We all know by now that being a freelancer means you’re a business owner too. Your main product? Your skills offered as a service.
We are more likely to finish our task with ease and with high quality as we continue to become an expert in our chosen field. That’s basically what our aim is as a freelancer, to provide the best support to our clients through the use of our skills and earning money from it.
However, no matter how much of an expert we are regarding our technical skills, we still need to learn and enhance our soft skills.
Why you ask?
It’s because these soft skills would help us attract more clients, ensure a spot into working with them for a longer-term, and even help us in building ourselves as a much organized and better person.
So what are the soft skills that I am referring to?
Check out the list below:
Communication is a vital part when it comes to freelancing. Since we mostly aren’t conversing face-to-face with our clients and teammates, a freelancer must have the ability to properly communicate both through speech and writing.
Even when looking for clients, you have to communicate with them through the use of an effective proposal. You’d also need to be confident when it comes to phone or Skype interviews. Passing up on jobs that have these is a lost opportunity – especially since most often than not, clients who ask for a phone interview offers a real job!
You may also encounter working with people who aren’t a native English speaker and may have difficulty explaining what they have in mind. But with good communication skills, you’d be able to properly ask for clarification without making them feel offended about it.
Having communication skills isn’t something you can learn overnight. Constant practice is what makes you better at it, so never stop doing!
Moreover, by being able to communicate well, you’d be able to properly share your inputs to your client or even convince them for any requests should you need a bit of a break or a raise.
It’s common knowledge that one of the benefits of becoming a freelancer is gaining control of your time. And yet, that’s not what usually happens.
Given the freedom, we usually work in our homes for convenience. As there’s no one around to supervise us but ourselves, and since our homes can be very much filled with distractions of different sorts, we tend to fall victim to procrastination.
It’s true. Even though we are basically ‘free’, we still have deadlines to meet. If you aim to be successful as a freelancer while earning a good income, you need to be able to manage your time well.
The best way to do it is to make an organized schedule and follow it. The more organized you are, the more productive you can get for the day. The more work you finish equals more income coming your way. Does that motivate you enough?
Nowadays, there are a lot of tools freelancers can use to make organizing their schedules easier. Some of which are:
Marinara Timer is a custom productivity timer offering you 3 different modes to choose from: The traditional Pomodoro timer, Custom timer, and the kitchen timer.
Harvest is a time-tracking application best for freelancers who are billed from task completion and the actual amount of time spent. In addition, it can be connected to multiple project management and finance tools which makes it easier to manage your invoices and reports.
A minimalist but visually pleasing to-do list, TeuxDeux makes sure you’d be able to add and check things off with ease. If you don’t finish the work you planned for the day, it would simply roll over to the next day automatically.
A typical freelancer may use his time of the day to juggle between dealing with different clients, catching up on project deadlines, managing his business’ marketing and sales, submitting portfolios, and more.
In addition, with a population of freelancers continuously growing by the day, there’s non-stop competition in trying to get new projects. A freelancer must be able to properly sell himself, be able to perform well throughout the project while making sure he is being paid at least enough to get by.
If you were the freelancer, would you lessen your rate to raise the chances of getting clients? Or will you stick to your current rate to ensure that you’ll have a positive income by the end of the project?
Without proper time management, a freelancer would fall into never-ending stress and burn out.
How will you lessen, if not remove, the stress then?
The best thing to do is to ensure you have work-life balance. Do something relaxing, like reading a book, watching a movie, grabbing some refreshing snacks during your break.
If you’d like, you can also incorporate exercise during your days off. It’s a sure way to relieve stress and stretch your tired and stiff body from being seated for long periods of time in front of the computer.
Remember, you also have a life aside from freelancing!
You may not notice it at first, but almost every project you’d work with requires teamwork. In a certain project, one may be in charge of managing the workload. Another would focus on graphic design while another would be doing the codes and web development. Someone would also handle the marketing and sales while one or more would create contents for the website.
Each and everyone has a purpose and is important in reaching success in a project. May it be just between the two of you and your client or more, there will always be a need for collaboration. As a member, you should be able to understand what your main role is and how your skill will be able to contribute to the growth of the business.
A lot of us might’ve written problem-solving as one of their skills included in their resume. Yes, it is indeed an important skill to have.
But do we really understand what it means?
Problem-solving skills actually means being able to detect, understand and analyze, and site relevant methods to solve a problem.
When starting as a freelancer, there would be a lot of times where we would face roadblocks throughout our career. We may fail to understand the project in hand. We may get to a point where we’re behind in our deliverables. We may also face challenges where our clients fail to pay us on time. And there’ll also be times where we struggle on providing an output that satisfies our clients, having us make multiple revisions for a certain project.
These are just some of the roadblocks you’d encounter regularly while working as a freelancer. The best thing to do is to solve the root cause of the problem as soon as possible before it becomes worse.
Yes, it may be difficult at first, but it gets easier to work on it as you encounter more roadblocks. After all, they also count as an experience which improves your problem-solving skills as a freelancer.
All in all…
It’s true that the technical skills are your very weapon when it comes to getting paid. After all, that’s what the client really wants from you.
You may be confident on your soft-skills right now, but always remember that freelancing always will require self-improvement.
These soft skills serve as your key in building long-lasting relationships and lessening overall stress. Work on these soft skills and see the difference in how you work as a freelancer.