How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome as a Freelancer
Freelance proofreading and editing are great options for those seeking a flexible and freeing career, but it’s easy to start doubting yourself and your skills without the support a regular job provides. This makes freelancers particularly susceptible to imposter syndrome.
In this post, we’ll talk about what imposter syndrome is, how it might affect you as a freelancer, and some helpful tips for how to deal with it.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you’re a fraud in a particular area of your life, regardless of your actual skills, abilities, and achievements.
If you suffer from imposter syndrome, you may think that you have somehow tricked others into believing you are more competent at your profession than you really are, and you may fear you’ll be exposed as an imposter.
While not a diagnosable mental health condition, imposter syndrome can negatively impact your life in a variety of ways. You may experience:
- Reduced confidence in yourself and your abilities
- Reluctance to take on new clients or projects
- Perfectionism and subsequent burnout
- Worsening mental health, depression, and social anxiety
Most freelancers will experience imposter syndrome at some point in their careers. Fortunately, there are ways to combat these feelings. We’ve outlined a few of our top tips for dealing with imposter syndrome below.
Tips for Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
1. Keep Track of Your Achievements
It’s an established fact that bad memories are often easier to recall than good ones. As a result, you probably remember your failures better than your successes, which may in turn contribute to imposter syndrome.
Keeping a record of things you’re proud of, then, can provide a reality check and help keep these feelings at bay.
Write a list of your accomplishments, whether that’s learning a new skill, obtaining a job, or meeting a difficult deadline, and display it somewhere to remind yourself of all you’ve achieved so far.
2. Get Real Feedback
One of the most effective ways to combat imposter syndrome is to look at actual feedback on your work.
Try asking previous clients for their thoughts and feedback on the services you’ve offered. A good client review or testimonial will provide you with concrete evidence of your skills (for yourself and potential clients). You’ll be less likely to listen to that little voice telling you that you’re a terrible proofreader, for example, if you’ve got a client testimonial in front of you saying the exact opposite.
Even if you receive negative feedback, you can use it as a way to identify where you can improve, and then take practical steps to develop your skills and counteract any feelings of inadequacy.
3. Reach Out to Other Freelancers
Unlike more traditional jobs, working as a freelancer means you won’t usually have a team of people to work alongside. This can be isolating and further contribute to feelings of inadequacy.
By networking with other freelancers, you can establish a support group of people who can offer you constructive criticism and advice on all aspects of freelancing.
And given that as many as 80% of people have experienced imposter syndrome, the chances are you’ll find freelancers that have struggled with similar issues and can help you to overcome them.
4. Remember the “Work” in “Working from Home”
If you’re freelancing from home, it can be easy to treat work as something you do when you feel like it. While this might sound ideal at first, it can contribute to the feeling that your work and achievements aren’t legitimate.]
Instead, you should approach working from home as professionally as you would any other job. This might involve:
- Establishing a home office or workspace
- Setting a clear schedule of work hours (including breaks) to maintain a healthy work-life balance
- Creating separate personal and professional emails and social media accounts
Doing so will help your freelance career seem more “real” and prevent you from feeling like an imposter.
5. Gain a Qualification as Evidence of Your Skills
While you don’t need any formal qualifications to work as a freelance editor, taking a course or earning a certificate can help you prove to yourself that you have the necessary skills.
By completing our Becoming A Proofreader and Becoming An Editor courses, you can be sure that you have what it takes to work as a freelance proofreader or editor. This is why we offer guaranteed work to anyone who earns a distinction grade in Becoming A Proofreader and passes Becoming An Editor.