dang thing.
And interpreting it while negotiating with littles whining in the backseat?
If you’re like me, you’ve taken the road less traveled. You’ve stalled out a few times. Heck, you’ve even sat on the side of the road for longer than you’d like to admit.
And that’s okay.
If you’re ready to stand back up and try again, keep reading.
“There are people less qualified than you doing what you want to do. Simply because they decided to believe in themselves. Period.”
– Sarah Turner
It’s time to believe in yourself. To work on your sense of self.
And to freaking own it.
To help, here are four steps to check your narrative:
1. Recognize Your Potential & Refine Your Sense of Self
What is the fastest way to become a successful copywriter?
Recognize your potential.
“The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.”
– Joseph Campbell
Your sense of self is what you ascribe it to be, too.
Personally and professionally.
It’s for you to determine.
In spite of your childhood. And in spite of the pandemic, the economy, and the political environment.
You determine your sense of self.
So pipe down, Patricia (insert the name of the most critical person you know, the one you hear in the back of your head that makes you second guess yourself).
“Personality traits, abilities, likes and dislikes, your belief system or moral code, and the things that motivate you — these all contribute to self-image or your unique identity as a person.” [Healthline]
PROMPT: Take a moment and jot down the characteristics that define you. Write down 5 things you like — about yourself, about your life. And 3 things you don’t like. Capture what you believe to be true in your core. And circle, boldly, 3 positive, aspirational words that describe your best future self.
No seriously, write it down.
A study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.
Write your thoughts down.
And build time in your schedule each day to work on your sense of self. Listen to a podcast. Read a blog. Journal. For at least 15 minutes. Every. Day.
Curate your thoughts and the things you consume.
“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.”
– Marie Forleo
By doing so, you will foster your sense of self.
Remember, you are a successful freelance copywriter. Period.
Need more encouragement? Read 4 Things That Will Boost Your Confidence as an Entrepreneur.
2. Stamina & Calibration
Are you building stamina as a freelancer and calibrating your business?
“I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.”
– Charles Horton Cooley
How do you become a better copywriter?
Literally, pick your mode: stamina building or calibration.
Hint: one is not better than the other.
Stamina building is “go mode” – it’s when you roll up your sleeves and put in the work.
It’s when you sharpen your skills by actually doing the thing. It’s the one we are most familiar with, as entrepreneurs.
Stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. [Oxford English dictionary]
Put another way, it’s forward progress, even when it doesn’t always feel as though you are going anywhere.
“I just think of that word, stamina. And I don’t say it lightly. It’s when you dig in. When you decide you are going to succeed, and you don’t stop until you have succeeded.”
– Wendy Bixby
Calibration is “reflection mode” – it’s when you pause and finetune your efforts.
Calibration means to adjust, to take external factors into account, or to allow comparison with other data. [Oxford English dictionary]
This is after you put in the work, and you’ve grown your stamina. It’s time to reflect and to adjust. To recalibrate. And then get back into a stamina building mode.
It’s important to note that as freelancers, we switch between these two modes. Sometimes daily. Both are necessary. And both are okay.
But for some, it takes years to be comfortable with calibration mode. If you are an Enneagram 3, an achiever, then you know what I’m talking about.
For more on Enneagrams, check out : How to Leverage Your Enneagram Type for Success.
This is your evolution as a freelancer. It’s time to make a decision.
PROMPT: Which mode you are in right now? Why?
Your path, your success journey.
3. Invest in Yourself & Find Your Community
You want to fast-track your success?
My advice? Consider investing in yourself.
Develop or further develop a skill, a passion.
Spend time with a mentor that will elevate your career.
Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.
– Amy Poehler
In my 20 years in business, mentors have been coaches, colleagues, board members, and thought leaders.
I’ve had the privilege of learning from some of the best.
And yet some of them have never met me, and don’t even know I exist. All thanks to podcasts, books, and amazing online courses.
An example, Sarah Turner. After pivoting my freelance business from event services to copy creation, I found her as an amazing mentor and coach.
Her course and community, Write Your Way To Freedom, has given me life. And wisdom. And a whole lot of encouragement.
I found my people.
How do you become a successful copywriter?
Find your tribe.
An easy way to start is to go back to the three aspirational words you identified. Ya know, the ones that describe your best future self. And find a community that reflects those same values.
Start with free content, to see if you vibe. Maybe they have a mini-course, a podcast, or video series.
Pro Tip: Look for an email list to hop on. It’s often the best way to get to know a potential mentor – their style, tone, attitude. It’s free and super easy to unsubscribe if it doesn’t serve you.
Start small. Invest in yourself. And grow your community.
PROMPT: What do you want to learn this year? What skill or habit will lead to growth? Why?
Did you know that the vast majority of freelancers are “Slash Workers,” or independent workers whose services or skills vary by client and project? A recent And.Co survey revealed most freelancers interviewed (61%) specialize across two to three talents.
With the right community, the right mentor, you’ll discover new ways of doing business, of making more money per client, and of adding services or skills to serve your absolute favorite clients. All while keeping your bottomline (and energy levels!) in mind.
Conclusion? Tell them what to think about that…
4. Choose the Story You Are Telling Yourself
Now that you refined your sense of self.
And realized the importance of both building stamina and calibrating your business.
Now that you know what you want to intentionally learn and who you want to surround yourself with…
It’s time to choose your story.
We make up stories, and the stories we make up are self-protective in nature.
– Brené Brown
Our brains think it’s safer to play small. So they make up stories convincing us to limit our potential. But we have a choice to stop making up limiting stories, and to start thinking bigger.
PROMPT: How do you feel about yourself as a professional, an entrepreneur, right now?
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”
– MaryAnne Radmacher
Give your best effort.
Learn. Stretch. Grow.
Log the hours.
And try again tomorrow.
It’s not about getting it right 100% of the time. It’s about believing in yourself, and trusting yourself to figure out the next step. And then the next step.
“Be responsible for the energy you are projecting into the world.”
– Brendon Burchard
Sending love and encouragement.
Want to keep the conversation going? To learn more about the industry, its history and future projections? Check out Why the Future of Copywriting Is Bright.
P-S- If you are a freelancer wanting to elevate your copywriting career or learn a new skill set to breathe life into your business, check out Write Your Way To Freedom. It may just be your community, too. It’s jam-packed with wisdom you will wish you had known when you started your journey, along with the latest trends and money-generating advice from proven experts.
This is a guest post blog written by Katie Caples, author, coach, and Write Your Way to Freedom alum. Katie writes for female thought leaders and heart-centered course creators. For a free business planner and to hop on her mailing list, check out All Things Business.