How to Turn Struggle into Success with the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

fearless freelancer mindset

Do you think that successful freelancers are just luckier or smarter than you are? If you do, then you’re wrong. The biggest difference between successful freelancers and freelancers who struggle is that successful freelancers know that what we think is as important as what we do. We have the fearless freelancer mindset.

You too can develop the fearless freelancer mindset

And if you do, it will be easier for you to learn what you need to learn and do what you need to do to build a stable, successful freelance business. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more able to cope when things don’t go well—which happens to all of us.

Change Your Future with the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

Three things are part of the fearless freelancer mindset:

  1. A growth mindset
  2. Grit
  3. Resilience.

You can build a growth mindset and become a fearless freelancer. Grit and resilience will help you do this. And you can grow your grit and build your resilience.

What is a Growth Mindset?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right,” said Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company. Ford could have been a farmer like his father. Instead, he used his growth mindset to transform cars from a novelty that few people could afford or thought were useful into something that re-shaped life in the 20th century and helped build the American economy.

If you have a growth mindset like Ford, you believe that you can change your freelance future by learning new things, being persistent, and taking the right actions. You’ll be willing to work hard to reach your goals. You’re much more likely to face challenges head-on and overcome them.

But if you have a fixed mindset, you believe that your future is set in stone. And you may believe that you shouldn’t have to work hard to succeed as a freelancer. Since doing better is beyond your control and you expect success to come to you without effort, you’ll give up.


Learn more:

4 Easy Ways for Freelancers to Develop the Growth Mindset


What is Grit? 

Also called determination, mental toughness, or tenacity, grit is having the perseverance and passion to stick with your long-term goals until you reach them. Grit is carrying on even when you make mistakes or don’t feel like you’re making progress.

Remember how Charlie Brown kept trying to kick that football even though Lucy pulled it away from him every time? Charlie Brown never gave up. He had grit.

How successful we are is largely dependent on grit, says Angela Duckworth, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the New York Times bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.

 “Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” says Duckworth.

Compared to others, Duckworth’s research shows that people with grit:

  • Work harder to achieve goals
  • Are happier
  • Tend to be optimistic
  • Are more resilient.

Learn more:

The Superhero Power You Need to Know About: Grit


What is Resilience? 

While grit is something we always need, resilience helps us when bad things happen—like losing a big client or a recession. Resilience is the ability to meet adversity head-on, adapt, bounce back, and keep trying.

Most people aren’t born resilient. Instead, they build resilience over time. If you consider adversity a challenge and deal with it, you’ll become more resilient. But if you consider adversity a threat, you’ll become less resilient.

Four ingredients of resilience

In the book Stronger, Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed, a stress management expert, an entrepreneur, and a Navy SEAL identify these ingredients of resilience that successful people share:

  1. Active Optimism
  2. Decisive Action
  3. Relentless Tenacity (another name for grit)
  4. Interpersonal Support.

 The book is based on four decades of research, including original research, reviews of published research, personal experiences, clinical observations, and interviews with nearly 1,000 highly resilient people, including Navy SEALS.


Learn more:

How to Boost Your Resilience


How to Achieve the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

A growth mindset, grit, and resilience are closely related. Here are 4 things you can do to develop all of these—and achieve the fearless freelancer mindset.

#1. Be positive 

Clients want to work with freelancers who have a positive attitude and colleagues want to refer work to us because they trust us.

And having a positive attitude means that we don’t have to work as hard to get great clients—because clients and colleagues like us.

A negative attitude zaps your energy. And no one likes to be around—or work with—negative people.

All freelancers face challenges. Believe in yourself and your ability to turn the challenges you’re facing into opportunities.

You have the power to make your freelance future brighter.

Here are a few easy ways to become more positive:

  • Think positive thoughts
  • Use positive words
  • Seek out other people with positive attitudes
  • When bad things happen, learn from them and don’t blame yourself.

Learn more:

4 Ways to Become a More Positive Thinker


#2. Take action and focus on small wins

Positive thinking alone isn’t enough. Stop procrastinating and start taking action. Each action you complete is a small win. And each small win builds your confidence, helps you develop a growth mindset, and motivates you to keep taking action.

#3. Create a strong, supportive network 

You don’t have to—and you shouldn’t—try to build your freelance business on your own. Freelancers need a network of positive people—other freelancers, friends, and family—who will provide support.

Having freelance friends is especially important. Sharing what you’re going through, and knowing that other freelancers are going through the same or similar things, will make you feel better. Other freelancers can also provide advice about what’s working for them, and sometimes referrals to clients.


Learn more:

Why Other Freelancers Should Be Your Best Friends


#4. Build the marketing habit 

Good habits make it easier for you to do things that will help you reach your long-term goals. They also help you focus on what’s most important—like marketing your freelance business. Many freelancers waste time on things that don’t matter and then never get to activities that can help them build a stable, successful freelance business.

A habit is “the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day,” says James Clear, best-selling author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Good Morning America called Clear the “world’s leading expert on habit formation.”

The more you practice a habit the easier it gets. It’s like learning how to tie your shoelaces. In the beginning, you had to really think about what you were doing. And it was hard. But the more times you tied your shoelaces, the easier it got—because tying your shoelaces became a habit.


Learn more:

How to Make Marketing as Easy as Tying Your Shoes


Develop the Fearless Freelancer Mindset

All freelancers can develop the fearless freelance mindset. It’s not easy—because our minds are powerful and change takes time. But you can do it.

Pick a few new things to try this week. Next week add a few more. Soon you’ll see that you’re developing a growth mindset, growing your grit, and building your resilience.


Become a Fearless Freelancer

The Fearless Freelancer

This post is based on my book The Fearless Freelancer: How to Thrive in a Recession

Steady, high-paying clients who need your help are still out there. The Fearless Freelancer will show you where they are and how to get them.

Developing the fearless freelancer mindset is 1 of 10 steps that will help you thrive in good times and in bad.

My book gives you an easy-to-follow, proven process for doing this—from a freelancer who’s thrived during three recessions.

The print and e-books are available now on Amazon.

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Learn More About the Fearless Freelancer Mindset 

4 Easy Ways for Freelancers to Develop the Growth Mindset

The Superhero Power You Need to Know About: Grit

How to Boost Your Resilience

4 Ways to Become a More Positive Thinker

Why Other Freelancers Should Be Your Best Friends

 Learn More About Fearless Freelancing

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How to Make Marketing a Habit that Sticks

Stand Out in a Sea of Freelancers: Your Brand

5 Secrets to Fearless Freelancing in a Recession

How to Be a Fearless Freelancer Despite the Recession

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