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Freelance Writers – Act Like the CEO You Are!

ceoA writer friend of mine was hesitating to call, again, the CEO of a company who had said he wanted to hire her to write for him. She was afraid of interrupting him, bugging him too much, etc. Yet she knew the deadline for the needed writing was fast approaching.

In other words, she’d slipped into that place of less than stellar self-confidence.

Then it dawned on her. “I suddenly realized that just like him, I too am the CEO of my writing company. Silly as it sounds, by recognizing our positions were similar – that we were both running a company – I found it easy to pick up the phone.”

Self-perception is key

So much of our success as freelance writers depends on how we see ourselves. If we’ve got real confidence in our ability, that will come through. People love to hire others who know what they are doing – and are confident about it.

My friend continued, “Oh I know I don’t have the same size company that he’s in charge of but that doesn’t matter. I think I’ll order a plaque that says [my name], CEO of [name of my company]! It turns out, incidentally, that I’ve been running my company significantly longer than he’s been running his. ” Then she giggled adding, “Plus, I own my company – he’s only been hired!”

You are the CEO of your writing business

CEO is defined as: a chief executive officer, the highest-ranking person in a company or other institution, ultimately responsible for making managerial decisions.

If that doesn’t describe every freelance writer I know, I don’t have any idea what might. I’m obviously the highest ranking person in my company, which, after all, is named after me. I am responsible for all decisions around here. In fact, I could add CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and more. This list of C-type titles is amazing. Even more exciting is the fact that I fit everyone of them, fortunately not all the time.

As my friend was telling me about her change of perception, I felt a nice chill of excitement running down my back. Her shift, as she shared it, shifted my self-perception a bit in the right direction.

“When I did call him, it was much easier,” she continued. “He was glad to hear from me and we closed the deal over the phone. Then he put me through to his secretary so we could draw up the letter of agreement. Even better, they sent the first payment on the gig that very afternoon.”

No need for diffidence

While anyone you meet, business person or not, certainly knows things you don’t know, you also know things they don’t know. As a professional there is absolutely no need for you to be shy about your skills as a professional writer.

Sure, you may be asked to write something new to you, but that doesn’t mean you’re not running your own company, nor does it mean you’re not a professional.

Claim your own CEO-ness. It can transform your business.

What do you think? Does this help you feel more like you’re a ‘real’ professional? Or not so much?

Write well and often,




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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • “Plus, I own my company – he’s only been hired!”

    Now, THIS is something to pump up a freelancer’s self-confidence! 🙂

    • That phase might make a good bumper sticker, or just a mini poster where I’d see it often.

  • Claudia Previn

    I have had a similar experience as an editor. I am the head of MY business, too, but had forgotten what that meant to how I show up in negotiations for work. Without it, I agreed to tasks not in my wheelhouse and kow-towed somewhat because I was convinced the head of the company I was negotiating with would think less of me.

    But today, despite repeated promises of an ongoing job, I got a lot of pushback. The difference was, I spoke to him AS the CEO of my company, not a petitioner or supplicant. I stated my truth gently but firmly, redirected as necessary, and then WAITED for him to respond rather than continue to talk. I quietly (truthfully!) rebutted every sidestepping maneuver and ultimately he promised to send the letter, offering me ongoing part-time work, this afternoon.

    A significant, empowered difference between today’s conversation AS a CEO from the freelancer who showed up to meet with him a couple of months ago.

    Knowing Who I Am changed my attitude in our conversation and I am certain he felt it. I certainly did!

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