If you’ve taken my 7-day intro course, you get an opportunity to e-mail me your thoughts and questions each and every day of that course. Many people take advantage of that invitation, too, which I love! I truly love meeting other super nerds like myself.
One of the days, I ask what’s standing in your way of making it happen and creating the freelance life you want for yourself. Nine times out of ten, I get a response like these:
- “I’m afraid to spend the money on the course and then not get any clients.”
- “I’m afraid I won’t get any clients.”
- “What if I can’t get any clients?”
- “What if I can’t find work at the end? Do you help?”
I respond back and explain that getting clients is 100% a result of your own actions, but not just the actions you take in the marketing aspects. The actions you take in the first seven modules of the course — the ones that come before anything about marketing is even mentioned, and the ones that will help you master the skill you need to get clients — matter even more than Module 8, which teaches you various ways to get “in” in the court reporting world.
But fear, fear is the new “F” word. It pops up very predictably and totally clouds our perspective. It keeps us from seeing what we’re capable of; it makes us think someone or something else is responsible for our own success. Know this: you are not only capable of success, you are also 100% responsible for your own success or lack of it.
How to Get Over Your Fear of Finding Clients
From speaking with students in both my free course and my intensive one, I’ve heard the new “F” word so, so many times, even when the word isn’t actually said or written. For example, I asked Rhonda, a student in my intensive course, about how her feelings and emotions had changed in the process of becoming a proofreader, and this is how she responded:
Yes, it’s intimidating for me, trying to convince myself that I can go out on my own, do what I know I’m good at (although I know I need to learn more) and succeed. It’s hard going from a traditional job to something nebulous in a way. Can I do this? Will I be successful? It’s not so much CAN I do this, it’s more, can *I* do this? Am *I* going to be successful? I worked at my previous job for 13 years. This, this is completely different. I’m ready to make the change in my head, but my heart, that’s where I need to gain more confidence.
Rhonda hit the nail square on the head.
Most people are not fearful of whether or not it’s possible to find clients and make money proofreading. They know it’s possible. They see plenty of other people doing it. Usually they’re fearful of whether or not it’s possible for them. It’s an internal battle.
Another student, Dee, responded to the same question with: “We manifest our own realities with our internal thoughts and feelings. If we dive in and believe anything is possible, then anything is possible.”
I can’t get over that statement. If we set our minds up to believe we’re not going to get any clients, then guess what? Our subconscious would not permit us to get clients. On the other hand, if we change our thinking (and this takes effort!) by identifying the negative things we’re allowing ourselves to think, we can totally overhaul our mindset to one of determination and power — instead of one of fear and worry. Then our subconscious will work with us toward our goal, fueling our client search instead of snuffing it out.
Lisa P., PA student and lifelong entrepreneur extraordinaire, shared this in regard to success: “Success comes from perspective. If you believe you will be successful, you will be. If you believe in what you do and how you do it, you can offer that service to ANYONE.”
That is so true, isn’t it? It’s also why mastery is so important. You need to know what you’re doing, and know it well to be confident in it. That takes time, and that requires you to take action. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Take a look at this graphic that shows this mastery-leads-to-confidence process visually:
The people scared of not finding clients before they even know what they’re doing have not yet realized that their fear of finding clients will dramatically dissipate as soon as they master a skill and service. Mastery allows you to gain confidence. How do you master something? You learn and practice! Once you’ve truly mastered the skill, you will have confidence. Then, and only then, does it become about finding your first client. Once that happens (and it will) then you know for certain, if you didn’t already, that you’ve got this.
It is SCARY to Start a New Chapter
Starting something new in life sometimes means identifying oneself differently. When I first became a proofreader, there was a weird, unsettled, nervous/anxious feeling I had, like “Whoa. Who am I?!” This is the feeling you get when you’re about to not just try something new, something big, but the feeling you get when you’re about to become someone new. If you’re new at this proofreading thing and learning about the various ways you can make it work, you may think it’s just as simple as studying up and doing it… but it’s not always that simple.
Sometimes these weird human emotions pop up that we’ve spent years repressing that can make us quit trying before we even start! Fear is one of those emotions. Fear attacks our confidence and holds us back. Fear is not a friend.
Here are some more thoughts from students on the various instances of nervousness and fear they’ve faced both before and after deciding to pursue life as a proofreader:
Student Kimmie says,
“I think most of my fear of finding clients comes from past experiences. I’ve started and stopped several home businesses before. I’m just not a pushy salesperson, and I take the rejection personally. This I am working on because it isn’t personal most of the time.”
“I think for me, this proofreading deal makes the ugly perfectionism come out in me. That causes fear and trepidation.”
“Although I want my life to change, it can be really scary to think about moving from a safe (albeit boring) career to something much less structured.”
Alicia makes a good point: we can want our lives to change soooo badly, but the fear can come out and bite us HARD to a point where we just go back to our safe little corner and never find out what might have been.
What Does True Mastery Require?
