Freelancers: Don't feel ashamed of your mistakes!

Freelancers: Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes!

In the last day or two, I’ve been thinking about what it means when a client comes back to you and criticises your work. And when I say ‘criticise’ I mean basically ‘pull it apart’. They say that work that you’ve put out using your skill that you’ve been honing for the past fifteen years is of poor quality. Freelancers out there: I am sure that you’ve been in this situation!

What do you do with this? Do you roll up into a ball and throw in the towel? Do you give up? Or do you take these comments on in a very cerebral and factual manner and deal with them in a very professional manner?

Freelancer beginnings

When I first started out in the freelance game, I wrote a post on how to stay motivated working from home. I dealt with very practical issues in this article that would help freelancers in a situation such as myself. I recommended tips such as not working on your bed because this may tell your brain that instead of working you should be sleeping instead!

After having a few freelance years under my belt, I’ve gotten over the practicalities of being a freelancer – such as the fact that I absolutely adore working from anywhere as long as I have my PC on hand – but something that I’m still grappling with (although I am getting better at this) is how to accept criticism in a positive manner.

Creative freelancers– such as writers, editors and graphic designers – often feel like the work that they produce is their baby. That they’ve put in something of themselves so that when someone criticises their work, they feel that this person is personally insulting them.

What I struggle with is when someone criticises my work in an aggressive manner, not choosing their words carefully. My thoughts go immediately to: “Not only does this person hate my work, they hate me too! I’ll never get work an an editor again because this person will blacklist me as they think that I’m uselss!” Very dramatic, I know, but that’s where my mind goes.

Even if you did make a mistake, learn from it and move on. You’re a human being. Humans make mistakes. Even if you have spent the last fifteen years being the best writer and editor that you can be, sometimes you’ll make a mistake. Don’t take it personally. Don’t take the fact that if you’ve made a mistake as being a slight on your personality or skill. Own up to your mistake, fix it and move on. You’ll feel a lot better if you do this.