Select Page

Ask any successful freelance writer, and they’ll tell you about the fears they had when they first started: the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of not having enough experience, the fear of rejection …

In order to succeed, these writers conquered their fears – and you can, too.

Here are the five fears I hear most often from beginning copywriters – along with what you can do about them …

1. “I’m afraid I won’t succeed.”

Sadly, everyone has had this fear at one point or another. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know. Here’s what I think (and what I told myself when I was just getting started): If others can do it, so can you.

As an AWAI member, you are as smart, brave, worthy, and talented as at least half of the successful copywriters working today – and better than the other half. So there is absolutely no reason you can’t succeed. There is no barrier you can’t overcome. If you want the writer’s life badly enough, it will be yours.

The first step to overcoming this fear is to take it one day and one small victory at a time. Decide what type of writer you want to be and get a course that properly trains you. Then study, study, and study some more. Keep track of your progress and your victories.

You’ll be more than ready to find clients.

2. “I’m afraid I don’t have enough experience.”

There are two answers to this one.

1) You really might not have enough experience. But the good news is … you can get some quite easily! Try working for friends and family until you get the hang of it. Study and practice. Do small project with real clients. Check out this article on landing your first client for some more great tips on getting more experience. Then you’ll just have to put yourself out there …

That brings us to …

2) If you’ve been studying copywriting for a while, you probably have plenty of experience. You’re just suffering from information overload. Take a step back and evaluate your situation. Do you honestly not have enough experience? If so, get some (see answer #1). If you’ve completed AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting, you’re ready. If you can explain the elements of a successful direct mail piece to a friend, you’re ready to get out there and find clients.

3. “I can’t figure out my niche.”

This one held me back for a long time. Then I realized I was just using it as an excuse. I had all the tools I needed to determine my niche. My fears were holding me back.

If you’re having trouble picking your niche, don’t stress. It’s not final. You can always switch after a few months or years if you find something you like better. But for now, just pick something.

Answering the following questions should help you uncover a niche you can start with:

  • Which industry or industries have you worked in?
  • What do you do in your free time?
  • If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
  • When you go to the bookstore, what section do you head to first?

If you need more help, here’s a great article from Nick Usborne called “Why You Should Choose a Niche for Your Freelance Business, and How to Do It.”

4. “I don’t know how to get clients” or “I’m afraid they’ll say no.”

If you really don’t know how to get clients, the only way to learn is to get advice from someone who has been there. AWAI is full of advice from writers who know how to get clients.

And here is a very comprehensive article from Rebecca Matter: “Getting Clients 101: A Step-by-Step Approach to Landing and Working with New Web Writing Clients.”

In this article, Rebecca says you can probably come up with at least 50 names of potential clients just thinking about people you know, people you have worked with, or people you do business with now. She gives great advice for reaching out to them to get your first client.

Okay, back to the fear of rejection.

This is probably the most common fear among freelance writers – both beginning and advanced. Most experienced professional writers say they still fear rejection.

So you see, no matter how long you work as a writer, fear of rejection won’t simply go away. It will get smaller and smaller as you begin to contact clients. You’ll realize that even if they turn you down, it’s not the end of the world.

You can reach out to potential clients through cold calling, direct mail, live events, or by responding to job ads. The more you put yourself out there, the faster you’ll be able to get over your fear and start getting clients.

I’ll be honest; there have been many times when I’ve approached a client feeling absolutely nauseous. I’ve gone into client meetings thinking I might not be able to keep my lunch down. But you know what? They always go fine.

Sometimes I get the job and sometimes I don’t. But I’ve slowly become more confident. The important thing to remember is there are many, many potential clients out there, but they’re not all for me.

5. “I’m afraid the writer’s life isn’t real.”

Since I’m an open book this week, I’ll confess: I had this fear at first, too. But then I started thinking positively and reading the success stories of all my fellow copywriters. I became sure of its existence.

I spoke to Rebecca Matter a few weeks ago, and she put it best, “The writer’s life is real, and it’s better than you think.”

So what about you? What fears do you still have? Are you really fearful or are you just procrastinating? Comment below to join the discussion …