Building Confidence and Overcoming Fear as a Freelance Artist

Freelance Artist

The cliche tells society that art is subjective. Therefore, artists must grow thick skins, especially since most work as freelancers.

Art history students know that society doesn’t appreciate most artists in their time. The fame arrives posthumously, which might deter some creative individuals from reaching their full potential.

In 2023, freelance artists fall into several categories, not just those who paint on canvases that get hung in museums. 

For example, artists fall into several categories, such as:

  • Graphic design
  • Photographers
  • Illustrators
  • Textile professionals
  • Multimedia

Technology has opened new opportunities for creative professionals. Recently, it has also shrunk. 

Thus, creators must overcome several challenges and build confidence in their crafts.

What Is a Freelance Artist?

A freelance artist is an artist who creates material for audiences without employers. Most artists have always worked as freelancers. 

Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rembrandt received commissions from wealthy patrons and royalty to produce their crafts. 

In 2023, it’s not much different. The difference comes in the form of tax payments that the Internal Revenue Service mandates and oversees. 

Plus, artists must work their way through other bureaucratic red tape, such as buying insurance and obtaining licenses, which Selfgood outlines in more detail.

What Do Artists Fear?

Most artists fear rejection. Then, creative professionals fear constant rejection. 

Depending on the artist type, some professionals worry about running out of money to pay the bills and basic necessities. After that, they must figure out how to remain mentally stable in an unstable field for some artists.

Put together, or a combination of the above realistic fears, is enough to shatter the confidence of any artist, let alone a human.

To overcome fear, consider listing them and noting why they have become fears.

Factors that Impact Artist Confidence

Even the most stoic individual will question their confidence in the face of consistent rejection.

Some professionals sell one painting or land the perfect gig only to find that they can sell additional art or land successive gigs.

The introduction of artificial intelligence that creates graphic designs, art, and illustrations has tempted buyers and decision-makers to turn away from humans and toward technology.

Thus, it’s another confidence-shattering factor that creatives must overcome.

Artists might consider listing moments that tugged at their confidence and exploring why each had such an impact on them.

Now, we explore how freelance artists can build confidence and overcome fear.

Know Thyself

Although it’s another cliche, artistic individuals must know themselves. Socrates stated that knowing thyself led to wisdom. In the case of artists, it’s the building block for confidence.

Art is subjective, so professionals must decide if they will stick with their point of view or if they will bend with the winds of trends.

Many individuals bend since they must eat, pay bills, and pay for the essentials. Others opt to struggle a la La Boheme to remain true to themselves.

In trying times, it’s possible to strike a balance.

Find an Audience

Finding an audience is a great way to build confidence and overcome fear as a freelance artist.

Developing a cheerleading squad and support system helps creatives keep working on their crafts another day, week, and year.

Moreover, the audience will prevent professionals from moving into directions that don’t find them.

The best audience for every professional depends on the artistic category that they fall into. For example, artists benefit from finding one buyer who will sing their praises and tell their friends.

Freelance graphic designers benefit from finding clients who will recommend them to others searching for the services that they offer, helping to string together a series of gigs.

Use Marketing Tactics Shrewdly

Social media and digital marketing help artists find their audiences more efficiently. By using marketing tactics shrewdly, it’s possible to find interested buyers and clients and bypass the rejection that other generations faced.

Using the right tags and appropriate keywords online can land portfolios in the hands of target markets more efficiently. 

The goal is to find authentic love and genuine adornment from motivated audiences and clients that build a foundation of confidence. In trying times, use the memory of the wins to get through them.

Ideally, the strategy will work long enough to sell the next canvass or land the next gig.

Remember Those Who Came Before

Wayne Gretzky said that people miss 100% of the shots they don’t take. Although Gretzky comes from the sports world, artists can still lean on wisdom from professionals who struggled and overcame adversity.

Therefore, artists should pick some favorite creatives who overcame adversity before them. Then, use the experiences of those who came before as inspiration. 


Since art remains subjective, freelance artists must find their audience and build communities for their crafts. Building confidence comes from within, and overcoming fear starts with knowing that the Law of Averages guarantees a yes eventually. 

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