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How to change course as a freelancer

Chris Hufnagel Avatar

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Today, I will teach you how to change course (it is something I have done countless times during my career as a freelance developer).

One of the scariest things as a freelancer is changing course. We set out with a plan, and after giving it some time, we realized that it was not working.

If you do not change course, you will continue down the wrong path. This will result in lost time and resources and often results in burnout.

The best freelance developers are adaptable and ready to move in a new direction when the signals point them that way.

The main reason I am writing about this is because my newsletter needed to change its concept. I relaunched it earlier this year with a “three things” approach. Every week I sent three things that were on my mind. This was not working and I knew after the second time hitting send.

But I kept going for another couple of weeks.

One of my core values as a creative is to provide value to my audience with everything I create. This three-things approach was too surface-level and didn’t let me go deeper.

So that you do not make the same mistake, here are the signs you need to change course:

Sunk cost bias will sink you!

Many creative freelancers keep going down a path that will not work simply because they have already invested time and energy into the current path. They are afraid to start over.

Let go of that feeling. It will feel even worse if you look up in 6 months and are still on the wrong path. Act fast and change course now!

Look at it all as a learning experience and move on.

How to change course and adapt in a responsible way

You listened to your gut. It’s time for a change. YAY!

But how do you do it responsibly?

One way is to blow it all up. Start fresh.

This works if you are only so far down the path and have nothing to save.

But what if you have been on the current path for a bit?

It is essential that you take the right steps for a successful transition.

  1. Think it through in a one-hour decision session.
  2. Create a simple plan to move you forward that outlines who needs to know and what needs to happen.
  3. Inform your audience of the change with a look toward the future.
  4. Commit to the change, and stop looking over your shoulder!

How will you respond when the itch to change course pops up?

You never know when the feeling will pop into your head.

My suggestion is to listen to it.

Every time that urge to change course comes in, pull at that thread a little. Sit down and think about it; decide whether to continue or change the course. Then, go all in on the path chosen. Don’t keep looking back at the fork in the road.


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