Why confidence in freelancing is so important

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We all kind of know this implicitly, but in the storm of everyday life, we can forget that so many of our problems with what we’re doing stem from a lack of confidence.

Now, there are those who believe that women’s issues aren’t important. That in a global context of poverty, environmental damage, war, and Donald Trump, feminism should just shut up and go home.

But in my everyday life, feminism has been my motivating force. One day in university, I was reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, and it was like a lightbulb came on in my head.

I was only to recognise its significance years later, but I realised that it was significantly better to be a man in this world.

Being a woman, well, sucked.

And that could have been the end of the story. Oh well, that’s nice, move on, get a job, get married and so forth.

Except that it’s so hard to succeed in the world when every major media message, every film, every book, tells women that they are only good enough to serve men – all the while looking very pretty. You’d better not be too fat, or too loud, or too assertive, because society will crush you.

So when I thought that I wanted to be a freelancer, almost as soon as it occurred to me, I dismissed the thought as ridiculous. That was for other people. Happiness was for other people.

I was only good enough to take the path that society had handed to me – which, given my background and upbringing, was still a damn good one.

But I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to forge her own path. I get a twisted delight from taking the road that no one has gone down before, and while there are plenty of other freelancers out there, there are none quite like me.

No one else is running my freelance writing business, or working with my clients, or building my brand. And I am so grateful for that.

Yet although I am doing exactly what I want to do, confidence is my biggest struggle. It’s not the lack of money that comes with just starting out in a new business, or lack of clients, or uncertainty – it’s that pervasive belief that I am not good enough and never will be.

If you’ve never experienced that feeling, you will dismiss feminists as irrelevant harpies that are just trying to grab a bigger slice of the societal pie for themselves. The true meaning of feminism is actually just equality. It means giving everyone the equal chance to fulfill their potential.

If it hadn’t been for all those women, living and dead, around the world who promoted the message that other women can – and should – be successful, I probably wouldn’t have even had the guts to try.

So now it’s a daily struggle with confidence, or lack of it. Building confidence takes time, and it’s incredibly hard.

But there are some things you can do:

  1. Challenge unhelpful beliefs like “I’m not good enough!” which run on autopilot in the background of your mind
  2. Get outside your head and go to events in your industry. Make it real. Talk to people who will reinforce that you’re doing good things.
  3. Don’t compare. We’ve heard it all before, but comparison really is the death of joy.
  4. Remember, you’ve had the courage to try, which barely anyone else has. Even if you fail miserably, you still win.
  5. Focus on the positives. Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished in your life. Or, if that’s too hard, just pick three things.
  6. Spend time with people who make you feel good. There are some special people who, after you spend time with them, make you feel about a foot taller.
  7. Remember, the universe works in mysterious ways. You no more know that you’re going to fail than you’re going to succeed. Don’t assume nothing is happening because you don’t see the evidence for it right now.
  8. Put in the work and you will see the results pay off. Half of confidence is simply preparation, and it’s not enough to sit around and hope. Do your research, put in the time, and you will have every reason to feel confident.

Feel free to get in touch with me at catherine@awaywithwords.co if you have any questions about freelancing. Or, you can check out my professional freelancing website

CatherineCatherine Heath is a freelance blogger and copywriter for B2B SaaS companies. She’s obsessed with the field of personality systems theory, and she also likes drawing, yoga, meditation and being in nature. 

