How to Develop the Fearless Freelancer Mindset: The Ultimate Guide

be a fearless freelancer

What you think—your mindset—is just as important in what happens to your freelance business in good times and in bad as what you do. Because freelancers who thrive aren’t be luckier or smarter than freelancers who struggle or fail. But we do have the fearless freelance mindset.

Having a growth mindset, grit, resilience, and other positive qualities helps you learn what you need to learn and do what you need to do to build a stable, successful freelance business. It keeps you going when you’re overwhelmed, or when things just aren’t going well.

Compared to other freelancers, those of us with the fearless freelancer mindset are:

  • More successful
  • Happier
  • Healthier
  • Less stressed.

Here at The Mighty Marketer, I’ve been helping freelancers learn how to develop the fearless freelancer mindset since 2014. In this guide, I give you a proven 9-step process so you can become a fearless freelancer too.

Let’s get started!

In This Guide

  1. Develop a growth mindset
  2. Grow your grit
  3. Build your resilience
  4. Be positive
  5. Cure imposter syndrome
  6. Boost your confidence
  7. Use your luck
  8. Treat failure as a way to learn
  9. Stop procrastinating

Develop a Growth Mindset

If you have a growth mindset, you believe that you can change your freelance future by learning new things, being persistent, and taking the right actions. You’ll be willing to work hard to reach your goals.

But if you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your future is set in stone. And you may believe that you shouldn’t have to work hard to succeed as a freelancer. Since doing better is beyond your control and you expect success to come to you without effort, you’ll give up.

Become a Fearless Freelancer 

You can build a growth mindset and become a fearless freelancer. Grit and resilience will help you do this. And you can grow your grit and build your resilience.

Learn More About the Growth Mindset and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

4 Ways to Develop the Growth Mindset that Leads to Freelance Success

Grow Your Grit

To succeed in freelancing, you don’t need to be a genius like Ironman. You don’t need to have the endurance of Captain America or the speed of Wonder Woman.

But you do need one power that all superheroes have: Grit.

Be Determined to Succeed

Also called determination or mental toughness, grit is a determination to succeed—no matter what. Research shows that people with grit:

  • Work harder to achieve goals
  • Are happier
  • Tend to be optimistic
  • Are more resilient.

Never Give Up

Remember how Charlie Brown kept trying to kick that football, even though Lucy pulled it away from him every time? Charlie Brown never gave up. He had grit. He never gave up. Neither should you!

You can grow your grit, say experts.

Learn More About Grit and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

The Superhero Power You Need to Know About: Grit.

Build Your Resilience

Navy SEALs and freelancers don’t seem to have much in common. But if setbacks and adversity make you want to hide under your desk instead of motivating you to be more successful, Navy SEALs and other people who thrive under pressure they can teach you a lot about resilience.

Resilience Helps Freelancers Overcome Adversity and Setbacks

Resilience is your ability to bounce back and keep going when you face adversity and setbacks.  Navy SEALS are resilient.

You can be resilient too—because people can learn resilience at any age.

Resilient people are rarely born that way. They develop resilience over time. Studies have shown that people can overcome adversity and become better than ever.

You can also become less resilient over time. If you consider adversity a challenge and deal with it, you’ll grow. But if you consider adversity a threat, it may become a problem that never goes away. And you’ll lose resilience.

Four Ingredients of Resilience

In the book Stronger, a stress management expert, an entrepreneur, and a Navy SEAL identify these ingredients of resilience that successful people share:

  • Active Optimism
  • Decisive Action
  • Relentless Tenacity
  • Interpersonal Support.

Learn More About Resilience and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Find out how to build your resilience through optimism, action, tenacity, and support.

Be Positive

Grit helps you be more positive. That’s important, because as freelancers, we have more than our share of challenges and disappointments.  Freelance life isn’t fair.  And it’s definitely not easy.

Positive Thinking Helps Us Succeed

When bad things happen, positive thinkers look for ways to make the best of the situation. We believe in our ability to turn challenges into opportunities. We bounce back from challenges and disappointments.

And a positive attitude is contagious. Clients want to work with freelancers who are positive and colleagues want to refer work to us. We don’t have to work as hard to build our businesses because clients and colleagues are naturally drawn to us.

Negative Thinking Zaps Your Energy

But if you whine about how unfair life is, you’ll continue to struggle to make a living. No one likes to be around—or work with—negative people. And a negative attitude always shows. Building a freelance business is much harder because a negative attitude zaps your energy. And you’re likely to give up when things don’t go your way.

Learn More About Positive Thinking and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Learn 4 ways to become more positive.

Cure Imposter Syndrome

Do you feel like a fraud, and worry that soon everyone will know that you’re not good enough? This is so common that there’s a name for it: imposter syndrome.

Many successful people, including John Steinbeck, Jodie Foster, Sheryl Sandberg, and Tom Hanks, have felt like imposters. Experts say that up to 70% of all people have faced imposter syndrome at one time or another.

Diagnosis: Imposter Syndrome

Over the years, I’ve coached hundreds of freelancers. Most of them lacked confidence in their ability to succeed in freelancing.

