Since embarking on my freelance writing career in June 2016 I’ve come across several freelance writing limiting beliefs, beliefs that if held as gospel have the danger of derailing your chances of success in the world of freelance writing.
And that’s the thing with limiting beliefs; they’re nasty little ideas that constrain us in some way or the other and stifle our ability to reach our full potential. So, in this post, I want to expose these devils and show you how to overcome them.
1. You Need a Degree
Let’s be clear on one thing: I don’t advocate not take writing courses or investing in your education. Rather I’m emphasising that having a formal education is not a prerequisite for freelance writing success, and never should be.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a degree to succeed in freelance writing. Bamidele Onibalusi is a prime example of this, and highlights the issue in a post that serves as a rebuttal to an “expert” who shares her keys to writing success.
The “expert” says, “I have a BA in English, and MFA, year’s more of classes and it still took decades to make a living”. Bamidele responds by saying, “Heck, I don’t have a BA in English. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients in the past few years, and not a single one has asked for my degree. In fact, I haven’t been freelance writing for a decade — and I do just fine. This month alone (I’m writing this knowing that today’s December 6), I’ve made more than what many average freelance writers will make this quarter, and more than what many have made the whole year.”
The important thing is to focus on the right strategies and streamline your services to ensure they’re up to scratch and in demand. The entire WriteWorlwide team can vouch for this. We followed the strategy laid out by Bamidele in his “Earn Your First $1000 as a Freelance Writer Challenge” to kickstart our freelance writing careers. It had nothing to do with having a degree.
2. You Won’t Make a Living Freelance Writing
Now, this is one of the freelance writing limiting beliefs that can be very damaging. Even more damaging when an expert tells you it’s the case. Again, the “expert” I mentioned earlier says that “Most writers don’t [make a living writing].” This is false. Richard, Yassir, Ciaran, and I are all proof of that.
Hell, I checked my freelance writing income since I started doing it full time and I’m making a comfortable living. In the last month alone I’ve earned what some people take two months or more to earn. So, let’s be clear, you can make money freelance writing and you can earn well – very, very well, in fact.
3. There’s too Much Competition to Succeed
Freelance writing is highly competitive, there’s no doubt about it. But, it’s not too competitive for you to succeed. Again if you’re following the right people, and implementing the right strategies to land clients, you will succeed.
A great place to start is by building your foundation as a freelance writer and creating social proof. Use that with a killer cold-pitching strategy and who knows, you could be earning as much as $5000/month, something Jorden Roper achieved within 4 months of being fired from her job.
4. You Need to Pick a Niche to Start
Many beginner freelance writers pick a niche when they’re starting. And why not right? If you look online it’s what everyone advocates, and with good reason: you will command higher rates.
What all these people seem to forget is that it’s difficult to pick a niche when you’re entering the freelance writing game. I mean, you’re starting so you’re not even sure what you want to write about. Secondly, such specialisation seems to ignore the nature of the person.
For many, like myself, sticking to one niche is difficult. Because I’m a multipotentialite I enjoy writing about a range of topics and sticking to a niche is too limiting for me.
Such is this dreaded disease about picking a niche that you have people telling you they want to spend a few years learning about their niche before they’re comfortable writing about it for clients.
Yes, I received a comment like this on Facebook. My response was that this looks like a stalling tactic. Better to take action and get started. You learn by doing, not sitting in your chair reading resource after resource.
So, why not pick several niches when you’re starting out? Clarity is often only achieved over time. This is the approach I’ve taken. I pitched across several niches like technology, start-ups, business, entrepreneurship, personal development etc.
Over time I’ve found that writing features about people are what I enjoy doing, although I don’t see myself specialising because I don’t enjoy sticking to one topic. It bores me.
5. You Don’t Have Enough Time To Build Your Freelance Writing Career
People come up with a wide array of excuses to justify why they can’t succeed in the world of freelance writing. One of the biggest is the limiting belief that “I don’t have enough time”. From excuses that they have a day job to excuses that they have a family to take care of. The truth is that many people have succeeded despite having a day job and a family.
Hell, I can name a few. Richard of WriteWorldwide has a full-time day job, whilst also writing for a living and being the co-founder of WriteWorldwide. There are also many freelance writers juggling parenthood.
Elna Cain is someone who does this, dedicating 1-2 hours each night to growing her freelance writing business after putting her twins to sleep. If she can do it, so can you. It’s all about time management.
Overcoming these Freelance Writing Limiting Beliefs
So, we’ve listed five limiting beliefs. The question now is: How do you overcome these beliefs?
Stop Identifying With These Beliefs
The problem with most limiting beliefs, whether they relate to freelance writing or not, is that we are so accustomed to identifying with them. They’re ingrained in us and a part of who we are.
As a result, we often don’t even recognise we have a limiting belief, letting them define how we act and live our life. The key is to stop identifying with them, a process which may take some time, but it’s more than possible and starts with questioning your beliefs.
Start Questioning Your Beliefs
Every time you believe something to be true, question it. For example:
- Do I need a degree to succeed in freelance writing? Aren’t there many who have succeeded despite not having a degree?
- Will I not make a living freelance writing? Have I even tried?
- Is there too much competition for me to succeed? Or am I using that as an excuse?
- Do I need to pick a niche to start my writing career? Can I not choose my niche over time?
- Do I really not have enough time to build my freelance writing career?
You can apply the same line of thinking to anything you believe to be true. Next time you think something isn’t possible, question it. Often that which you believe to be true isn’t. Then, once you’ve done that, start testing your assumptions.
Test Your Assumptions
Now you must take some form of action. It doesn’t help to only question your assumptions.
- Take action despite not having a degree. Consume resources. Refine your craft. Follow people, Follow strategies. Take action.
- Start pitching for jobs to see if making a living from freelance writing is possible (I guarantee you it is).
- Differentiate yourself from the competition by building your foundation and social proof.
- Select several niches to start, don’t worry about focusing on one.
- Dedicate time each day to build your freelance writing business despite having children or a full-time job.
You’ll find that you don’t need a degree to succeed. You can make a living writing. You don’t need to pick a niche. You can succeed amongst the competition and you do have enough time to build your freelance writing career.
Use the same techniques to test more and more freelance writing limiting beliefs. Over time you’ll find that they were exactly that – limiting beliefs. As you break through one belief after the other you’ll become unstoppable in the world of freelance writing.
Are there limiting beliefs holding you back? Let us know in the comments.