Is Comparison Sabotaging Your Freelance Writing Business?

Admit it.

You’ve stumbled upon another freelancer’s writer site and felt a little intimidated by the snazzy design, top-notch client testimonials, and impressive accomplishments.

Is Comparison Sabotaging Your Freelance Writing Business?

Don’t feel ashamed. I’ve been there.

I nearly tripped and disappeared into the black hole of comparison sabotage while transitioning my personal blog into one that promotes my freelance writing business. I felt my blog and writing career could never compare to the skill and achievements of other established writers.

So, I figured – why even try?

We’ve all heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I learned in the freelancing world, comparison is the thief of dreams and productivity.

While all comparison isn’t bad, comparing and then feeling inadequate or letting someone else’s journey impact your own will have a damaging effect on your confidence and stunt the growth of your business.

Here’s what to remember if you’re feeling stuck in the comparison hamster wheel:

We’re All Playing With a Separate Deck of Cards

You give yourself an unfair disadvantage when comparing your skillset (i.e. cards) to someone who’s been in the game far longer than you. Comparing a fine-tuned business against the bootstrapping stages of your own is an uneven playing field.

Furthermore, no two business owners are alike.

Even if you start freelancing the exact day and minute another writer does, you both bring unique experiences, expertise, connections, personality traits, and skills to your work that simply can’t be compared.

But most importantly, someone else’s accomplishments don’t diminish your own. Instead of worrying about how you stack up, you could be learning how to leverage your trump card to move forward.

Competitors Are Actually Your Comrades

The close cousin to comparison is competition. Comparing yourself to other freelancers can trick your mind into thinking you’re competing against them.

This can even lead to a poverty mindset in freelancing; the mentality that there aren’t enough assignments or opportunities to go around, so fierce competition is needed.

The truth is, alienating yourself from other freelancers because of perceived competition can hurt your growth and exposure. Competitors are your comrades especially when it comes to freelance writing online. You can network and partner up for marketing outreach (think guest posting swaps, podcasts, webinars, etc.).

You can even get assignments from other freelancers. Some of my best client work has come from freelancers sending me referrals. And I never hesitate to send work that’s not a good fit for me to my freelance buddies.


Comparison Can Impact Self-Awareness

With social media, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the movements of other business owners. And doing too much comparison during the growth and transition stages of your business can be a major setback.

By growth stages I’m talking about when you’re choosing a niche, launching your website and pounding the pavement for work. And then later on when you concentrate on leveling up, moving into product development or increasing rates.

During these times you don’t want to be too influenced by someone else’s path. You should focus on your strengths, voice and unique value proposition to produce your best work.

Letting someone’s direction impact your own doesn’t give you a fair chance to discover your unique talents and how you can position them to earn money.

What to Do If You Find Yourself Comparing

Comparison is part of being human.

It’s probably not something that either of us can avoid, but you can do it constructively. Always keep in mind that someone else succeeding has no impact on your ability to succeed as well, so never give up (like I almost did).

Seeing another business owner killin’ it can give you the motivation to keep going even through the blood, sweat, and tears. If you see someone breaking down doors in your niche or industry, that’s simply proof it’s possible. You can do it, too!

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with unplugging. If you feel a twinge of comparison sabotage while scrolling through your timeline, give yourself a breather to get realigned with your purpose.

Over to you – how have you dealt with feelings of inadequacy?

Taylor K. Gordon is a freelance writer and HBIC (head blogger in charge) at Tay Talks Money where she talks candidly about saving and making more money. Her passion is providing a transparent platform for aspiring business owners to discuss successes and struggles of hustling. Taylor has been featured on The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, The Write Life and contributes regularly to MagnifyMoney. For an inside look at how she turned her personal blog into one the promotes her writing business, check out her free mini-ebook From Hobby Blog to Hustle Blog.

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I am that person who literally stumbled many a more times in the free lancing writing sector. I lost hope many a more times and then again I stood up and waited patiently to see a golden result. Though your post is way too inspiring and it boosts up my mind as I am going through a tough time to establish something of my own. Thanks Taylor!Reply to Hafiz
Glad you found this helpful Hafiz! We all stumble, it’s the rebound that counts!Reply to Taylor
Tay, Amen! You are filled with wisdom gurl! Even though I’ve been doing this for two years, I still feel that twinge of comparison creep up every now and then. That’s when I just gotta keep my head down and keep hustlin’ and workin’ 🙂Reply to Elna
Thanks!!! And me too! Otherwise it’s too easy to get lost in the sauce.Reply to Taylor
Hi Taylor, Great post! I was just thinking about writing on it the other day…dealing with a bad case of imposter syndrome! It’s hard to not compare, as you said we’re only human. When I’m feeling super inadequate I remind myself of all the things I HAVE accomplished and try to remember I am only getting started. Not fair to punish yourself by comparing your beginning to someone else’s ending. Thanks for this!Reply to Jennee
Thanks Jennee! That’s an excellent way to go about it! Measuring your past to your present is a much more accurate way of productively seeing the strides you’ve made.Reply to Taylor