Member Update: When You Doubt Yourself

4 minute read

I’ve been a full-time freelance professional for 20 years now.

I’ve proven to myself over and over again that I can land clients, that I can help clients, that clients like what I do, and that they’ll pay me for it.

I know the ins and outs of this business. I’m on top of what’s happening online and what’s changing in digital marketing. And I’m good with people.

But here’s the thing… even with all that going for me, I still have times when I’m filled with self-doubt.

Maybe you struggle with self-doubt sometimes, too.

That feeling of wondering what comes next… wondering if anyone will ever hire you again… wondering if you really have what it takes to succeed (even when you’re already successful).

Self-doubt happens. It isn’t fun, but it’s normal for a lot of writers. Even though it’s normal, it can still be a big problem. Self-doubt can steal your momentum. It can chisel away at your confidence, making you less effective in client conversations. And it can lead to feeling overwhelmed or paralyzed, which can wreak havoc with your productivity.

Fortunately, there’s a recipe for dealing with self-doubt.

Step 1: Admit that it’s happening

Like anything, self-doubt is easier to deal with when you’re honest with yourself that it’s happening. You can give a little thought to why it’s happening, but often that’s neither here nor there. Once you say out loud, “I’m struggling with self-doubt,” you’re ready to move on to the next step even if you’re not sure what triggered the unpleasantness.

Step 2: Review your accomplishments

When you realize that self-doubt has taken up residence in your headspace, spend a part of the day reviewing some of the things you’ve done that you’re especially proud of. Also, look back over the nice things your clients have said about you. Sure, you collect testimonials to help other would-be clients see that you’re good at what you do and reliable to work with, but they can serve a double purpose and also be a balm for self-doubt.

Step 3: Reach out to a colleague you trust

If Step 2 doesn’t fully banish your low feelings, talk to a fellow writer or someone else in the industry you trust… preferably someone who’s earned the status of friend. Let them know where you’re at and how you’re feeling and ask them to remind you that you’re capable and successful. It’s uncomfortable listening to someone sing your praises on command, but boy, it sure does help.

Step 4: Move forward anyway

The biggest problem with self-doubt is how it can stall your progress. Pick one small marketing action — making a new connection on LinkedIn, sending a pitch to a client, posting a new blog entry — and do it. Then do another one the next day. And the next. Keep at it, and not only will your self-doubt turnaround, you’ll likely find yourself with new work.

How about you? Do you ever struggle with self-doubt? What’s your recipe for dealing with it? I hope you’ll share in the comments.

In Case You Missed It…

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How familiar are you with email segmentation? Email segmentation helps your clients create more targeted, more relevant email messages for the different audiences they serve. It may sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be to deliver a great result. See how your clients can benefit from this strategy in Michele Peterson’s newest Email Marketing column.

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Coming Up on Digital Copywriter

February 21: Mark your calendar for our next in-real-time Facebook discussion. I’ll be available for an hour to answer your questions about getting started as a freelance writer. Or, if you’re already a working writer, bring your questions about taking your business to a new level. Wherever you’re at, we’ll be discussing how to achieve your next business growth spurt. Find the full details here.

March 7: Our next Monthly Member Update is already right around the corner. In March, we’ll talk about ways to meet, land, and help local clients. There are some advantages to working with clients who are close by, so we’ll explore that potential client base. Plus, we’ll look at the great new stuff added to Digital Copywriter, along with what’s coming up. I hope you’ll join me!

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Did you get a chance to listen in on the talk I had with Brian Clark, Nick Usborne, Bob Bly, and Guillermo Rubio? We talked about ChatGPT, AI, and the future of writing. It was a good one, and you can tune into the full discussion right here.

That’s all for now. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!