Act Like a Pro

This week, we’re exploring how to increase our confidence as freelancers. Yesterday, we talked about faking it till you make it, specifically about being positive and acting confident. You can read that email here.

Today, I want to talk to you about another type of “faking it.”

Some freelancers act like their business is a hobby – rather than a career. (I was guilty of this in the beginning). The problem with this thinking is a hobby is something you can give up easily if the going gets tough. A hobby is also something you do in your free time. If you’re serious about a career as a writer, you shouldn’t give up or limit your writing to when it’s convenient.

Signs you’re treating your business like a hobby:

  • Writing when you feel like it (instead of sticking to a schedule)
  • Taking a break more often than you should
  • Missing deadlines (or not getting paying projects at all)
  • Giving household chores priority over your business
  • Waiting for projects to fall into your lap

If you want to truly live the writer’s life – and create confidence in your abilities – you should approach your work more professionally. You don’t have to rent an office or tie yourself to a desk. Small changes will boost your confidence.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a work area in your home. Even a desk in a corner will work if it’s for work and nothing else. When you sit down to write, you’ll feel more professional.
  • Get dressed every day. You don’t have to wear a suit, but something other than PJs will make you feel better. This will also send a signal to your brain that it’s work time.
  • Write something every day – no matter what. Set a daily schedule. Yes, part of the joy of the writer’s life is working when and where you want, but having a schedule (even if it’s flexible) will help you accomplish your goals.
  • Meet all your deadlines. It's just expected. Clients will appreciate this and give you more work. Not ready for clients? Set up deadlines for yourself for your training and marketing. An example is, “I will finish reading this chapter by Friday.” Then keep that deadline.
  • Be proactive when it comes to getting projects. If you’re waiting for projects to come to you, you’re not sending the signal that you’re running a successful business. Instead, take action to get paying projects. For example, schedule time each week to follow up on leads and reach out to past clients who might need your services again.

By doing these small things, you’ll not just feel more professional – you’ll be more professional – and it will come through in the way you interact with clients.

Today's action item: Do something to make you feel like a professional writer. Because we’re all striving for the writer’s life, I recommend writing … but you might also set up a work area or announce your new career to friends and family, or even on Facebook.

Bonus points if you go outside your comfort zone. An example might be calling a potential client to see if they hire freelancers. Good luck!

Let us know how it goes by commenting here.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about “Imposter Syndrome” and how to overcome it.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »

Click to Rate:
No ratings yet
Published: February 13, 2013

2 Responses to “Act Like a Pro”

  1. You've hit another home run, Christina. Thanks for posting this article!

    Funny thing. Yesterday, a very successful AWAI marketer reminded me about being proactive and not expecting projects to fall into my lap. Lo and behold, I wake up this morning to read the exact same message from you! How's the saying go? Once is a coincidence, but twice is a pattern. I got the message. And I'm very glad that you're reinforcing it, Christina. Thanks again!


  2. This is spot-on advice! I am making the transition from lawyer to copywriter and work at home. I don't need a downtown office because my clients live all over the world. But I strongly agree that having a separate work space, getting dressed in the morning, following up on potential client leads, and learning something new every day, are all things that keep me focused and in business. I am applying your excellent plan to my new career even while I am in transition. Thank you!!

    Guest (Sonseere )

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)

This name will appear next to your comment.

Your email is required but will not be displayed.

Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters

Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)