How to Get Past the Anxiety of Starting Your Freelance Business
Starting something new is always nerve-wracking. Do you have the skills? Will people believe what you're doing? Will clients believe you can deliver on their project?
For newbie writers, those questions can lead to anxiety in starting a new business. And that's okay. We all get nervous. I've been a professional writer for over 20 years and I still get nervous when sending something to a new client. But I've learned to get past it and you can too.
Here are a few tips on how you can get past the anxiety of starting and move into a more comfortable place with your B2B writing business.
Acknowledge the Anxiety
That feeling you get when you're new is perfectly normal … after all, you’re leaving your comfort zone. Being anxious and generally awkward in a new environment is hardwired into us. They're part of our lizard brains and keep us safe from the dangers around us as we roamed the earth as hunter-gatherers.
We've retained that nervousness even though we're no longer in the same type of situations anymore. Our brains mistakenly apply that anxiety to any situation that's new or unfamiliar to us because that's what it's used to doing.
When it comes to a new job or project, that anxiety is misplaced, but still real. Acknowledging it is the first step in helping you move through it.
Pick Your Feelings Apart
Next, look more closely at what part of the situation is making you nervous. Is it the commute to the new office? Meeting your new colleagues? Taking on a new type of project? Delivering your first project? Or something else?
Once you've determined what it is that's making you nervous, you can find solutions so you won't feel that way anymore. For example, if you're nervous about the commute to the new writing job, look up the public transit schedule to make sure you know which subway, bus, or train you need to get there. Make a test run in the car to make sure you know where to go. If you're nervous about working on writing projects you haven’t done before, look up a few online to see what's involved.
Solving your anxiety one feeling at a time can help you move past it and put you on the road to feeling more comfortable with everything.
Relax Your Body
When I get nervous, I grind my teeth. Your shoulders might creep up towards your ears as you start to tense up. Or you might grip the steering wheel a little too tight on your way to work.
Again, going back to our hunter-gatherer days, our brains were preparing our bodies to fight or flee, so it made sense. Today, though, grinding your teeth or clenching your fists doesn't do you any good besides tire your body out and make you feel more short-tempered.
So relax your body. Loosen your shoulders, shake out your hands, and try to breathe naturally. (I usually chew a piece of gum to stop the grinding, since it keeps me occupied and saves my teeth from getting sore.) Listen to your body and do whatever you need to relax it.
Remember Why You're There
When you're just starting out as a B2B writer, your anxiety can quickly make you forget why your client or employer hired you. They saw a professional writer in you and believe you can do the job. Otherwise, they wouldn't have hired you!
All the excitement and nervousness of being "new" can hide that from you, so you're just a ball of emotions. So, remember why your client hired you, why they chose you from all the other writers out there, and that you know what you're doing.
If that doesn't work, reach out to the B2B Writing Success community for a little support. We're all here to cheer each other on, so let people know you could use some support!
Remember, feeling nervous about starting something new isn't unusual. We all feel that. But you shouldn't let the nerves or anxiety keep you from trying something new with your writing business. The key is to learn what affects you and how it affects you, so you can develop strategies that'll help you move forward.
Note: I'm talking about general nervousness in life, not the medical sort of anxiety that only a medical professional can diagnose. If you have any doubts about what you're feeling, please see your doctor.
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