How To Stop Feeling Like a Fraud

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Hola, Unfxcked FreelancerūüĎčūüŹľ!

Welcome to another week of getting unstuck, taking control, and going pro as a freelancer. In case you missed my last newsletter, see the full archive of previous issues here.

Before I started this newsletter, I was scared.

I thought, “Who am I to give advice to others? I don’t really know enough to guide fellow freelancers.”

Even though I’ve been freelancing for more than half a decade, I still felt like a fraud.

It’s¬†imposter syndrome.

Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar.

You’re working on a project, and you start to think, “I’m not good enough.¬†They’ll find out I’m just faking it.”

It’s like there’s a voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough.

Trust me. You’re not alone in this struggle.

Everyone feels like this sometimes. Even pro freelancers who are really killing it in their respective niches still have doubts. They feel like¬†they’re not good enough, even though they have the skills and vast experience to do their jobs.

One of the¬†reasons¬†why freelancers experience imposter syndrome¬†is that freelancing is often a solitary activity. You’re working on your own, and it can be easy to compare yourself to others and feel like you’re not measuring up.

Another reason is that freelancing is often project-based. You’re constantly starting and finishing new projects (sometimes in different niches),¬†and it can be easy to feel like you’re not an expert in anything.

Imposter syndrome can make you feel like you can’t do anything right.

But guess what?

You have the power to conquer it.

Eleanor Roosevelt, a legendary figure, once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

This means that you have the power to choose how you react to the feeling of being an imposter. You can either let it hold you back, or you can use it as motivation to prove yourself wrong.

So how do you overcome imposter syndrome?

Grab your favorite drink, find a comfortable spot, and let’s dive right in.

5 Steps to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Now that we understand how imposter syndrome can sneak into our minds and destroy our confidence let’s look at practical steps you can take to stop feeling like a fraud and reclaim your confidence:

  1. Recognize your achievements:¬†Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. Did you do that? Now,¬†look back at your freelance journey and the milestones you’ve achieved.¬†Maybe you landed a big client, received awesome¬†testimonials, or completed a challenging project.¬†Acknowledge everything. When I felt like a fraud, I took a few minutes to create a list of all the projects I successfully completed. Seeing it all in front of me reminded me of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve achieved. Give yourself credit for your own accomplishments.
  2. Embrace continuous learning:¬†Do you know what makes freelancing¬†really exciting? It is because freelancing is¬†a never-ending learning experience. Instead of focusing on things you don’t know, focus on your curiosity and eagerness to grow.¬†See every project as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills. Last year, I challenged myself to learn a new writing niche, and the sense of accomplishment I felt when I successfully implemented it in a project was incredible. This is to encourage you to adopt a growth mindset and see every challenge as an opportunity to grow.
  3. Seek support and validation:¬†When imposter syndrome creeps in, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to your fellow freelancers, mentors, or supportive friends who understand the ups and downs of freelancing. Share your concerns and fears with them. You’ll be amazed at how many of them have experienced imposter syndrome too. I found comfort in talking to a close friend who’s also a freelancer. We shared our experiences and gave each other the reassurance we needed to keep going. I realized that encouragement from close ones¬†can provide you with a fresh perspective and remind you that you’re not alone.
  4. Practice self-compassion:¬†It’s time to be kind to yourself. We all make mistakes, and we all have moments of self-doubt. Instead of beating yourself up over perceived flaws or shortcomings, practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same understanding and forgiveness you would show to a friend facing a similar situation. I started a daily self-care routine where I took a few minutes each day to stand in front of my bedroom mirror to remind myself of my strengths and acknowledge that it’s okay to have doubts sometimes. It made a world of difference in how I perceived myself.
  5. Challenge your negative thoughts:¬†When those negative thoughts of inadequacy start creeping in, it’s time to put them in their place. Take a step back and examine them critically. Ask yourself, “What evidence do I have to support these feelings?” You’ll often find that your fears are based on irrational thinking and not on actual facts. I started keeping a journal where I wrote down my negative thoughts and then challenged them with evidence of my achievements and capabilities. It helped me reframe my thinking and regain my confidence.¬†You should start replacing your self-critical thoughts with positive affirmations. Start reminding yourself of your past successes, the skills you possess, and the value you bring to your clients.

YOU are not a fraud, my friend, but a creative, skilled, and talented freelancer who is capable of great things. You have the power to recognize your achievements, embrace continuous learning, seek support, practice self-compassion, and challenge those negative thoughts. And the only person who can truly hold you back is YOU.

That’s a wrap, Unfxcked Freelancer!

Catch you on the flip side,
Chief Unfxcker

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