How to Be a Fearless Freelancer—in Good Times and in Bad

Even when times are good freelancing can be scary. Along with being a skilled writer or editor (or whatever your freelance field is), you need to run a business.  And most freelancers never had a chance to learn how to do that. Add economic uncertainty and recessions, which are a natural and inevitable part of the business cycle, and running a freelance business becomes really scary.

The recent COVID-19 recession was the shortest recession on record—just three months from February 2020 to April 2020. But economic uncertainty in the U.S. and globally continues long after the recession ended. In a 2020 study by McKinsey, global executives predicted that it could take up to 5 years for the economy to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Some of us were freelancing during the Great Recession, from December 2007 to June 2009. This was the longest recession since the Great Depression. Before that, we had the 9/11 recession, from March to November 2001. Since the 1990s, the average recession in the U.S. has lasted 11 months.

Crush Fear

You can’t change what’s happening in the economy. But you can crush your fear—with the fearless freelancer mindset.

Freelancing in a recession is scary—especially if it’s your first recession as a freelancer.  You can’t make the recession go away. But you can crush your fear—with the fearless freelancer mindset.

Because what you think—your mindset—is as important in what happens to your freelance business as what you do.

If you sit around feeling sorry for yourself, things will only get worse. If you try to ride out bad times, your freelance business may survive. Then again, it may not—because hope isn’t a strategy.

Fearless Freelancers Will Thrive

But if you carry on, you can become a fearless freelancer—and thrive.

Freelancers who thrive in good times and in bad aren’t luckier or smarter than freelancers who struggle or fail. But they will have a growth mindset, grit, and resilience.

Change Your Freelance Future

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.

You Can 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.

Watch the video here or on The Mighty Marketer You Tube Channel.

Grow Your Grit

Also called determination, mental toughness, or tenacity, grit is having the perseverance and passion to stick with your long-term goals until you reach them. Grit is carrying on even when you make mistakes or don’t feel like you’re making progress.

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.

How successful we are is largely dependent on grit, says Angela Duckworth, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the New York Times bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

Build Your Resilience

While grit is something we always need, resilience helps us when bad things happen—like a recession. Resilience is the ability to meet adversity head-on, adapt, bounce back, and keep trying.

Most people aren’t born resilient. Instead, they build resilience over time. If you consider adversity a challenge and deal with it, you’ll become more resilient. But if you consider adversity a threat, you’ll become less resilient.

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How to Grow Your Grit and Build Your Resilience

Here are some ways to grow your grit and build your resilience.

Be Positive

A negative attitude zaps your energy. And no one likes to be around—or work with—negative people. Economic uncertainty and recessions do pass. Believe in yourself and your ability to turn the challenges you’re facing into opportunities. You have the power to make your freelance future brighter.

Take Action

Positive thinking alone isn’t enough. You need to take action. Each action you complete is a small win. And each small win builds your confidence and motivates you to keep taking action.

Create a Strong, Supportive Network

Even in good times, freelancers need a network of positive people—other freelancers, friends, and family—who will provide support. Having freelance friends is especially important. Sharing what you’re going through, and knowing that other freelancers are going through the same or similar things, will make you feel better. Other freelancers can also provide advice about what’s working for them, and sometimes referrals to clients.

Build the Marketing Habit

Good habits make it easier for you to do things that will help you reach your long-term goals. They also help you focus on what’s most important—like marketing your freelance business.

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Learn More About How to be a Fearless Freelancer

Other Fearless Freelancer posts

How to Make Marketing as Easy as Tying Your Shoes

The Easy Way to Get Bigger, Better Clients

Stand Out in a Sea of Freelancers: Your Brand

5 Secrets to Fearless Freelancing in a Recession

How to Thrive Like Kathleen Labonge—Despite the Recession

Freelance Success Stories

What Happened When Kalpana Shankar Launched her Freelance Business in a Recession

How to Thrive Like Lisa Baker—Despite the Recession

How to Thrive Like Kathleen Labonge—Despite the Recession

How Ginny Vachon Created Freelance Work for Herself During the Recession

Videos about fearless freelancing 

Watch all videos on The Mighty Marketer You Tube Channel.

Freelancing in a Recession  

Develop the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

3 Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On

Stand Out in a Sea of Freelancers

The Easy Way to Get Better Clients: Your Freelance Specialty

Is Your Freelance Specialty Strong Enough?

Make Marketing as Easy as Tying Your Shoes