How I Overcame Self-Doubt As A Freelancer

Am I good enough?

Why would anyone hire me?

There are so many other people who can do this better than me.

I’m a fool to think I could actually make it on my own.

How can I call myself an expert?

What if my clients find out I’m a fraud?

ENOUGH.

It’s time to talk about the fatal flaw of freelancing: Self-doubt.

It’s natural to question yourself. It’s natural to think negatively. It’s natural to compare yourself to others.

But just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

It’s time to confront your self-doubt and work towards a more positive way of thinking.

You work hard. You are good at this. You are unique and after you finish reading this article, you are going to be the one to empower yourself to do all of the amazing things you want to do.

I want you to know that I’m writing this article because I’ve been where you are.

I’ve doubted myself, told myself I’m not good enough and there have even been days where I convinced myself that I’m the last person anyone should hire. I’ve spent days questioning myself so much that I literally got nothing accomplished, further perpetuating my internal mean girl.

Seriously Audrey, a fifth grader can write better than you.

Enough, Regina!

It’s difficult for me to think back on this time in my life and realize that the only thing holding me back was me. I had become so consumed with doubt that I wasn’t even giving myself the chance to try.

Everyone is different but in this article I’m going to share how I overcame my self-doubt by taking one simple step.

Acknowledging it.

When it comes to “negative” feelings, the natural reaction for most people is to ignore that they’re even there. But just like any other problem, ignoring it will only make things worse. In order to overcome my self-doubt, I had to be able to acknowledge it existed in the first place.

Here’s what I want you to do: The next time you experience doubt for yourself in any capacity, answer these three questions:

  • When was the first moment I realized I was doubting myself?

  • What was I attempting to do before I doubted I could do it?

  • Why don’t I think I can succeed at this task?

Do this two or three times and I’m confident you’ll start to notice a pattern.

I would continuously doubt myself when I would secure new clients and start putting together scopes of work. I was somehow convincing myself that I didn’t deserve what I worked hard for and that really, I was a scam artist who would inevitably be found out and fall flat on her face. I was literally sabotaging myself for being successful! Who does that?

Now that you’ve acknowledged what’s creating your self-doubt, it’s time to change your way of thinking. Now I want you to answer these two questions:

  • Why was I attempting this task in the first place?

  • How will I be successful at completing this task?

Chances are you were attempting this task because it’s something you’re good at, excited to do or know will progress your business in a forward direction. It’s important to flip the script on ourselves and ask all of the reasons why WE CAN do the things we set out to do. The reasons why will often outweigh the reasons why not and give us a friendly reminder to help keep us on a positive track.

Repeat these steps until you’re able to remind yourself of all of the positive reasons you’re able to do what you set out to do so fast that you stop experiencing self-doubt all together.

If you find yourself needing reinforcements, add the following practices to your routine.

Keeping yourself busy

I recently watched a video from Marie Forleo where she compared self sabotage to an idle computer. Her approach suggests that we experience self-doubt when our minds go idle and that in order to snap back we simply need to press our internal space bar and get back to work. By keeping ourselves busy, we don’t allow ourselves the time to let doubt creep into our minds in the first place.

Practicing positive affirmations

I’m a big believer in positive affirmations. It’s good to have a personal mantra we can speak to ourselves when we’re experiencing doubt or need a self-provided pick me up.

Here are a few examples of ones I say to myself often:

  • I am in control of what makes me happy.

  • I am capable of anything I put my mind to.

  • I am grateful for the opportunity to do good work.

  • I’ve got this.

Finding your squad

Surround yourself with people who lift you up, who remind you of why you’re on this wild freelance ride in the first place. Lean on those people to remind you of all the reasons you’re capable and awesome and talented.

If we’re anything alike (and I’m sure we are), you’ve got no problem being there when your friends need you. You’re constantly picking up the phone and responding to text messages reminding your friends of just how bad ass they are when they start to doubt themselves.

Your friends will be there for you, too. Find your squad and lean on them when you need support.


AUDREY ADAIR IS THE FOUNDER OF ‘THE SCOPE’ AND A GLOBAL FREELANCE COMMUNICATIONS PROFESSIONAL. SHE STARTED ‘THE SCOPE’ TO PROVIDE RESOURCES AND COMMUNITY TO FREELANCERS AND THE SELF-EMPLOYED. CONNECT WITH AUDREY ON INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE AND LINKEDIN.