How To KonMari Your Freelancing Fears.

by Tara Fitness
KonMari Your Freelancing Fears

Using ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ on your mind.

Recently, I went all Marie Kondo on my business, discarding everything that didn’t ‘spark joy’ and leaving behind only the things that did. As a result, I’ve now revised my freelance offering to a single option – email marketing for medium to large online businesses. I’m feeling quietly confident that this decision will be the making of Tara Fitness (yes, I just referred to myself in the third person).

But… on the flip side, I’m packed full of freelancing fears.

I’ve failed at this online business caper before, closing my fitness coaching company in mid-2018 after burning through most of a house deposit trying to make it work. I’ve felt confident before and rounded out the week with $0 in the bank – not even enough to buy a litre of milk. So there’s part of me that knows it’s possible this venture will fail.

It's normal to have a truck-tonne of freelancing fears. But it's not ok to let them ruin your business. Don't! KonMari your mindset instead.
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It’s ok to be scared.

Scrolling through my various social media accounts, it’s clear that I’m not the only freelancer who’s worried, scared or even downright petrified.

A good friend of mine often used to say to me:

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

But what happens when the fear is crippling, clouding your judgement or impacting your decisions?

Like in my fitness business, if you allow this fear-filled inner monologue to reign supreme, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be walking away with your tail between your legs.

Now, it’s natural for you to have some freelancing fears, and for them to rear their ugly heads when you’re struggling. But how do you keep them in check so they don’t drag you off track.

The solution is simple… KonMari your fears.

How to KonMari your freelancing fears.

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo yet, you need to read this book…

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever

She’s an internationally renowned tidying expert with her own Netflix show and best selling book.

Marie Kondo helps people tidy their homes and keep it that way by following her KonMari method of tidying.

Here’s how to use it to tidy your fears:

1. Put your freelancing fears in one big pile.

When Marie Kondo helps people declutter their home, the first thing she has her clients do is put their clothes in a single pile.

Well, you can’t really pile up your freelancing fears on your living room floor. But you can grab a notebook and write them all down. Don’t try to deal with them, don’t try to find a solution… just jot down your list.

Here’s mine…

What if:

  • I run out of ideas?
  • My work isn’t good enough?
  • People are difficult to work with?
  • My anxiety shoots through the roof again?
  • I achieve everything I’ve ever wanted?

2. Hold each freelancing fear in your hand and assess.

Marie Kondo has her clients hold each item in their hands and ask themselves if it ‘sparks joy’. Now let’s be honest, fears aren’t really about joy. But we can still take a leaf out of the KonMari bible and adapt the method to dealing with fears.

Now you have your list of fears, sit with them one at a time and see how it feels. Then, when you’re ready, tell yourself why that fear is not as bad as the fear gremlins in your mind have led you to believe. Be sure to write down your comeback beside your list of fears.

2. Store everything in its rightful place.

Now you understand your freelancing fears and you’ve developed an immediate comeback, it’s time to plan ahead. In this step, Marie Kondo helps people create a storage space for everything in their home. Because when everything has a place, it’s far easier to stay clutter free.

In KonMari-ing your fears, you don’t need a storage space. The fear gremlins have that under control. But you do need a set of plans to ensure your comebacks continue to ring true.

So in step 3, write 2-3 ways you can support your comebacks with logic.

Confused? Example of how to overcome your freelancing fears.

I’ve taken my list of freelancing fears and completed steps 2 and 3. Perhaps some of your fears are the same as mine. If so, feel free to copy and paste directly in your KonMari fear busting worksheet.

What if I run out of ideas?

I’ve never run out of ideas before.

I’ve been writing online for 3 years now and I am yet to run out of ideas. Sure, sometimes I have fewer ideas than at other times, but in general, I always have something to write about because I follow these principles:

1. Live life and pay attention.

If your life is boring AF, you’ll probably find yourself short on ideas. This is why I like to work outside the house at least one day each week, generally in a cafe surrounded by other freelancers. I also have a rule that I must leave the house at least one day every weekend, and do something interesting or exciting. Some weekends it’s just clothes shopping or a trip to the farm shop with a cafe stop along the way. Other weekends I take a trip to London to see a West End musical. It doesn’t matter what I do, it just matters that I’m exposed to different stimuli.

2. Make time for idea creation.

A couple of afternoons a week, I stand in my ‘thinking spot’ and stare out the window, watching the world go by… and I think. I write down any idea that comes to me, whether it’s good, bad or downright horrible. Everything goes into my notebook.

Some days I have a plan for creation, like tackling a particular subject. Other days I let my mind wander. The important thing is I allocate time for this to happen. I cannot ideate and write at the same time. So without time for idea creation, I cannot write. As long as I continue to prioritise idea creation, I will never run out of ideas.

3. Write everything down.

Naturally, not all of my lightbulb moments happen during idea creation time. Instead, they happen at most inopportune moments, like driving or standing in the shower. While I can’t exactly write ideas down immediately, as soon as I can, I open my phone and jot down a few notes. I’d guess 25% of my ideas come from this process, so I damn sure won’t let them fly back into the depths of my brain, never to be revealed again.

What if my work isn’t good enough?

I wouldn’t have the support of my mentor, who earned 6-figures from email marketing last year, if he didn’t think I could do it.

