I often hear people comment that they are not motivated enough to work for themselves.
They imply the temptations of tellie, tea and comfy slippers would be too great. As if, somehow, the kind of willpower and discipline required to resist these delights are the preserve of a lucky, very motivated few.
This idea seemed to be re-enforced during a discussion following an interesting but unrelated post over at Employee Evolution. An artist aspiring to self-employment asked:
…since you are working for yourself how do you avoid the temptation to sleep in on rainy days and get daily motivation? … I fear the “oh I’ll do it later” mentality and being secluded, which I feel would get lonely…
To which another commenter suggested that working for a small company might better suit this person’s “mindset”.
It’s good to see people offering suggestions and support to others within an encouraging environment. But I’m concerned that comments like this lack vision.
Mindsets are just that – minds which have been set in a certain way. But it does not mean they are set in stone.
I don’t consider myself to have a lot of willpower. I’m not especially disciplined either, and, as I’ve explained before, I sometimes have to work hard to motivate myself to work. I’d bet these factors alone would see me fail many of the ubiquitous online quizzes offering to assess my suitability to be my own boss.
So how have I done it?
I suggest aspiring freelancers turn their fears around and ask themselves, “what do I need to do to ensure that I don’t feel secluded / lack motivation / [insert any other concerns here]?”. This technique really helped me when I was starting out, and still does today.
Greg Hollings over at Location Independent Living did a great job of showing how he overcame his freelancing fears in an excellent post called Three Fears I Had About Leaving The Rat Race That Came True (And How I Overcame Them). Best of all, he prompted some really useful and empowering suggestions from other freelancers in the comments section.
Properly thinking through the answers to these kinds of questions will offer you a more realistic insight into whether self-employment is a step you are truly willing and able to take.
Ultimately, it’s about creating new habits and a new mindset for yourself.
I’m not for a minute underestimating the skills required to work for yourself, or the complex combination of other internal and external factors. But I can’t help thinking that if I can work for myself, then there’s a lot more people out there who could too – if they really wanted to.
All of this shows that if you’re seriously considering whether you can cut it on your own, feeling afraid and unsure of yourself should not be reasons in themselves to deter you.
Instead, you can use your fear as fuel to feed your likelihood of success.
What fears do you have about freelancing? How can you turn them around?