It requires hard work! Some people are fearful of hard work. There are a lot of scams out there that have duped people into believing it’s easy to start a new income stream and be free from the corporate world. All you have to do is find a few friends to sign up first, right!?
The reality is harsh for some. Creating a new income stream is NOT EASY and transcript proofreading is no different.
Maybe you’ve expressed your fear (of whether you can do it, of finding clients, whatever it might be) to me at some point, too. I understand fear, I do — although many of the folks who’ve expressed their fear to me have also expressed the fact they have all kinds of degrees from various higher education, and my first thought is, “So you’re worried about dropping < $900 on a course and not getting clients, but you dropped $100,000 on a master’s degree … and you weren’t worried about being able to find a job afterward?”
Never mind that transcript proofreading is an art that needs to be mastered before clients even become part of the picture — people don’t want to “waste money” on a course if they can’t “get clients”. I get that. But you don’t take a course just to learn how to “get clients” — you take a course to master a skill.
The intensive course happens to teach you both mastering the art and getting clients, but I am always very forthcoming about which is more important: mastering the art.
I know it may turn prospective students off to learn you actually have to know how to do something before you can get people to pay you for it, but if I weren’t up front about it, I’d get incessant e-mails from people begging me to help them find work … work they don’t even know how to do yet. Transcripts are a much different beast from general proofreading work, and I have no qualms against telling someone, kindly yet unapologetically, “It does not matter how much proofreading experience you have or how many dissertations you’ve proofread over the last decade. You do not yet know how to proofread transcripts. It is NOT the same thing.”
And a note about degrees: the thing with lots of degree programs people shell out tens of, or hundreds of thousands of dollars for is they often only receive the skills they need to do the work — not how to market it. This is often the case with typical bachelor’s degrees. I believe there should be a mandatory course for every college grad on social media marketing and personal marketing. That is the missing puzzle piece in most degree programs today, which is why I took so much care building Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice to include the full gamut: doing the work and getting the work… because who CARES how good you are if you can’t market it, right?
But BEWARE — I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here at this point — the reverse is also true! Who CARES how many clients you get if you haven’t mastered the art? Shouldn’t we focus on becoming excellent at what we’re offering said clients before we worry about “getting” them? ‘Cause really — getting them is one thing, but keeping them’s a whole ‘nother story. This is where excellence — mastering the art — is key.
What If You DON’T Master the Art Before Going Out to Get Clients?
Before I even teach students how to get clients, I teach them everything they need to know about how to do the work for the clients. But there are still those who may be too excited about the money-making aspects that they won’t pay enough mind to being excellent at the service they’re providing to said clients. In this case, it really doesn’t matter how many clients they can get, does it? If their service stinks ’cause they skipped/breezed through the client communication module, or they didn’t carefully comb through the 3,109 pages of practice transcripts because maybe they think they’ll “know it when they see it” — they’re setting themselves up for failure.
I’ve said it before: you can’t hide lack of mastery forever. If someone races through just to learn how to get clients because they THINK they know it all already, sure, they may be able to rack up a few clients and make some money. But long term? That’s going to hinder them more than help them, and it will tarnish their reputation fast.
Keys to Mastering the Art of Transcript Proofreading
Theresa N., student and 18+ year veteran in “general” proofreading, has some excellent advice for those of us looking to master the skill of transcript proofreading.
So how do you go from “I suck at this,” to “Hmm, I’m getting good at this,” to other people saying “He/she is a great proofreader”?
First, you need to care enough to improve. This cannot be overstated.
Second, you need to invest time every day to shoring up your weak spots.
Third, make constructive criticism (feedback) your best friend.
This means forgetting about your speed as far as pages per hour. Read every job twice at the start of your career.
So what’s the number one thing you should do to get over your fear of getting clients? Master the art. Put in the work. Do the time. Don’t just be good, be excellent at what you do. I always encourage the folks who are fearful of not being able to get clients: try your best not to focus on that up front. There’s a reason the marketing module’s at the very end. Focus on becoming an excellent transcript proofreader first. You’ll have so much confidence if you do that, for one, and that confidence will do wonders in your quest to find clients.
And remember, there are no shortcuts to mastery — it’s hard work or bust.
I leave you with the best 19-minute commencement speech on success/fear of failure/freelancing you’ve ever heard, ever. Take 19 minutes and watch this video. Then, let’s discuss both this blog post + the video in the comments below. See ya there!!
Thinking of enrolling in my intensive course?
Master Your Mindset!
Starting a business is exciting, but how the heck do you get over the crippling fear of not being able to find clients? What if you feel like a fraud? What if your closest friend or even your family tells you that you can’t make a living working from home? This jam-packed 24-page guide is designed to help you identify who is really in control of your success, help you take action, and help you keep negative feelings from controlling your life.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Section 1: How to Get Over the Fear of Finding Clients as a Freelancer
Section 2: The 3 Pillars of Success in Life
Section 3: Know Thyself… and Be Cool With Who That is
Section 4: Dealing With How the Past Has Affected Our Present
Section 5: Identifying and Curing Impostor Syndrome
Grab your copy of The Mindset Mastery Guide here!