Diana Kelly Levey

Stop Being a Perfectionist. It’s Hurting Your Freelance Career

woman checking phone with laptop in front of her

April 26, 2019

I met a young woman last year who was laid off from her job and told me that she was starting a fashion blog. When I asked her the name of it and how it was going,  she told me she didn’t launch it because she couldn’t settle on a name and what  the blog should look lik.

She mentioned to me that she also wanted to write for fashion magazines, but was stuck thinking, ‘First, I need to have my blog up to show the editors what I can write. Then, I’ll be able to pitch editors.’

While I admired that she had goals, I encouraged her to just launch her site with a name she was okay with. It didn’t need to be the Most Clever Fashion Blog Name Ever, or have the Best Design surrounding her content.

She wasn’t making any money because she was stuck in the perfectionist thinking phase of creating a business, and probably feeling a bit scared as well.

I can understand and have been there myself.

My advice? Just take action. Get something going. Create a website and post one blog this week. (Here are Freelance Pitches That Worked if you want to see examples.)

This woman was in good company.  When I meet recent college graduates, wannabe writers, or full-time working professionals at events, I find that many people I talk to also want to work for themselves as a freelancer, launch a blog, or start a side hustle and get into the gig economy but don’t know how to get started freelance writing. I love to hear that! I’m always happy to chat with people about freelance writing or creating a business you can do from home that you’re passionate about.

People often tell me that they’re stuck. And it’s often on something simple, like a business name, or defining what their business is on a business card. (Do you have the skills to become a six-figure freelancer? Find out here.)

Here’s How a Perfectionist Mindset is Getting in the  Way of Your Success as a Freelancer

Determining what your business is and does is extremely important. You should give thought to it, research your competitors, and figure out what your “elevator pitch” would be. But, don’t let a business name, or a business card design, or website design and color scheme hold you back from launching.

Produce something tangible, like a business card, and an online presence, like a website, blog or portfolio should someone research you.

Another friend of mine wanted to start a side business in the jewelry industry. She was meeting potential clients in her social circles and telling them about a service she’s offering, but she didn’t have a business card to hand them when she left. She told me that she wasn’t sure what to call her business, or how to describe it on a card, and she didn’t have a website up yet. I told her to just take a small step and order business cards that had her name, contact information, and mention something like “Jewelry Consultant” on them. The design doesn’t have to be perfect; you don’t need your business name ironed out right now. Design simple business cards from Vistaprint or Moo and have something you can pass along so people can get in touch with you later.

In the 15 years, I’ve been freelance writing, I’ve ordered at least four different types of business cards and changed different elements on them to reflect the services I was offering. If I got new ones I was excited about, I threw out or recycled old ones.

My point is, whenever I went out and met someone new, if we discussed business, I gave them a way of getting in touch with me. This is more universally accepted in the professional world than saying, “I don’t have business cards, can I add my cell to your phone?” (BTW, if you’re out and don’t have cards, consider connecting on LinkedIn so you can get in touch through a professional social network.)

This is why in my Freelance Writing Online Course “Get Paid to Write: Become a Freelance Writer,” I encourage students to draft a pitch email to an editor with an article idea as part of the course.  You’ve committed to an idea of bettering yourself or building your business, so don’t let details get in the way of taking an actionable step. Find out why I started freelance writing while working full time.

SEE: The Trick for Coming Up with New Article Ideas

What’s holding you back in your freelance career? Share this post or email me about your hold-ups. I offer one-on-one coaching and may be able to help.

I challenge you this week to take action on something that will improve your business and make you feel accomplished. Feel free to let me know in the comments or via email (Diana@DianaKelly.com) what small step you’ll take to build your business this week.

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Diana can help with:

  • Writing content
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Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.