How non-attachment can help you run a healthier freelance business
What’s the key component of a healthy freelance business?
No, it’s not time management.
Nor superb marketing skills.
It’s something most business courses won’t teach you at all because it comes only with experience: non-attachment.
Why non-attachment matters in the business world?
In “The Yoga Sutras” of Patanjali, non-attachment plays a key role in a mindful and peaceful life. But this concept isn’t only restricted to committed yogis trying to bend their minds and bodies into unfamiliar shapes. Non-attachment is beneficial for people from all walks of life and can be perfectly adapted to the freelance world as well.
It is not about indifference or rejection of material possessions—that would be hard to achieve, especially if you have a business to run and a family to feed. Non-attachment means focusing on the world as it is, not on how you think it should be. It helps you see everything from the right perspective: as passing clouds that come and go.
With non-attachment, you can avoid being obsessed with the results. What matters is not the amount of money you want to earn, it’s not the ambitious goal you have to achieve, nor the difficult skill you think you need to master. It’s about the act of doing, without being fixated on the outcome.
How can non-attachment help you run a healthier business?
Practicing non-attachment in your business life will help you stay calmer, more aware, and more flexible. But that’s not all. Here are the key benefits of this approach:
1. Enjoying the process
Once you focus on the here and now, without fixation on the outcome, you’ll be able to enjoy the process. Taking distance from your goal might even help you achieve better results. How is that possible?
When you’re only thinking about how rich, famous, or successful you’ll become after publishing your mobile app/book/online course/website, you might easily get distracted. In this state of mind, you’re more likely to rush through the process, make bad decisions, or take counterproductive shortcuts.
On the other hand, when you concentrate on the task at hand and try to perform it as well as you can, chances are you’ll end up with a decent outcome. Once you focus on the journey and eliminate your preferences, prejudices, or reflexive reactions to events and situations, you’ll stay more aware. You’ll be able to quickly adapt when your book promotion/marketing campaign/client acquisition strategy doesn’t go as planned without forcing anything.
With a bit of non-attachment, you can enjoy anything you do and let the process guide you.
2. Avoiding bad decisions
When you’re obsessed with your goal, things may easily fall apart. For example, I could easily get attached to the idea that my freelance business has to generate 10.000 euros per month. To reach this goal, I’d draft detailed plans, run aggressive campaigns to attract more customers, or try to sell more products to my current clients.
Let’s say I put in all the hard work, but my efforts aren’t enough and as the end of the month approaches, I realise that I’m 2k short of my goal. Desperate to achieve my magical number, I publish more promotional posts and send more private messages on LinkedIn and Twitter, which ultimately leads to my accounts being suspended. Not to mention all those potential clients I lose because of my annoying hyperactivity. Instead of reaching my goal, my fixation on the outcome led me to wrong decisions.
This scenario could be healthier for me and my business if I tried to be less attached to my results. I could first question my goal (Do I really need a 6-figure income? Is it realistic?), then I could constantly review my ideas and approaches (What if I’m wrong?) and be ready to let go of anything that doesn’t work. I’d be able to watch, learn, and adapt with an open mind, which could help me avoid unreasonable choices.
With a bit of non-attachment, you can see your actions from the right perspective and stay away from emotional decisions.
3. Looking for the potential to grow
In your business life, you could also get attached to the idea that something isn’t your cup of tea. You’d reject a great public speaking opportunity, collaboration with your dream client, or a new marketing strategy, just because you’re convinced you’re not ready yet. Here’s a spoiler: in most cases, you’ll never feel 100% ready. So, if an opportunity arises, why not take advantage of it and learn on the go?
For example, for many long years, I was convinced that videos are not my thing. Although many people told me I should trade writing for recording, I stubbornly replied I’m not into it. I didn’t even try to reconsider this idea. My preference was to write, not to talk. Another unhealthy attachment. Until one day I finally decided to question my beliefs and… I opened my YoutTube channel. It turned out I love the whole process of editing, recording, and publishing short videos, no matter how many views or likes I receive.
With a bit of non-attachment, you can embark on a new, unexpected adventure and grow your potential.
Non-attachment is not about giving up, withdrawing, or becoming less ambitious. It helps you be more aware of your prejudices, preferences, actions, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. And that’s a perfect place if you want to build a healthy freelance business.
Do you want to find out more about practicing non-attachment, and learn about other ingredients of a healthy freelance business?
Grab a copy of my new book, “Successful Freelancer’s Mindset“, to discover a smooth road to your rewarding freelancer’s life.