Image: Unsplash.com

Why travelling to Berlin and freelancing was a terrible idea

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The view of Alexanderplatz from a bridge
  • I wanted to learn German but I was so overwhelmed with setting up my freelance business that I couldn’t really take in anymore information.
  • Travelling to and living in a new place increases your cognitive load. Along with quitting my job and starting a new business, I really felt the strain.
  • When you travel, you probably need to be in a mindset of freedom and abandonment. Even though I quit my job to be more ‘free’, I’ve actually found my lack of rigorous self-discipline when I don’t have any external demands to be a hindrance.
  • I’ve learnt the hard way that freedom is simply a state of mind. We need to recognise that everything in our lives is the result of our own choices, and even being a freelancer doesn’t necessarily mean you will feel free.
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A captivating billboard in Kreuzberg
  • Dreams are always better as dreams – actual reality can never live up to the fantasy. Even though you can post endless exciting photos on Instagram, there is still the drudgery and mild panic of everyday life.
  • Despite this knowledge, it’s always worth pursuing your dreams because you only get one life. I wouldn’t want to live my whole life not knowing what it was like to pursue my dream.
  • I’m not saying that I regret becoming a freelancer, but it is truly difficult. The difficulty is mainly internal, struggling with a constant fear and lack of self belief. It’s so hard to keep that fire stoked.
  • I’ve realised that I’m 27 and I have no excuse to keep putting things off. I’ve learned that many things I’m supposed to enjoy are actually unpleasant, such as travelling the world.
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We went to Westkreuz and there were many beautiful lakes
  • And yet, I still keep going abroad. What I get out of this experience is widening my perspective of history and different cultures, but I prefer being a passive observer rather than an active participant.
  • Sometimes doing something crazy is rewarding because it inspires other people to tell you their crazy dreams – which aren’t really so crazy. I feel a lot closer to my friends and family, and I actually know what their aspirations are now.
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I got a visit! Here we are in Potsdamerplatz
  • Freelancing is something you need to do with a stable base so you can develop the routines and processes necessary to make your business a success. You can find stability in chaos, from a mixture of going to the library, buying your favourite coffee from the hipster café and continually staring at your bank account in panic.
  • I wouldn’t say I have any proper regrets but in the middle of my trip, I got this vomiting virus and couldn’t eat for three days. You feel pretty lonely being ill in a foreign country and it puts things in perspective.
  • Even after all these complaints and dissatisfactions, I’m still going to do it again in a few months. I’m hoping Budapest in February will be a more suitable destination for me.

I hope you enjoyed this second post about my travels in Berlin. You can also read the first one if you missed it. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about freelancing. 

Worst digital nomad ever: travels in Berlin

A digital nomad is a remote worker who doesn’t live at a fixed residence. They normally travel around the globe to various cool locations such as Thailand and South America to soak up local culture and meet other nomads.

I’ve come to Kreuzberg, Berlin, which is quite a popular digital nomad destination.

Indeed, I’ve already met almost all the possible stereotypes – a digital nomad, startup founder and a jewellery designer.

The scene is very cool and I definitely don’t fit in!

As a result, I’ve come up with quite a few reasons why I’m possibly the worst digital nomad ever.

  1. I don’t really like being away from home. I find it stressful rather than exciting.
  2. I don’t particularly like meeting new people. I mean, they’re ok. But I like the people I already know.
  3. Learning how to navigate is stressful. I’m not very good at crossing the road or catching the bus at the best of times. Throw in a foreign environment and language, and I’m surprised I’m still alive.
  4. I don’t like eating many types of food. I’m pretty fussy and I want to know exactly what’s in my food before I touch it.
  5. I don’t actually like cities. In fact, my next location is going to be a village at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales, and I’m really looking forward to it.
  6. I’m awful at languages, with many aborted attempts to learn a second tongue. I can say a few basic words in Cantonese, German and French, and that’s it.
  7. I think calling yourself a digital nomad is lame. It puts the focus on the wrong parts of the experience, as you’re not actually nomadic in terms of the digital technology, since it is by its very nature, global. A nomad is simply a nomad.

However, Berlin really is a great city and I’m staying in Kreuzberg, which is where all the hipsters live.

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Image: The yellow S-Bahn on in Kreuzberg

I’ve seen everything from a raver peeing in daylight to people performing in front of oncoming traffic, amazingly beautiful billboards and someone buying me a meal at a kebab shop.

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Image: here’s the billboard – no idea what it’s advertising but it looks lovely. 

I’ve met someone from Airbnb, eaten tons of mustard and drunk incredibly aromatic coffee.

 

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Image: where I get my coffee on Eisenbahnstraße, staffed by pleasant hipsters

In all honesty, I’ve spent most of my time so far at the public library working on my freelance writing. It has awesome internet, especially compared to the Manchester public library (sorry, Manchester).

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Image: the Kreuzberg public library

The truth is, I’m not that much of a party person these days. I have to work really hard to make sure my freelance writing career is successful. It’s not the easy ride I thought it would be.

On the other hand, I’ve still had the chance to compare two different brands of vodka, one from the fancy, trendy market where I live and the other from budget supermarket Morma.

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Image: these two bottles of vodka were the same price! 

This is the first instalment of the thrilling tales of my travels. More to come!

Find it how I quit my job to become a full-time freelance writer, or check out my professional women in tech blog