If you want to grow your freelance business, eliminate these three obstacles
Running a freelance business is not always a bed of roses. When you work alone, your beliefs may strongly influence your business life. And that’s perfectly fine, as long as these thoughts accelerate, rather than limit your growth.
How to identify and cope with the limiting thought patterns? Have a look at these three major obstacles that may prevent your freelance business from succeeding:
1. Comparing your business to others
Playing the comparison game is pointless. There are thousands of freelancers and business owners who are doing great, but what you see in the media is only a tiny part of the whole picture. Most businesses talk only about their highlights and most freelancers show only their success moments. They probably won’t publish an article about failures and mistakes they did, nor will they post a picture with them showing how they lose money, customers, or good reputation.
If you compare yourself and your business with others, chances are you get stuck in the paralysis-analysis mode. Especially, when you compare yourself with people who started earlier than you, hence had more time to learn by doing or to gather more experience by making mistakes you’re probably exposed to now.
Every freelancer, every founder, or business owner comes from a different background, has different ideas, and is shaped by different people and environments. If there’s someone you admire, let their actions inspire you, rather than lead to negative comparisons. Find out what they did to overcome various obstacles, how they approached their marketing strategy, or who they collaborated with to achieve their goals. Treat their success stories as motivation and inspiration to grow your business.
2. Not leaving your comfort zone
You won’t grow if you don’t leave your comfort zone. It’s easy to stick to the most convenient choices, people, or ideas. There’s no risk, there’s no fear, there are no big failures. This is where stagnation begins. If you’re trying to reach a new goal, attract more customers or increase your profit, sooner or later you’ll have to enter an uncharted territory. Do something that scares you.
If you struggle with leaving your comfort zone, begin with baby steps. For example, if you’re afraid of presenting in front of a large audience, start from attending business events in your region. First ask questions during the Q&A sessions, then move on to presenting for small groups before upgrading to a bigger scene.
Another method is to focus on fun. Every challenge comes with a pleasant part. If you’re afraid of public speaking, but you enjoy sharing your knowledge, you can shift your focus to the sharing part. In this way, you’ll be able to push the intimidating factors (such as standing in front of a crowd) to the background. Always keep the benefits of leaving your comfort zone in mind to stay motivated, no matter what you do.
3. Taking your status quo for granted
As a freelancer or small business owner you’ve probably hit the wall many times. I certainly have. Every time I’m happy with my status quo, the ground begins to shake, forcing me to rethink my “I’m happy where I am” attitude.
“Everything flows and nothing abides”—said Heraclitus long time ago. That’s true also in the business life. Change is inevitable, so make sure you keep honing your professional skills, managing your potential risks, or building a cushion for slower times. Keep asking, searching, innovating, no matter how satisfied you are with your accomplishments.
To get rid of the overwhelming feeling that you can’t change anything in your business, you can challenge yourself to do something new every day. It can be as simple as talking to people from outside your closest group of co-workers, reading news from other industries, or going to an event not directly related to your work. If you meet someone who inspires you, ask what she or he does to keep growing and tweaking their services. Leave your bubble from time to time to gain a fresh perspective, express gratitude for what you have, and find ideas to grow.
Running a freelance business is like running a marathon. It has many ups and downs, but if you find an effective way to overcome your obstacles, you’ll have more energy to cherish the good moments.
What’s your biggest obstacle in growing your freelance business?
P.S. If you struggle to find time to plan your business growth, I share some tips in my free e-book “How to make the best use of your time”.
And if you’re looking for advice on how to better manage your freelance business when you juggle work with motherhood, have a look at my book “You’ve got this: How to continue your freelance career when you become a mother”.