Freelancing is like any other job, idea or creative pursuit. You’ll get varying degree of support and understanding. Some will be positive, some will be amazing. And some will attempt to steal your joy.

freelancing joy

Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

They’ll tell you that you’ve priced yourself incorrectly. That you should offer different services. And that you’ve somehow lost credibility by being a freelancer. When freelancing, you’ll have to learn to discern between 5 minute experts and useful advice.

You’ll have clients that just don’t get it. You’ll have a gap of understanding between you and friends about what it entails. You’ll have to pick and choose your battles wisely as some will never get it.

The ATO and all other kinds of situations may come knocking. In which case, always ask for time to pay, get a good accountant, and work through the process step by step.

But oddly enough, the two biggest joy thieves in freelancing are:

  • Your fellow freelancer
  • You

I’ve already written extensively on the freelancers who steal your joy. You can gain some advice at through the following blogs:

When is it OK to ignore your fellow freelancer?

Be a friend to your fellow freelancer

Climb out of my ear. I’m doing stuff!

In business, you can’t please everyone. So don’t try to.

Self employment myths

More self employment myths

6 freelance myths that make life suck

Why MMA is like freelancing

But the main two things to remember when other freelancers decide to spray their toxic stink on you are:

  1. They don’t pay your bills. So screw their opinion. They aren’t a financial stakeholder in what you do so what they saydoesn’t mean squat.
  2. The Polish proverb “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. Their special brand of crazy is theirs alone. Don’t let it bother you.

You’re not in competition with other freelancers

You don’t have to keep up with whoever has the best Facebook rapport or gets the most guest spots on other sites. Make buddies with other freelancers to share work and alleviate stress. But don’t let them design your business adventure.

When freelancing, you are always in competition with you

You’re the only one who has to deal with your clients, pay your bills and stand behind the quality of the work. That doesn’t mean you should be mean to yourself. Realise you’re only one person. Don’t take on a load meant for two. Make progress but don’t beat yourself up about it.

I’ve seen some freelancers heckle others. I’ve seen those that have been heckled get it in their head. I’ve heard a lot of freelancers get misty-eyed about celebrity freelancers on a pedestal of being the latest version of cool. I have seen a lot of freelancers take their business too seriously. They start using it as their identity and forget they are a human, too. They end up anxious, unhappy and depressed. Usually when celebrity and hype don’t equate to practical, financial reward. Or when fame does not come a-calling.

Don’t let any of these situations be your freelancing reality. Maintain perspective and make your freelance journey about you. Realistically, that is all it can ever be about anyway, right?

An exercise in finding out about you in relation to your freelancing style: 

  • Write down why you kick arse over other freelancers
  • Write (and practice) a few non-confrontational responses to bat back that unsolicited or unwanted advice
  • Uncover your motivation for freelancing. Hang it on the wall where you work
  • Look for people that inspire you to move forward and try instead of making you feel jealous or inadequate

Remember the reason why you chose freelancing in the first place. You’ve chosen a working life with an awful lot of responsibility, risk and deeper highs and lows than the average career path. What is going to keep your head above water for longer is remaining connected to that initial motivation. No one can steal your joy (for too long) if you know why you got into freelancing in the first place.

Want to fight the thieves of joy and stay focused on your freelancing journey? Come say hi to your new friends in the Freelance Jungle group.