6 Tips for Freelancers to Beat Negative Self-Talk

Andrew Macrae
5 min readApr 18, 2020
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

As a freelancer, the biggest obstacle you face in life and in your work is yourself.

You’re often on your own, inside your own head.

You don’t have the luxury of bouncing ideas off other people.

Small things, like a not-so-smooth interaction with a client, can cast big shadows in your mind.

The voice of negativity

And then the voice of negativity starts whispering.

That voice in your head that tells you:

  • you’re not good enough
  • you’re crazy for taking this road
  • you’re not cut out for this kind of work
  • you’re so dumb for making that mistake
  • no-one’s interested in what you have to say
  • this project is too hard, you never should have bid for it
  • you’re not smart enough to give the client what they need
  • you’re a failure because you’re not charging enough and letting clients walk all over you
  • you’re an arrogant, greedy spiv for charging so much and pushing back on your boundaries with clients.

Any of this sound familiar?

These kinds of conversations with yourself can play havoc with your confidence and your mental health.

And when you’re in business with yourself, confidence is often the key to success. You need every scrap of resilience you can muster.

How to beat negative self-talk

So what’s the answer?

Honestly, it’s a long-term process. I spent years in therapy trying to make friends with this monster. If that’s an option that’s open to you, I really recommend it.

But if you’re looking for some simple things you can do by yourself, here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Learn to recognize the voice

The first step is learning to recognize the voice, and to distinguish it from your own.

Andrew Macrae

Freelance writer and editor. Sign up for my newsletter about writing, freelancing and whatever is worrying me https://tinyletter.com/Andrew_Macrae