It takes a lot to turn freelance work into a successful career, but there is nothing as essential for a freelancer as confidence - whether it be in themselves or their skills and services. Confident people are known as go-getters - they are the sort of people to see an opportunity and take it, the type to make their dreams a reality. Confidence is prized in our society, so much so that it is largely seen as the key to success. Even unskilled workers can become successful with enough confidence, as confident people’s greatest asset is their ability to sell themselves. In freelance work, you are your brand - you are the face of your business - and when there is no company to hide behind, the ability to sell yourself becomes a crucial skill. Without confidence in ourselves, how can we expect our clients to have confidence in our services? Confidence really is the key to success - so, how do we inspire more confidence in ourselves and our work?
Even if you are the type of person that struggles with self-confidence, this does not mean that you cannot place confidence in your services. Sometimes, a degree of separation between you and your work-persona can help boost confidence. Despite being the face of your business, it is your skills that you are selling, not you. Freelancers may feel uncomfortable about ‘advertising’ themselves when writing a work profile - but a great way to avoid this is to separate your skillset from who you are as a person. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be placing your face on a billboard! Don’t be afraid to talk about the work you can provide. Anyone who has started out freelancing has begun with the same belief - that they have a marketable skill. Make sure to hold on to this belief - even in moments of self-doubt, do not make the mistake of undervaluing your skills and the services that you can provide. If you struggle to have faith in yourself, place your faith in the services - with some success, self-confidence will soon follow.
Freelance work can feel personal, and so making a mistake or receiving negative criticism can feel like a personal attack. But a mistake is only an opportunity to learn a lesson - and the more mistakes we make, the more we learn, the more skills we acquire, and the better professional we become. One lucky thing for freelancers is that we’re better connected to our clients than a large company ever will be. This means that, although we might get some negative feedback, if we work hard to connect with the client to amend our mistakes, we can often end up with a stronger working relationship, and they may even be more likely to return. People respond well to workers who make a genuine effort to amend mistakes. Change your perspective - see a mistake as an opportunity to create a better connection with the client.
People often think that the number one benefit of working freelance is flexibility. However, workers who do not manage their time effectively can often feel lost and unmotivated - once this happens, we quickly lose confidence in ourselves and our freelance careers. Every business has quiet periods - freelance work is no different, but a freelancer lacking in confidence might give up on their dream as soon as their workload dries up. Freelance workers need a schedule and a timetable, and when we’re low on workload and looking for clients, schedules help make this time feel like work. In other words, a day lounging around the house browsing for work online can feel unmotivating, but a scheduled three-hour job hunt feels like work. Be sure to check out our article on other time management tips here.
Freelance work can often feel like you’re out on your own. However, for freelancers lacking confidence, finding a community can be a lifesaver. In a community, freelancers can share advice, as well as becoming a shoulder to lean on, or someone to talk to. We can all benefit from colleagues, even the self-employed. Brigaders will be lucky to connect with workers in the industry in every gig they pick up - make sure to use Brigad as a platform to meet like-minded people in similar situations, share tips, learn and build confidence. Come along to one of our community events to meet others too! We share the information for any upcoming events in our regular newsletter.
We can all be too hard on ourselves, and for freelance workers, we need to stop and celebrate our wins. Most of us may not set any long-term goals, feeling it better to live in the moment, so we don’t stop to contemplate how far we’ve come. In reality, every job done should be a cause for success - every new client, every new contract - even first-time freelancers should celebrate creating a freelance profile. A pat on the back never hurt anyone. Celebrating our successes, no matter how small, is a great way to get ourselves out of a rut and start believing in ourselves again.
More of us in the U.K. are turning to freelance than ever before - thousands took up the challenge during the pandemic and contributed a whopping £147 billion to the UK economy in 2021. Freelancing is now so popular that the U.K. is the second-fastest-growing freelance market in the world, second to the USA.
But there is no wonder that the USA leads the global market for freelancing - whilst we Brits are stereotypically modest, lacking in confidence, and often undersell ourselves, Americans are frequently the opposite. Americans are taught from a young age the value of free speech, liberty, and freedom - and this often translates as becoming confident and outspoken people - great qualities for a freelance worker. As so many of us in the U.K. are turning to freelance, it’s high time we begin celebrating ourselves and try to generate greater confidence in our abilities and value in our skill sets. Let’s borrow a little of that self-confidence from our neighbours and start to believe in ourselves.
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