Freelancing: The power of alter egos

Get down with your alternative selves – Alex Mathers suggests taking on different personalities to take care of different bits of your freelance life

What do you think is the hardest thing about being a freelancer? Is it promoting your work? Is it managing your finances? Perhaps it’s the networking side of things?

Certain elements of what’s required to be a successful freelancer will be more difficult to achieve for some than for others, depending on where your skills and comfort levels lie. The fact is, in order to be a well-rounded freelancing professional, you need to manage all the different aspects of your business yourself, instead of focusing all your skill and effort on one area, be that finance or marketing, for example. Achieving this balance can be the toughest thing for freelancers to deal with.

To tackle this issue, try making use of your ‘alter egos’. This means deciding on which of your many personalities would be most helpful in a given situation, and putting that one in charge. This is a trick I recently picked up, and I now find it very effective in dealing with the varied aspects of freelancing. Here’s how to make use of alter egos so that you can tackle different tasks more effectively:

  1. Analyse the task required and think about the qualities you need in order to handle it.
  2. Use your memories or imagination to create a persona who has those qualities. Re-create those feelings and get into the desired state. You can give the alter ego a name.
  3. Put this alter ego in charge until the task is finished, or until you reach a stage where another persona is required.
  4. Complete the task and consciously return to the personality of your more typical self.

If you give yourself a chance to try out this method before facing new tasks, instead of rushing into them in the wrong state – or not completing some at all – you could see your freelancing career really benefit.

Words and illustration by Alex Mathers