Track your wins.
That’s it. That’s the solution.
It seems like it takes more than that, and sometimes it does. But for most of us, giving yourself real, tangible credit (that we can revisit) is the first step in keeping healthy confidence as a freelancer.
And that’s because we forget.
We forget and we acclimate.
Last month, I “only” booked $10K in work. When I saw that number, I felt my confidence trip and fall on its face.
This time last year? I would’ve been proud. But I forgot that pride.
New, “bigger” wins had obscured all the progress I made and with it, the potential I felt like I’d lost. Thankfully, revisiting the time I was elated to book an $8K month was a powerful reminder of what I was capable of.
…but if I hadn’t written that down…if I’d just relied on my very short and very biased memory to dig up just how amazing I felt then, I’d probably still be discouraged.
That’s why I want you to start tracking your freelance wins. We keep something similar in our semi-annual self-assessment in The Academy, but you can do it on your own too. Try these out to start.
If you’re even considering freelancing, give yourself credit.
We’re conditioned from childhood to put our well-being in the hands of employers, so even the seemingly small act of questioning that relationship is an act of bravery.
But you’ve got a lot more coming along this freelance journey — deciding to take control of your marketing…accepting that your income isn’t limited the way you thought…not letting clients sit in the driver’s seat of your business strategy — and every one deserves celebration. Document them.
Freelancing doesn’t start with a Yes, it starts with a No.
You start by saying no to a future of employer dependence, but you’ll keep going. You’ll fire your first client (which feels RIDICULOUSLY good), you’ll walk away from and refine niches that aren’t serving you and move on from skills that are dying out.
Each No is a choice for a better future, so make sure you don’t forget them.
These are the wins you’d think you’d hold on to with barely any effort, but in my experience, it’s way too easy to readjust and take them for granted.
That first $100 counts just as much as crossing six-figures, maybe more. Don’t disrespect your early freelance journey by waiting until the “big” numbers start hitting. Give yourself your flowers today — and make sure you can go back and smell them.
Trying Something New
People don’t do this enough. It’s one of the main reasons life seems time seems to go by faster as we age. (I know that my life strangely seemed to slow down to teenage/college pace at 34 when I started freelancing and my previous routine was thrown out.)
It’s our nature to settle into the status quo, so when you choose not to, make note.
You deserve all the credit for deciding to take a purposeful approach to freelancing.
Promising to dedicate a day a week to focus on marketing (instead of hoping that someone sees a tweet) is enormous progress.
Following up on a prospect a year later and asking if they need help in Q1 of next year (instead of assuming they don’t) is an accomplishment.
Tracking your daily productivity in dollars and working to optimize that number (instead of just trying to get as much as possible done every day) merits some credit, so make note.
Bonus: Over time, it makes you feel more competent and in control of your business.
The best part about all these? They’re a guide to positive growth in your work and understanding what motivates you personally. So get out that Google doc, Notes file, journal or notepad, and start investing in your next confidence boost…and don’t forget to revisit it whenever you’re questioning things.
…and if you want to start tracking your progress over time with other Black freelancers? Come swing by the community boards.