But when I learned about their background and experience, and talked with them, they usually already had most of they needed to succeed. And they always had more going for them than they thought they did.

Cure: A High Dose of Confidence

What the freelancers I’ve worked with needed most was the confidence to believe in themselves. They also needed to learn what to do to build a stable, successful freelance business. But that’s the easy part.

If famous people like Steinbeck, Foster, Hanks, and Sandberg have succeeded despite imposter syndrome, then so can you. There is a cure for imposter syndrome.

Learn More About Imposter Syndrome and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Discover the cure for imposter syndrome.

Boost Your Confidence

Confidence is a belief in yourself and your ability to succeed.

The seemingly unshakable confidence of successful freelancers isn’t something we’re born with. We’ve worked hard, and often long, to build that confidence. You can too.

How Confidence Helps Freelancers Succeed

Confidence helps you build trust and make a great first impression. Trust is crucial, because clients want to work with freelancers who they trust, or who someone they know trusts. Colleagues who refer freelancers to clients will choose freelancers who are confident, because they need to trust a freelancer before making a referral.

So confidence helps you attract high-paying clients.

Confidence helps you deal with stress and meet challenges head on. It helps you keep going when things aren’t going well. And sometimes, things won’t go well—because freelancing isn’t easy.

So confidence makes your life easier.

When you lack confidence, you’ll be afraid to take risks. And you’ll miss some great opportunities.

So it will be much harder—maybe impossible—to build a stable, successful freelance business.

There are many ways to boost your confidence, including one that just takes two minutes.

Learn More About Confidence and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Read about 7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence as a Freelancer

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Use Your Luck

Good luck doesn’t come from finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, or filling your office with horseshoes or four-leaf clovers. And it doesn’t happens by chance.

We all have more control over our own luck than we think we do.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, proved this. In a 10-year series of experiments called “Luck School,” he found that lucky people think and act differently than unlucky people.

What Lucky People Do

Wiseman identified four basic principles that lucky people use to “generate their own good fortune”:

  1. Creating and noticing chance opportunities
  2. Making lucky decisions by listening to their intuition
  3. Creating self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations
  4. Adopting a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

His Luck School taught unlucky people how to act more like lucky people do.

Learn More About Confidence and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Get 6 tips on increasing your luck, based on Wiseman’s principles.

Treat Failure as an Opportunity to Learn

Does failure mean you’re not smart enough or don’t have what it takes to succeed as a freelancer?  That’s what many of us believe. So why do so many famously successful people, including Seth Godin, say that you can’t succeed unless you fail first?

“The person who fails the most will win,” says Godin, an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. Along with launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, Godin’s written 18 best-selling books, and founded two companies: Squidoo and Yoyodyne (which Yahoo bought).

That’s because “in order to keep failing, you’ve got to be good enough to keep playing,” says Godin, who considers failure a skill. “If you never fail, then you haven’t done anything.”

Successful People Often Fail First

Many other famously successful people were failures before they succeeded, including J.K. Rowling.

Like Godin, Rowling believes that failure is a good thing. “Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well have not lived at all,” says Rowling. When she wrote her first Harry Potter book, which 12 publishers rejected, she was divorced, raising her daughter on her own, and unemployed.

Overcoming Freelance Failure

But failure is also part of freelancing—even for me.

While trying to build my successful freelance business, I made a lot of mistakes. And my mistakes were all related to freelance marketing, which is really embarrassing.  I’m supposed to be the expert, right? Well, I am now, but I wasn’t then.

Failure is an opportunity to try again.

Learn More About Failure and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Read about 6 ways to turn failure into freelance success. 

Stop Procrastinating

It’s easy to put off or postpone doing things that you know are important to freelance success. And the more you procrastinate, the harder it is to get started.

Marketing is probably one of things you procrastinate about. Many freelancers do this.

The rewards of marketing—new clients, more money, and a stable, successful freelance business—seem so far off. And they are, because it usually takes time to get new clients.

Consistent, Ongoing Marketing Leads to Freelance Success

If you’ve got lots of great clients and lots of freelance work from those clients, marketing may not seem important. But clients disappear—sometimes with no warning—and projects end.

Consistent, ongoing marketing is one of the keys to freelance success—because by the time marketing becomes urgent, it’s too late.

Finding Time for Marketing

Most freelancers say that finding time for marketing is a real challenge.

But that’s not the real problem. Freelancers put off marketing for many reasons, including:

  • You’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start
  • You’re afraid your marketing won’t work—or it will work too well
  • You dislike or hate marketing
  • It’s not urgent—yet!

You can overcome any or all of these obstacles and start getting the clients you deserve.

Learn More About Procrastinating and the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Learn 9 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and What Happens When You Do.

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Next Steps

fearless freelancerCongratulations on making it to the end of this guide! By now you should understand how being a fearless freelancer will make it easier for you to succeed—and that you can develop the fearless freelancer mindset.

I wrote this guide because I know that many freelancers lack confidence and other qualities of fearless freelancers.  And I hope that by now you feel inspired to change your mindset so you can achieve the freelance future you want.