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.
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?