Freelancing was an idea I’d toyed with for a little while before it ended up happening. In fact, I had pretty big ideas that moving to London was going to be the thing that did it for me, completely underestimating how much money I’d actually need to earn over there.
So for a variety of reasons it stayed on the backburner for a couple of years, until I left London and moved back to Australia. By that time, it was less of a “should I?” and more of a “I’d be stupid not to”.
Very recently a wonderful friend of mine said to me in a moment of self doubt, “but, how do I know if I’m good enough to start?”. And I know that sounds like one of those things people make up in order to have something to write about, but it’s legit! I swear!
Before I went freelance, there was always some vague reason why now wasn’t the right time.
I needed more money. I needed more time.
I needed more practice. I needed more qualifications. I needed more training.
I needed more followers. I needed a bigger, better portfolio. I needed more reach.
I needed more, more, more.
There’s no ending for that kind of thinking. It wasn’t like I had actually set a tangible goal, a signpost for when the time would be right. I didn’t say when I have 300 followers or 6 items in my portfolio I would start pitching, or I would accept clients or post profiles on freelancer dot com.
Because really, by not setting a tangible goal like that, there’s no chance I could fail.
I was simply protecting myself from failure, and by extension, from the confirmation that I might not be good enough. Because in my mind, failure = not good enough. It doesn’t matter that there’s a million reasons why a business might fail; the only reason that mattered was that I wasn’t good enough.
So I didn’t try.
Until something changed. Simply, my desire outgrew my fear.
When I moved back to Australia, my employer wanted to keep me on as a freelancer as they’d struggled to find my replacement. That was an amazing opportunity and put me in a very privileged position to be able to step straight into freelancing with a regular income straight away. But I could have easily left it there and continued to coast on the easy income. Or I could have found another job. I could have let my fear stop me from trying, again.
So in answer to the question, “but how do I know if I’m good enough to start”… I didn’t know. In fact, sometimes I’m still not sure I am! But I did anyway.
My desire to be successful on my own terms, and to make it on my own was larger than my fear that I wasn’t good enough.
And I know, I know there’s a huge amount of privilege there, and I’ll be addressing that in a couple of weeks time.
But if it, the thing that fires you up, whatever that “it” is, if it’s what you truly want, then you’re already good enough. You’ve got the fire, the desire to make it and that’s what keeps you getting up every day and doing the hard stuff, because failing isn’t the worse thing that could happen. Not trying is.