Freelance success begins with mindset

Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – either way you’re right.”

It’s one of those quotes that make you think before you understand what it means. But when you finally get it, it’s one of those “Ah ha!” moments.

What Ford was talking about was “mindset.” It’s the idea that the way you think affects the way you act and, therefore, what you are able to accomplish. This is directly related to being a freelance copywriter or designer.

If you think you can’t make much money as a freelancer, you won’t. If you think no one will believe in your skills, they won’t. If you think you can’t leave your job because you’re just not good enough to make it on your own, then you’ll never even try.

Perception is reality.

When I started out, I was an employee working for low wages. I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to get a better job, let alone quit and freelance. But one day I stared thinking about my family doctor and how he did business. He was well educated. He had a valuable set of skills that were in demand. And he worked for himself. I realized that the only difference between his situation and mine was that he thought of himself as a professional and I didn’t.

So I changed my thinking. It wasn’t easy, I admit. The whole world was ready to remind me every day that freelancing was something you did only when you couldn’t find a real job. But the more I thought about it and the more I observed professionals, such as accountants or lawyers, the more I became convinced that it was my mindset that was holding me back.

It took years for me to achieve anything like “professional” status, but it all started with getting my head screwed on straight about what freelancing could be if I thought about it in the right way.

How do you view yourself? Do you think of yourself as a worker or a professional?

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7 Responses to “Freelance success begins with mindset”

  1. Ken McGuire ( on May 21st, 2008 11:32 am

    Hey Dean (hope it’s Dean!),

    Well put post. I’m a firm believer that you’ve got to put yourself in a successful mindset when it comes to working for yourself. If you’ve got the confidence to make a change in your working life and go out on your own then I feel the rest will fall into place. There’s an awful lot to be said about the power of positive thought, having the faith, confidence and abilities to get the job done at the end of the day.

    Confidence breeds confidence and confidence breeds success, it’s putting yourself in that frame of mind that counts the most.

    All the best,


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  3. Janice C Cartier on May 21st, 2008 1:10 pm

    One of my favorite quotes. Mindset has all to do with it. When someone asks what I do, I say I am a professional artist, followed quickly by, yes, the real deal.

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  5. Jeremy Fishman on June 16th, 2008 2:52 pm

    I’m a junior at the University of Rochester, majoring in Creative Writing. This post is hope to me, since I’m about to begin drifting as a freelancer soon!

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