Starting Out

How Can I Freelance When Dealing With Anxiety?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 31% of all adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life.

Dealing with anxiety can make having a corporate job incredibly difficult, which is why I’m sure you’ve decided to become a freelancer.

How Can I Freelance When Dealing With Anxiety?

The thought of making your own schedule and taking days off as you’d like without having to ask a supervisor sounds appealing. However, you also have to learn how to deal with anxiety that is making you question how you’d be successful as a freelancer.

How can you become a successful freelancer when dealing with anxiety?

It makes you feel overwhelmed at the thought of all you’d need to do, if you even know how much needs to be done before you become whatever you define as successful.

How can you become a successful freelancer with serious anxiety? Let’s go over the 3 steps I use to become a successful freelancer and how I learned how to control anxiety. Let’s get started, shall we?

Dealing With Anxiety as a Freelancer

1. Figure Out What Your Goals are for Freelancing and Develop a Plan of Action

If you’re anxious like me and learning how to cope with anxiety, figuring out how to get from point A to point B can be overwhelming. It can cause quite a bit of crippling anxiety for you, which definitely doesn’t feel good.

I came across this a bit when I first started freelancing back in August 2016. I took any job that I could get my hands on, even if the pay was lower than what I’d normally take.

This is why you need to figure out what your goals are for your freelance job.

Do you want it to take over for your employment or do you want to travel? For me, the answer is both.

Whatever your goals may be, take some time to write them out along with why you decided to become a freelancer. Put this in a place that is easily accessible for the harder times you may come across.

Figure out what you want to do and who you want to work with. As a freelancer, you are officially your own boss.

You don’t work FOR people, you work WITH people. This is why you’ll want to get into that right mindset.

Once you figure out what you want to do, who you want to help, and why you want to help people, it’s time to figure out a game plan on how to get some clients and achieve your dreams while you learn how to control your anxiety.

This is the part that overwhelmed me so much when I first started. I did whatever any mentor told me to do without stopping to think about what feels good for ME.

You can email people about what they can improve without being salesy or pushy or you can interact with them on social media until you get their attention. You could even do like I did at one point in 2017 and hand out flyers to local businesses in your area to get their attention.

Take as much time on this step as you need to ensure that you’re taking the right steps.

Also make sure to listen to your intuition. If it’s telling you that something doesn’t feel right, stop taking that action and find one that better suits your needs.

2. Take Steps Toward Reaching Your Goals Without Feeling Overwhelmed at the Bigger Picture

This is the step that tripped me up for almost 3 years.

I would look at the bigger picture of leaving my corporate job and I would begin to hyperventilate with anxiety with questions of how I was going to get to my destination circling in my mind.

I was wondering how I’d ever get to my goal of completely supporting myself on my freelancing income without worrying about where the income was coming in from. This is where having a solid foundation in terms of a plan of action comes into play.

You want to make sure that you’re taking the right steps toward reaching your goal.

You also want to make sure that you’re taking steps that aren’t overwhelming you because during this time you are dealing with anxiety. You want to feel comfortable but also motivated, which is why it’s okay to take baby steps toward your goals.

As long as you’re moving forward each day, that’s all that matters.

Don’t look at everything you have to do or you’ll end up overwhelming yourself. You’ll burn yourself out before you’ve even reached your freelancing goal. I don’t want that and I’m sure you wouldn’t either.

3. Make Sure to Plan a Day or Two for Self-Care and Relaxation, Especially if You’re Starting to Feel Overwhelmed

I’m one of those perfectionist types with my freelancing jobs and I’m also the type of person who likes to wait to take a break until I’m done with the task at hand.

Because of that, I used to not take as much time as needed for self-care. I’d run myself into the ground and burn myself out a lot quicker.

I don’t want you to do the same things I used to so please take a day or two away from your computer if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed in any way and struggle working with anxiety.

Schedule that self-care time on days that feels best for you. Even if it’s a certain amount of time each day, you’ll want to schedule some down time to release the tension a business can create for someone with anxiety.

Don’t be afraid to take time off for physical illness as well. Don’t be hard enough on yourself that you run yourself into the ground.

Your Business, Your Rules

While dealing with anxiety may make you second-guess yourself like nothing else can, that doesn’t mean you can’t build a successful freelance business.

You just have to have a great business foundation in place and goals to work toward, a plan of action to keep that foundation in place, and time set aside for yourself so you don’t burn yourself out before you reach your freelancing goals.

Your business is more than attainable, though it may take more time than others due to your anxiety. I just want you to remember one thing: you’ve got this!

Everything will fall into place in its own time; just stay in your own lane and keep moving forward. I’m handing it over to you – what has working with anxiety stopped you from doing in your freelance jobs?

Lisa provides blog post writing services for creatively-minded marketing agencies so they can focus on gaining new clients and forming new relationships. You can find her on Twitter here or more about her on her website here.

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Thanks Lisa! I love this post. It really resonated with me, as I’m on my own journey of building a freelancing business while having anxiety. There are some awesome things here to take away.Reply to Teagan
Hi Teagan, I’m so glad I could help! I know all too well how hard it can be to freelance when you have anxiety, especially when you’re trying to get new clients. I’m still going through that myself on occasion so I’m glad I can help someone going through what I have.Reply to Lisa