Go back to home page of Unsolicited Advice from Tiffany B. Brown

On freelancing

I don't trust easily and assume the worst. I rarely ever feel secure, safe, or happy. Asking for help embarrasses and intimidates me. Self-promotion makes me feel gross. I'm not sure people will like me. And I almost never believe things will ever work out.

Somehow, despite all of this, I ended up freelancing.

Freelance work tests every one of my fears and hang-ups. Every. Single One. I have to trust that people will pay me, and pay me on time. I have to trust that I am not setting expectations that I can't meet. I have to ask people to help me earn a living by asking for work and promoting my skill-set.

Most of all — and this is the hardest of all — I have to trust that things will all work out.

Self-confidence does not come easy to me. Every pulled project, every stall, every rejection, feels like a personal insult or a commentary on my worth as a developer. I have to remind myself that budgets dry up, clients hire full-time staff, and someone is always promising to do it faster and cheaper. It's not easy, though, especially when you are faced with a dry month of no work and a dwindling bank balance.

I am still learning how to do this. I'm experimenting with what to charge and how best to price a project. I'm figuring out how and where to market myself. I'm tinkering with my service and product offerings. I'm running a business, while also trying to find the time to boost my technical skills should I ever have to become an employee once more.

Now despite the somber tone, this post is actually meant to celebrate a milestone: my freelance web development business turned one in July. This journey continues to test me and push me beyond my comfort zone. Even with this persistent sense of fear and personal failure nestled in my belly, I am happier than I've been in quite some time.