The Telltale Signs You’re Too Scared to be a Freelance Writer

Carol Tice

Scared writer peeks from blindsHave you been wondering if the freelance writing life is really for you?

Maybe you haven’t been able to get started, despite numerous attempts.

Maybe you’ve been freelancing, but not earning much.

Recently, I’ve noticed a “tell” for writers that indicates you are not cut out to make a living writing.

You are simply too scared to put yourself out there. This is probably not going to be a way you can earn a living.

It has to do with how you’re marketing yourself.

You don’t want to. And it shows.

3 Signs you’re hiding

To be a successful freelance writer, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. You have to tell people you want freelance gigs.

This is not like writing a novel — you can’t hide in a garrett and hope people will find your work when you die. You’re trying to pay the bills with your writing here.

Many writers say they’re willing to try marketing themselves, but lots really won’t do it when it comes down to the nitty gritty. Here is how I can tell if a writer isn’t going to make freelancing happen:

The first sign: You don’t have a writer website.

That’s like being invisible today. You’re staying hidden because you don’t really want gigs.

The next sign: You get a site up, but you’re not on it. It refers to you indirectly, as in “We write blog posts” or “Our services include web content…”

On your About page, there’s no picture of you, and we don’t see your name. You’ve got a site up, but you’re still hiding you, in an era when being your authentic self is what’s valued, especially online.

Final “tell”: Your website has no email address. Just that form no one will fill out. Or you’re writing it:

myemail (a) emailhost . com. And there’s no link.

You’re expecting prospects to go hand-type out your email address. Except they won’t bother.

These hidden-email moves are another way of saying, “I don’t really want to get hired.”

When I ask about it, writers tell me, “I’m scared to put my email on there, because I’m worried about scrapers.”

The key to freelance success

Here is the problem with that: The meek do not inherit the freelance earth.

I don’t like to be the one to stick a pin in anyone’s freelance writing dream balloon, but that is the reality.

If you’re too scared to risk something like maybe (but likely never) having to contact your email host about an email hack problem, you’re probably too scared to do a lot of other things you need to do as a freelancer, too.

Freelancing favors the bold

The writers willing to put it out there and tell everyone with a pulse they want gigs are the ones who can build a successful freelance business.

So bust a move. Tell a friend you want a gig.

Dare to write out your email address and link on your writer website.

Otherwise, it might be time to look for a day job.

What bold move have you made to pursue freelancing? Leave a comment and tell us about it.






  1. Jo

    Completely identify with the second point about hiding yourself. I’ve recently started a new blog and went through agonies about forcing myself to put up a photo and some personal information. Only a stern talking to from my coach made me do it! But now it’s there I can see what a difference it makes to the feel of things. Still don’t like seeing myself online too much though 😀

  2. Gayle Glass

    Up for a question? My site currently opens to my blog page, and my bio is more personal that professional. I’m changing the bio, but should I also change the site to open to a static, bio page and have my followers click to the blog? I’ve noticed this on others, and it seems much more appropriate.

    • Carol Tice

      It’s sort of off topic here, but yes — if freelance writing services are your main focus, and your blog isn’t a huge happening thing with a big audience and you’re selling products and services from it — it’s not a business of its own — then put it under a tab so you can write a static home page.

      That is not a bio page, by the way. Not what you put on a Home page if you want to get clients.

      Inside my Freelance Writers Den community we’ve got a crack bootcamp about this — Build a Writer Website That Works. It would help you through a LOT of the issues around making your website get you clients. If you’re interested, get on the waiting list — I often only tell that list when we’re open.

  3. Michael

    Great piece Carol!
    I’d like to add one if I may.
    Give YOURSELF permission.
    I added this one because I’ve wanted to write for quite some time but was actively seeking permission from the people around me. I could say I’m a writer all I want but if friends and family didn’t take me seriously, how could I take myself seriously?

    Me being a writer had nothing to do with anyone else; it had to do with a self imposed limiting belief. Everything becomes so much easier once we break free of the limitations we put on ourselves.
    Just my 2 cents…

    • Carol Tice

      Right on, Michael…the signs I talk about in this post of course are entirely self-imposed. You’re creating your website.

      I’m always saying the biggest obstacle to freelance writing success is between your ears. 😉

  4. Lee

    Is anyone going to answer my query or is everyone in bed ha. Come on shall I go and find answers elsewhere. Can I self publish my own book using lots of comments from my own facebook group

    • Lee

      Well or has no one got any idea

    • Carol Tice

      Lee, I did respond above. None of us can give you legal copyright advice — you need to see a professional about it. I think you’re in a gray area, and I’d want to know I was in the clear before publishing and trying to earn from others’ comments.

  5. Joel Foster

    I had to cringe reading these because I’ve committed pretty much all of them. I just put up a picture recently and definitely need a sales page with a link to my email address. So true that editors will not be taking the time to type out the full address. I don’t even have the patience to do that, so why would a busy editor that wants to hire me.
    Thanks for the shaming, I needed it!

    • Carol Tice

      Hi Joel —

      Not trying to be shaming! Just to point out that these things make you fail, and if you’re doing them, it’s time to ask why.

      Maybe it is an oversight, in which case these will be fixed in a day. But in many cases, I find it’s no accident or oversight — it’s a deliberate way of holding back and hoping you don’t get any clients, because you’re too scared that you’d fail if you did get a gig.

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