Being a freelancer requires a certain confidence. You can’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You need to talk to strangers. Ask for business, ask for referrals, make connections. You also need to show off a bit. You do great work, and if people don’t know that, you won’t be able to grow your business. Being a copywriter also demands confidence. You need to be able to take risks, surprise your client by offering something they haven’t seen before, stand by your ideas.
However, there’s a difference between being confident and having a big ego. Your ego can stand in the way of becoming successful. To really achieve, say goodbye to your ego.
When things go wrong
In business, things don’t always go to plan. You take knocks constantly. You don’t win the pitch for a job you really want. That sentence that you crafted expertly? The client doesn’t like it. That blog you wrote? No views. Your ego takes these knocks badly, and this can manifest itself in many ways. It can cause stress and mood swings. More importantly for your business, it can make you retreat into yourself. You don’t want to pick up the phone to make that cold call anymore. You don’t want to take that risk in your work that would separate you from the crowd. You play it safe. You don’t do your best.
When things go badly, it’s important to analyse why. Try to remedy it, but stay true to your path. Don’t let it knock your confidence.
When things go right
Ego is arguably a bigger danger when things are going well. Suddenly, you’re king of the world, but you’re blinded by success. You still want more. You’re cocky, arrogant. You don’t want to hear other opinions, because you’re always right. The confident, likeable side of your character that has got you this far has disappeared. Pride comes before a fall, and the fall is inevitable.
When things go well, again, analyse why and sustain. Take a moment to be grateful to people who helped you achieve success. Appreciate that despite your success, you don’t know everything. Keep learning, keep experimenting, keep taking risks.
Ego in writing
In my copywriting business, my ego takes a lot of knocks. I get turned down for jobs. I do work that I think is amazing, but the client disagrees. However, I try to appreciate that in business you have to deal with good and bad. I’m building something to last, and small setbacks won’t destroy my ultimate plan.
Where I see ego in copywriting, is when I’m looking at business’ websites and see spelling mistakes, sloppy writing, generally words not performing to the best of their ability. This is a sure sign that the business owner’s ego has taken over, and they have written the copy themselves. They can write, so they think they can write copy. They don’t realise what a disservice they’re doing their business, or the benefits snappy copy can bring.
Serve your network
The best way to stay ego-free, grounded in good times and bad, is to serve your network and your profession. Share your ideas, give advice, do favours. It will come back to you with interest. Your work will be better, you will be happier, and more successful.
Image: EGO – Burning Man 2012 | by Bexx Brown-Spinelli