Making the jump from employee to self-employed can take some getting used to. If you become the owner of a more traditional company, you’re clearly in the driving seat. However, for those who work alone as freelancers, it can be more difficult to take control or find your feet.

There’s a common bad habit that needs to be addressed: getting stuck in the employee mind set. It’s only natural if that’s what you’re used to but it can end up harming your business before you’ve even got going.

Tell Tale Signs That You’ve Got the Employee Mind-set


You feel the need to take every job that comes to you

Some freelancers end up forgetting that they’re running their own business and are not required to do any work they don’t want to. While you’ll probably end up doing some work that’s not your favourite, that doesn’t mean you have to take every job that comes your way.

If you feel like you can’t turn anything down, it could be that you’re in the employee mind-set because you’re acting like your boss is telling you what to do.

You wait for a pay rise

If you’re still plodding along, waiting for high paying clients, you’re going to be disappointed. In order to get high rates, you’re going to have to set them yourself.

When you do this with existing clients, do it politely but don’t ask for a raise. You’re going to have to be firm and tell them that your rates are going up just like any other business would increase their prices.

You look for jobs not clients

There’s a lot of panic in the early days of freelancing. You need to find work in order to pay the rent unless you’ve still got job providing you with an income.

Try not to get into the habit of simply applying for jobs. Ideally you want to spend as little time as possible finding new work. Finding work doesn’t pay. Instead focus on finding clients who could use your services, preferably on a regular basis. That way you can focus more on client work, which is actually paying you.

You wait for a better system

Back when you were an employee, if things didn’t work then the chances are a manager would step in and offer a solution or a new way of doing things and you just followed that.

When you’re a freelancer, it’s up to you to spot when things are not working efficiently and come up with a solution. That means creating time saving processes and finding out how you work best. You’ll have to get used to analysing your own work and trying new things.


How to Deal With the Employee Mind-set

Know your worth

Sometimes impostor syndrome can get in the way and freelancers often forget their own worth. It leads many freelancers to undercharge for their services, scared that charging more will end up in clients turning away.

It’s worth reminding yourself of what you’re providing. You’re not just supplying a piece of work. You’re giving them a service which addresses a problem they have and also making business better for them.

A good way to practice this is to hunt for this information and put it into your pitches. Potential clients will feel better paying you if you’ve shown them some concrete examples of success or testimonials from past clients. It’ll also help you as a reminder.

Rethink your business system

You may be in default mode with leftover habits from your job which means that you’re not taking advantage of the freedom that freelancing has to offer.

Freelancing means that you have the freedom to mix the working day up and work whenever you’re at your best. You don’t have to work from 9-5 if that’s not good for you. You’re in charge, it’s up to you. So take charge, experiment and build your own system.


Are you trapped in the employee mind set? What’s stopping you from breaking out? Please share your thoughts!



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