Whether you’re a copywriter, a social media manager, a visual artist, or a business consultant, confidence is one of the most important things that you need to develop when you decide to become a freelancer.
While ability or skills matter just as much as confidence for many tasks, confidence can really go a long way. It can help you in finding the clients and projects you want, and it can also aid you in building rapport with those you provide your services for. It can even help in your creative process, because believing in yourself is really essential if you are to successfully accomplish anything. Come to think of it, how can you expect people to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself?
That being said, here are a few tips that you can follow so that you, too, can harness your inner confidence as a freelancer.
Learn to be more assertive
Learning how to be more a more assertive communicator is one of the best things that you can do as a freelancer. Being able to communicate assertively and clearly is a practical skill that can help you in many areas, be it negotiating your rates, discussing the terms and conditions of your service, or pitching your ideas to your clients.
Assertiveness means being able to stand up for yourself to express your thoughts and beliefs in a direct and honest way without overstepping your bounds and still respecting the rights of other people. It is worth noting that being assertive is not the same as being aggressive, since the latter means undermining the rights or confidence of others by behaving inappropriately. Needless to say, aggressiveness reflects badly on your professionalism, and it can damage your reputation.
If you want to read up further on this subject, consider reading this guide on assertiveness for creatives and freelancers.
Improve your skills
If you find yourself thinking too much about the things you can’t do, it’s just going to be an additional blow to your confidence. Instead, why not focus on improving your skillset, especially on the things that you do best? Attend industry events, workshops, and seminars, and make reading a daily habit. Also, practice your skills constantly. If you’re a writer, start your own blog; if you’re an artist, join exhibits in your city. There are many things that you can do to achieve a level of skill that will be very valuable in your chosen career.
Find mentors and role models
Think about the person who’s the best at what you do. That person can be your role model or even a mentor. If he or she is based in a location far away, you can try reaching out and connecting with them via social media. Alternatively, you can also look for individuals who are based in your own city and try to meet them in person. Learn about the characteristics they possess that make them good at what they do, and then you can try to emulate and apply these in your own career path.
Connect with other people in your field
Networking allows you to find like-minded individuals with whom you can share ideas and even potentially get business referrals from. If you lack confidence, you might find the prospect of walking up to strangers intimidating, but this is exactly what you need to do if you want to get rid of your apprehension. Try attending networking or industry events to make things easier. Remember that most people don’t bite, and if they happen to be attending a networking event, it’s likely that they actually want to be approached as they are also there to meet new people.
Fake it until you make it
Most of the time, not having the confidence to do something is a product of overthinking it. It’s paralysis by over-analysis. You can counter this feeling by going out of your comfort zone and just doing the things you never thought you’d actually have the guts to do. Whether it’s speaking in front of an audience, joining a competition, or pitching to a very big client, just do it!
Build your confidence by faking it until you make it. If, for instance, it’s your first time speaking at an event, do everything you can to make it a success. Prepare your lines well, dress the part, be optimistic, and just smile. Acting like you’ve done it before will allow you to feel more at ease with the situation.
You don’t have to be extroverted, sociable, or extremely skilled to be confident in what you do. With the right attitude and a good amount of practice, you’ll be able to develop yourself professionally and emotionally, allowing you to be the best freelancer that you can be.