Every time I let this freelancing fear get to me, one thing happens… I stop writing. When I stop writing, it’s not good enough, so I effectively let my fear create exactly what I fear. But every time I force myself to write, leave it to sit for 24 hours, then come back and read the piece, I’m pleasantly surprised.

I can write. I can write well. Because I follow these three rules.

1. Always be learning.

Whether it’s while I was running my online fitness business, in my social work roles way back when, as a volunteer firefighter or as a writer; I have made a commitment to always be learning. This comes in many forms, such as completing courses, reading books and blogs, and taking lessons from my mistakes. As long as I continue to keep an open mind, I will continue to improve. And this mindset of continual improvement is all you need to be good enough.

2. Practice makes better, editing makes perfect.

To call yourself a writer, you have to write. It’s that simple. I’ve been writing online for about 3 years now, more consistently for the last 12-months. Without the practice of publishing consistently on my blog and emailing my list over that time, there is no way I would be the writer I am today. In 2019, I’m aiming to write half a million words. To be honest, the year has started slow, but I’m still confident I will succeed.

That is, providing I continue to make time to edit. My first draft of this post was horrible and not even remotely helpful. In fact, it was pretty much a data dump of my emotions that will never see the light of day. However, through returning to this piece on a further five occasions, I’ve taken it from worthy of being used to mop up spilled coffee, to a publishable blog post.

3. Get a mentor (or two).

The final piece of my writing puzzle has been hiring a team of mentors to work with me. One of those mentors is an incredible copywriter, who’s happy to provide feedback on all of my work. In the last three months alone, his critiques have enabled me to significantly improve my writing.

Alongside him, I have another mentor who supports me through the psychological challenges of writing and running an online business. It’s common for entrepreneurs to feel significant stress and anxiety – both of which have played a big part in my business failures – and having someone to talk you through these times is priceless.

What if people are difficult to work with?

I’ll fire them, just like I did last time.

I always have an exit strategy, but I’d prefer not to use it.

1. End negative relationships.

I’ve had to end negative working relationships in the past. When it gets to the point where you’re afraid to check your email, you know it’s well and truly time to walk away, regardless of how much you need the money. And that’s where I found myself 12-months ago.

Read about it here –>

It was certainly a learning experience, the most important lesson being that I am now confident I can walk away from working relationships that aren’t working for me.

2. Set boundaries and expectations.

Hopefully, I won’t need to sever ties with future clients though, because I’ve learned it’s my responsibility to set boundaries with the clients and do my best to mould their expectations. I can do this by communicating effectively.

What if my anxiety shoots through the roof again?

I’ll identify the source of the problem and remove it. If I need more help, I’ll seek help.

I’m not ashamed of my mental health. I embrace it and in doing so, I’m able to ask for help when I need it.

1. Plan time for self-care and self-reflection.

One of the biggest changes I made to my business when I moved into copywriting was to prioritse my self-care. In my calendar, I now schedule training, thinking time, time with my partner and days off. This is incredibly important as I know building my life around solid self-care gives me a great foundation upon which to run my business.

In contrast, when I don’t make time for these things, everything falls apart. My writing quality dips, my body hurts and I struggle to follow my routine.

When I start to struggle, I always know it’s time to reassess where I’ve been spending my time. More often than not, I realise I need to re-prioritise self-care.

2. Seek mental health support if required.

I have depression and anxiety. I’m not ashamed of it. I am taking medication to stabilise my conditions and it’s working well. I’ve also made a commitment to seeking psychological support regularly. Many a time I attend an appointment thinking I’m great and finish my session realising I had a lot to talk about.

I know I always have the ability to increase the frequency of my sessions, and recently, I’ve become far more attuned to understanding when I need to see my psychologist.

What if I achieve everything I’ve ever wanted.

Well now that… that is the scariest feeling of all, because I’ve never achieved everything I’ve ever wanted. But I’m willing to find out what it feels like.

To keep me on track, I’m doing these three things:

1. Understand your ultimate goal.

Because I understand my ultimate goal, I can run every decision through a filter of ‘will this take me closer to, or further away from my goal’. This is a strategy my mentor, Alex Mullan, talks about a lot. And it’s a perfect decision-making tool. If it’ll take you closer to your goal, do it. If not, let it go. It’s that simple.

In my case, my ultimate goal is to build an eco-friendly, self-sufficient house on our family farm. My partner will have a veritable zoo of farm animals and I’ll have a veggie garden (which someone else looks after or I’ll kill the plants) that I can pick fresh produce from daily, and cook tasty, healthy meals.

We’ll fund this lifestyle with a portfolio of properties, only working when we want to, not because we have to.

2. Identify what it takes to achieve it.

It’s not enough to simply know what your ultimate goal looks like. You have to know what it’ll take to get there. These are the mid-term goals.

In my case, I need to save the money to buy my first property, and the money to buy the next… and so on.

That’s where copywriting comes in.

3. Consistently complete the tasks that’ll make it happen.

The third and final step is to identify the daily, weekly and monthly tasks that’ll bring the highest return on investment of both money and time. These are the tasks that build now, in order to prepare for the future.

All that’s left for me is to keep doing my high-ROI tasks day in, day out. And perhaps… just maybe… it might be my time to succeed.

If you’re struggling to get a handle on your freelancing fears:

It’s time to KonMari your fears. In doing so, you’ll instantly feel calmer and more in control. More importantly, you’ll feel ready to take your first giant leap towards your ultimate goal.

Here’s to our future!

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