How to overcome anxiety and follow your freelance dreams

Want to go freelance but can’t pluck up the courage? Find out how to overcome your anxiety and launch a successful freelance career.

Making the decision to leave your job and start out on your own can feel incredibly daunting. Some women are confident in their decision and never look back, however many find themselves wracked with anxiety and self-doubt, questioning whether they have made the right choices and whether their solo career will be a success.

A certain amount of nerves and anxiety are a natural response to making such a life-changing decision. However the good news is that you can overcome them and go on to enjoy a successful freelance career. Here’s how.

Be prepared

The cub scouts’ motto Be Prepared is just as valid in professional environments, and is one of the best ways to overcome any anxiety you are experiencing.

If you can, have a series of prepared and practiced responses to the situations you are likely to find yourself in. Know what you want to say, what services you can offer, and how much you will charge. (Having your elevator pitch ready is one of the best ways to get started.)

It’s amazing how much this level of preparation can help to diminish anxiety – having an awareness of what you can do to help minimise the symptoms of the condition can help, both with your overall mental health and your career progression in the long run.

Celebrate every achievement

Freelancing success doesn’t happen overnight, and it would be unrealistic to expect to grow a successful business immediately. However that doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate every achievement (however minor) on your path to success.

Setting clear goals that you wish to achieve, and timelines for achieving them, gives you something tangible to focus on. Ensure that the goals you set are realistic and attainable, and then do something to celebrate when they are achieved – this can be something as simple as the satisfaction of ticking them off a list, to taking a break for coffee and cake.

Celebrating your achievements helps you to focus on how far you have come and how much you have already attained.


Extensive research has found that meditation can help to overcome and reduce the effects of anxiety. You can meditate anywhere (including in your office space) and quickly calm your nerves and improve focus.

If you are feeling particularly anxious about what your day entails, then take a few moments to breathe deeply, focus on your achievements, and visualise your success. Focusing your mind on what you need to do will help to reduce any stress that you are experiencing.

Stay connected with your clients

Maintaining connections with your clients can be difficult if you struggle with communication anxiety. But actually, staying connected with your clients and keeping on top of their needs can actually help to reduce your levels of stress and anxiety, because you know what to expect and what is going to happen next.

Clients can become anxious themselves if they are kept in the dark about progress on their projects, especially if they are lengthy projects. Sending them regular email or phone updates will reduce anxiety levels on both sides, and keep your projects and client relationships on track.

Put everything into perspective

Finally, although it isn’t always easy when you’re in the grips of an anxiety or panic attack, it’s important to put everything into perspective. You’re just trying to answer a phone call or prepare for a meeting – it’s hardly a life and death decision.

If your phone call doesn’t go as you expected it to, then just take a deep breath and call another client. One bad phone call or meeting isn’t going to end your freelancing career, so it’s important to keep perspective and focus on what is truly important. Take a deep breath, and pick up that phone!

Need more freelance advice?

If you’re thinking of going freelance, you’ll find more helpful tips in these articles:

Written by Ann Gage.