The Philosophy of Freelancing

Posted: February 17th, 2009

On the internet you can find countless articles and resources on how to be successful in freelancing. Despite this, countless people will fail while others will find success, even without the advice from experienced freelancers. Whether you succeed or fail does not depend on following advice. It simply boils down to a lower denomination of preparation. That is, mentally preparing yourself to do it.

I rant into an interesting page not too long ago, the The Ten Rules For Being Human” by Cherie Carter Scott, which could arguably summarize your proper mental outlook when taking up a freelance career. Her rules apply to any aspect of life in general but it has a great significance in our careers, especially when we are working for ourselves.

Here are a few rules to dwell on:

Rule Three – There are no mistakes, only lessons.
Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much as a part of the process as the experiments that work.

Rule Four – The lesson is repeated until learned.
Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can go on to the next lesson.

Rule Five – Learning does not end.
There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

Yes, freelancing is filled with trial and error as we experiment on what does  and does not work for our business. That’s the point of freelancing, though, to learn and grow on our own terms in our career. We do this by making mistakes. Of course the bottom line is to earn a decent income but we’ll never get there without learning the lessons of our trade which doesn’t always put money in your pocket.

The lessons will humble but make you grow faster than you imagine, too. It doesn’t stop there either. Once you as a freelancer there will be other, more advanced lessons to approach. By then, you can be assured you will have an excellent  grasp on how to face them as they come.

These other two rules should also be your mental approach  as a freelancer:

Rule Eight – What you make of your life is up to you.
You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.

Here’s where all those articles and resources come into play, so use them. This also refers to your own mind here. Unlike a regular day job where most of the time someone higher makes decisions for you, you have to use those instincts of yours that you may never have had to use before. Many freelancers don’t realize they have this capacity or are too scared to use it. Failure is often the result.

Rule Nine – Your answers lie inside of you.
All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

I can’t emphasize enough how much you need to rely on your instincts and gut decisions as a freelancers, though it is very difficult to explain how. The reason is that they are acquired and come with experience and time… and making A LOT of mistakes. Again, you will make mistakes but they should be welcomed and not be seen as a roadblock to your success.

Finally, there is Rule 10: You will forget all [these rules] at birth. This is very true but its never too late to learn them all again.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

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