How Your Mind Impacts Your Freelance Writing Earnings [Part 1]

mindset and thinking

You are the owner of the most complex thing in the world: a brain.

It’s right there, in your head, but although it’s always with you, it either works to help you thrive, or it will drive you to failure.

Friend. Or foe.

It all depends on how its been programmed, and how much of it is faulty…

Although it rules your existence in terms of health, relationships, emotions and freelance writing success, like all of us, it’s unlikely you understand how it works, and more importantly in this case, how it impacts your freelance writing earning capability.

And so it is necessary to understand how your brain will enable you, or disable you.

Why freelance writers fail

According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, within 5 years, you will either succeed or fail at freelance writing. And the primary reasons are due to:

  1. A lack of focus around what matters
  2. Not motivated enough; no passion
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. Being too prideful to be teachable
  5. Listening and taking the advice of the wrong people
  6. Not having a good mentor to help guide you
  7. Not thinking of your freelance writing as a business, so you don’t treat it like a business and therefore you lack general business knowledge: finance, operations, and marketing skills


How the brain works

Think of your brain as computer hardware; the physical box; this is the conscious mind, diving about 5% of your daily activities.

Your subconscious is the operating system which drives the conscious part of your mind – that which you are aware of, unlike the subconscious part of the mind which most of us are unaware of.

Here’s the thing: the subconscious drives about 95% of our lives.

The scary thing about this is that the subconscious mind is not reasonable, logical or analytical.

It stores everything that comes into the mind. And let’s face it, there is a lot of stuff that shouldn’t be getting past the hardware and into the software (subconscious) which operates just about every part of our body!

Let me illustrate. Jason, a young man who had experienced extreme lifelong trauma, was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Shell Shock. Like all families, there were times when Jason and those close to him would have a disagreement.

In those times, Jason would flare up and accuse the other person of being or doing something that was not true. In fact, one day during an argument, he became verbally abusive to his sister, pulling off and breaking the headphones on her ears.

She got up, hit him on the chest and angrily told him to “stop it”. On recall, he believed she had tried to strangle him, which was not the truth. He still believes she tried to strangle him, while she had only given him a smack on the chest.

During flare-ups, Jason’s subconscious would take over, driving his behaviour and perceptions.

But he doesn’t yet realize that. Could you too have subconscious thoughts driving your actions, but which you are not aware of?

There are thoughts and emotions that are sitting in your subconscious, driving your beliefs, ruling your life, and because so many of them are unhealthy, they’re limiting your success.

The subconscious is so powerful that it can alter your body’s physiology!

Your subconscious mind also tries to protect you by keeping you “safe” from change, which is why the majority of people resist change.

The subconscious drives your emotions, just as it did Jason’s in the story I just told.

It houses imagination, creativity and creates and maintains habits.

It is not rational, or analytical. It can’t distinguish between right and wrong and believes everything as truth.

When a person is deeply emotionally wounded, they react (the flare-up as in the case of Jason), instead of respond, because the subconscious, filled with deadly thought patterns, takes control and rules behaviour.

How your mindset affects your earnings

If you’re going to fail at building a business, it’s going to start with the way you think.

Because even if you lack core skills, if your mind is in the right place, you can overcome anything.

In life, and specifically in business, qualifications are nothing compared to the way you think.

Now, as an online freelance writer, you’re up against a lot of competition. To make it, you’ve really got to want this. Or need it badly. And you’ve got to be prepared to work on your mindset.

Here’s the thing: when you start a freelance writing business, writing is not the only skill you need. In fact, it’s only half of it!

If you think a freelance writing business is just about writing, then you’ve got a new think coming I’m afraid.

It’s not.

For example: you could be the most proficient writer in the world, but if no one knows about you, you won’t get jobs.

So if you have decided that freelance writing is going to be your Thing, then you need to set yourself up for success. And the foundation of success begins with the way you think.

Here are thought processes that are typical of many freelance writers, and these will all negatively impact your earnings:

    • “I should apply for more freelance writing jobs” – this shows that you’re still in employee thinking mode, otherwise you would go and find clients just as any other service related business finds clients.
    • “I don’t have enough experience for that job” – many freelance writers feel like they’re a fraud because they don’t have experience in some or other area. Yes, you need to fulfill promises to a client, but be careful you don’t think you can’t do something just because you don’t have experience in it.
    • “I really don’t enjoy this client, but I will have to put up with it” – if a client makes life difficult, or gives you issues about payment, fire them. This is business and any other business would not put up with it.
    • “I must give the completed work without a watermark, because otherwise the client will think I’m only doing this to get paid” – um, yes, that’s right, you are only doing the job to get paid, because you are not a charity; you are a business.
    • “I will never make enough to have the kind of life I dream of” – if you think that way, you can be sure your subconscious will keep it a reality.
    • “Why can’t I get jobs? I apply for so many and just get rejected all the time” – well, the truth is that maybe your writing sucks. Or you are not giving a proposal that showcases why you are the right person for the job. Whatever it is, if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, you’ll keep getting the same results over and over again. If you’re not getting jobs, remove yourself from the situation emotionally and ask yourself what you may need to do to get jobs. Then go do it.
    • “If I increased my rates, I won’t get the jobs” – you may not get the job on freelance boards, that is true, but source work by other means. If you think like that, you are demonstrating to yourself that your work is not worthy; that it is not of real value. And so your clients will think that too.
    • “I don’t want to seem invasive by pitching” – do big businesses allow their reps not to fulfill their earnings quota because they don’t want to seem invasive? No. Again, treat your freelance writing service as if it’s the business it is.

Is your mind set up for freelance writing success? Find out with this quiz:

Take action!

What are some ways your thinking limits your success? Jot them down, then get ready for part 2 of the “How Your Mindset Impacts Your Freelance Writing Earnings” which will explain how you can retrain your brain to earn more.

This is a 2-part series. Continue to part 2 here.

Posted by Claire Carradice

Claire Carradice is a freelance writer specialising in SEO blog posts and case studies for the digital marketing, business, SEO and HR/recruitment industries. She coaches fellow freelance writers to market themselves better and build strong businesses around content.

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