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Yes. Every day without fail.
I’ve worked my backside off to get a good education, and carved a career that would see me realise my ultimate business goal – to own my own company. But turning freelance in 2015, and then transitioning to a limited company in June 2019, I still spend every day questioning whether I’m ‘good enough’.
Every time I approach a company that I really want to work for, I question why they’d ever want to work with me…
When I click ‘send’ on the email that sends a piece of work for review, I immediately skip a breath and await criticism…
And when a client email lands in my inbox, I hold my breath and put off opening it for as long as possible, fearing the worst.
But it’s never as bad as I think. And actually, I think that imposter syndrome can be a good thing – it drives me to continue improving and developing my skills so I can be the best copywriter I can possibly be.
The best advice I can give is to keep a little (purple!) book, and fill it with all the wonderful things in your life – from the client feedback you receive, to the lovely comments from your friends in the community and all the ‘small’ wins that make you smile every day. Then when that nasty imposter syndrome hits, simply flick through the pages and know that you are amazing, and you’ve got this.
I started my career in B2B marketing, after graduating with a degree in ‘business and marketing’. I’ve worked as a marketing manager, sat on two senior management boards, and helped set up a marketing function from scratch.
I love strategy, and it’s really not as hard as you might think.
Strategy is a logical process; if you work through the steps, the answers you find tell you what you need to do.
And with a marketing strategy, it all starts with the overall business plan. Because when you know what the business needs to do to be successful, you simply work it backwards to create the marketing plan.
To help you get started, I wrote this article, which comes complete with a simple (non-scary!) template.
I don’t believe freelancers should ever be asked to work for free.
There may be occasions where you decide the opportunity warrants doing a test piece without payment; only you will know when the opportunity feels right.
To date I have done two unpaid test pieces. The first was for an agency that was pitching for a large project and as part of the tender they had to submit a number of test pieces. I agreed to help because I loved the client and knew that it would be in both our best interests. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the tender, but the client has subsequently passed on a number of referrals.
The second was, again, for an agency. They wanted to ‘see what I could do’ and asked me to write a client’s LinkedIn profile. Impressed with the results, it led to a much larger project – what started as a one-hour investment, led to a month’s worth of work.
When I was asked to do my first test piece, I wasn’t sure what to say so I found a mentor and asked for their advice. He said if I wanted to do the test, to submit it with a disclaimer, saying that if the work was to be published, I had the right to invoice for the work. I thought it was a wonderful way to ensure you’re not being taken advantage of.
Sales is tough, particularly if you’re like me – a painfully shy introvert. But unfortunately, if you want to make freelancing a sustainable career move, you have to go out and sell yourself.
Forget the image of the slimy car sales person. In fact, don’t think about it as sales at all. Think of it as helping people – being a teacher and supporting them to do what’s best for their business.
The key to finding work as a freelancer is figuring out who you actually want to work with and approaching them with something of value.
I wrote about it more in this article, ‘Getting work as a freelance copywriter’.