Is it because you think it’s not good enough? That no one will buy? That it’s too hard or too complicated or too risky?
I could tell you that none of those things are true, but I won’t. Now don’t get me wrong. Not one of them are even in the least bit true — Your work is good enough, you can find buyers…and difficulty, complexity, risk? You can learn to work through all those. What I’m going to tell you is a bit different, because freelancing is a different world than building a blog audience or selling a line of clothing.
I’m going to tell you that you shouldn’t fear rejection or failure as a freelancer because you simply do not know what you do yet.
That’s what sets freelance work apart from other forms of entrepreneurship. We don’t live by “if you build it, they will come.” No. We find them, and we build what they need.
That’s great news because it makes starting much, much easier — and that’s because all you have to do is watch and listen.
How To Start Right This Second
You probably have a general idea of what kind of freelance work you want to do, and it’s tempting to tell yourself that you just need to get better at whatever that is before you “really try” freelancing. I’m going to ask you to resist that temptation and take another road. (If you need some ideas, here are some suggestions, and here are some questions you can ask yourself to figure out what might work best for you.) If you worry about perfecting your writing or taking one more web development course, stop. You’re wasting time focusing yourself when you should be focusing on the people who will pay you.
Follow the people and organizations who buy what you want to do and the people who talk about what they do. Join their groups on LinkedIn. Follow them on Twitter. Sign up for their newsletters, webinars, and in-person events. Listen, take notes, and learn their world from their perspective.
Do this, and you’ll have your most important task as a freelancer done before you even start, and bonus, you’ll feel MUCH more confident working with them once you do.
P.S. I’m serious about that. Get on at least 2 social accounts right now, find the web presences of four companies, magazines, organizations, governments…whatever…that you’d like to work for, and start listening.