Running A Freelance Business Is Like Learning To Ride A Bike

Learn how starting, managing, and growing a freelance business is like learning how to ride a bicycle for the first time.

Natalie Happy AFter Learning To Ride A Two-Wheel Bike

Brian and I loved riding bikes. My son Carter loved riding his Lightning McQueen bike — even with the training wheels on. My daughter Natalie… did share the love. In 2010, Santa brought her an awesome “big-girl bike” and we were all so excited for the family bike rides to come.

But that didn’t happen.

She hated the bike and spent (maybe) 20 minutes on it the entire next year. To put it mildly, riding bikes was a horrible experience for her. Natalie was so afraid of wobbling and falling that she couldn’t even bring herself to try riding her bike.

Every once in a while, dreaming of family rides, we’d convince her to try. She’d sit on the bike, it’d wobble a bit, she’d burst into tears and run into the house nearly hysterical, and refuse to try again. When we rented bikes in Tahoe and did a 16-mile round-trip ride from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley, she cried for the first 20 minutes or so begging us to return them — even though she was attached to Brian’s bike and couldn’t fall over.

She desperately wanted to learn how to ride a bike and to go on family bikes rides. But it had become such a huge, emotional barrier, that for her it seemed as if it would never happen. It was painful for all of us.

Thankfully, seven years ago to the day (according to Facebook Memories), we had a breakthrough and both of my kids learned how to ride two-wheel bikes.

For Carter, it took all of about five minutes.

He wouldn’t even let us help. He wasn’t just determined to do it, he was determined to do it on his own. It was amazing and we were so proud of him when he rode away across the school blacktop, beaming from ear to ear!

While we were cheering and hollering for him… and Natalie was crying.

Pushing Through Fear

She wanted to ride her bike so badly — and she definitely didn’t want to get left behind by her little brother. So we all agreed to stay at the playground as long as we needed to. Honestly, it took her longer to get up the nerve to try beyond the first wobble, than it did to actually get the hang of riding her bike.

Seven years ago today, Natalie did far more than learn how to ride a two-wheel bike. She made a decision and squashed the fear holding her back.

She made up her mind to do it — even though she was scared, it made her uncomfortable, and she thought she’d fall and get hurt.

She achieved something amazing because she had finally pushed past an obstacle that had been in her way for more than a year, and broke through a barrier that had prevented her from enjoying fun family outings.

When she finally rode away from us across the blacktop, my husband Brian and I both fought back tears and we cheered her on. When she finally rode back over to us and stopped, she had the biggest smile on her face. Overwhelmed with relief and pride, she burst into tears of pure joy and happiness.

What’s amazing is that neither kid fell once! The minute they felt the momentum pull them forward and their bikes stopped wobbling, they both took off with the wind in their hair.

Riding Bikes is like Freelancing

Freelancing And Business Work The Same Way

At first, you may be hesitant to take action or nervous to go all-in and plant your stake in the sand as a freelancer. You’re scared, unsure, nervous, uncomfortable, and maybe even a bit worried… But then you make the decision to do it scared and go for it anyway.

When first getting started as a freelancer, you may wobble a bit. It takes time to find your footing and establish your groove… But once you begin taking action, momentum builds, it carries you forward, and business seems a bit easier than you thought. So you keep taking action, momentum continues to build, and each day you keep moving forward closer to your goals.

From that point on, all you have to do is keep pedaling, keep taking action, and keep moving forward. It’s only when you start second-guessing yourself, letting Impostor Syndrome in, and holding back that you start to slow down and wobble again.

  • Don’t worry about hitting a speed bump. The first one may bit a little jarring but it will teach you how to navigate them in the future.
  • Don’t worry about going up and down the sidewalk curbs. If you take them head-on and go fast enough, you’ll barely notice them. Falling on a curb only happens when you’re worrying about what other people are doing and not paying attention.
  • Don’t worry about the hills and climbs. Learn to look ahead and see them coming, so you can prepare to adjust your gears and ramp up your speed to get over the hill with greater ease.
  • Don’t worry about those valleys either. At first, you’ll coast down the hill because it’s easy, or maybe the downhill ride will create fear and you’ll hit the breaks and slowdown. Luckily, as you gain experience, you’ll begin to pedal on the downhill to gain speed so you can come out of it faster.

Starting a freelance business, managing a freelance business, and actively trying to grow a freelance business can be scary and nerve-wracking just like riding a bike. Letting fear hold you back, can mean watching those around you make progress toward their goals while you remain stuck in one place — and that’s no fun at all.

Yes, there are a lot of distractions, unexpected obstacles get in your way, balance must be maintained to avoid falling over, and you have to adjust your tactics as you go to reach your destination safely. It’s a lot to think about.

Only you can decide if it’s worth it and make the decision to go all-in.

Will you wobble a bit? Sure. Of course. But you’ll also ride away with the wind in your hair, loving life, and making progress toward your goals — and that will feel pretty dang amazing.