When most people talk about FOMO, or the fear of missing out, it’s usually in more of a social context. We may scroll through our Facebook or Instagram feeds, envious of the glamorous and joyous lives our friends seem to be leading. Oh, look at Teresa enjoying the breathtaking beaches of Bali. Oh, look at Dennis indulging in yet another extravagant meal.

You might find yourself saying yes to everything, quite possibly to your own detriment, because you don’t want to miss anything. You might find yourself saying yes, even if your bank account screams no. By and large, FOMO gets a rather negative reputation and rightfully so. That much angst and social anxiety probably isn’t healthy. No one wants to lead a life of regret.

But you can harness the powers of FOMO to your advantage if you work for yourself as a freelancer. Let me explain.

Where Does This Path Lead?

I could be generalizing here, but freelancers by their very nature want to do everything. I know I do. We recognize the potential in every opportunity, in every project, in every possibility. Even though “no” is the most powerful word in our vocabulary, we can oftentimes feel this overwhelming urge to say yes.

Because we too experience this fear of missing out. FOMO is an everyday thing.

If we decline an invitation to a local business event, we worry that we may be foregoing a very fruitful connection. If we turn down a potential project, we worry whether that project could’ve been our big break. If we don’t pursue a passion project, we are left to wonder if it could have been career-defining or if it could have opened new doors.

The Overwhelming Challenge of More

For better or for worse, we can feel this constant drive to work more. Because we can work at any time, we feel we should work all the time. This might mean enduring the third shift. It might mean working the weekend. It might mean foregoing a social outing in favor of staying home, staring at a computer monitor for hours on end.

This all sounds bad, doesn’t it? Maybe it is. Maybe not. The point is if you find that you are prone to feelings of FOMO, the freelance lifestyle might be a good fit for your personality. If you do not have this burning desire to do more, to create more, to pursue more opportunities, chances are that you’ll never get very far as a freelancer.

But if you find yourself frequently considering the what-ifs of your professional career, the constant challenge of seeking new projects and new clients could be exactly what you need.