So, You Want to be a Freelancer? Make Sure You Have This One Thing First.
According to a study by Intuit in 2010, an estimated over 40% of the American workforce will be “contingent workers” (i.e. independent professionals including freelancers, contractors, temps and part-time employees) by 2020. Where full-time employment with companies owned by someone else has always been the norm, the trend is shifting to make freelancing/solopreneurship far more common.
As a freelancer and solopreneur, I find that exciting! With more acceptance of freelancing as a viable career path will come more information, tools and resources geared toward making solo professionals more efficient and successful. Honestly, I think the time is ripe for exploring freelancing – provided you’ve got the one thing all freelancers need to get their businesses off the ground and to sustain them.
“A feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something” (as Merriam-Webster defines it), confidence needs to be at the root of your freelance endeavors. It’s the realization you have skills, knowledge and talents that will render you valuable to clients. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t be considering a freelance career, right?
What’s equally important to having confidence in yourself and your abilities? Your attention to projecting that self-assuredness in all you do and to everyone you meet.
Be careful, however, not to confuse projecting confidence with bragging and appearing vain. When starting your freelance business, you’ll want to share about your capabilities and unique value without sounding like you have an over-inflated ego.
How to Project Confidence With Appropriate Confidence…
Share the facts. Your real-life professional achievements, educational background, and examples of your work in your field will speak volumes without any embellishment.
Share what others have said about your capabilities.
It can be a turn off if you pat yourself on the back and tell someone how great you are, but it’s much more acceptable and palatable to others when they hear the praises someone else has sung about you and your work.
As you’re sharing about yourself, your expertise, and your capabilities, don’t neglect the opportunity to generate goodwill by showing an interest in the people you’re talking with. Making others feel included and important demonstrates a collaborative nature – a quality that’s essential as a freelancer!
Confidence – expect yours to be tested.
Know it’s perfectly natural to find your confidence shaken at times. Whether your work on a project isn’t going as smoothly as you had hoped, or you’re dealing with an extra-demanding client, or some other force in the freelance universe rattles you, you’ll discover self-doubt may stalk you on occasion. When it does, revisit and reflect on the foundation of your confidence as a freelancer. Your knowledge, skills, experience and talents are with you always…and will only get stronger as you venture farther down the path of freelancing.
By Dawn Mentzer
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