Attitude Counts

What is the difference between a successful freelancer and one who fails? Do you know that answer?

Of course, there are many variables behind a successful freelancing career.

Talent and skill definitely do count for something as does providing good customer service. However, I’m convinced that a key characteristic of many successful freelancers is their positive attitude.

A good attitude can help to carry you through a lot of tricky freelancing situations. The right attitude can help you effectively deal with difficult people. Simply put, the right attitude can keep you from giving up when freelancing gets tough.

In this post, I’ll share some examples of situations where attitude makes a difference. I’ll also discuss how you can cultivate a good attitude. Finally, I’ll invite you to share your own thoughts on the difference attitude makes in your own freelancing business.

5 Situations Where Attitude Makes a Difference

Maintaining a good freelancing attitude isn’t always the easiest thing to do. It’s just too easy to get the freelancing blahs. A good attitude, however, can make a difference between freelancing success and freelancing failure.

Let’s look at the following common freelancing situations:

  1. Work isn’t coming in like it used to. Nearly every freelancer faces a work slowdown at one time or another. The reason could be the economy, or it could be something the freelancer is doing that needs to be changed. Whatever the cause, attitude is key. At this point, a freelancer with a negative attitude may give up. He or she may feel sorry for themselves without doing anything. A positive proactive freelancer, however, will double his or her marketing efforts while examining current practices to see if anything needs to change.
  2. A client criticizes your work. Dealing with criticism is an important freelancing skill because nearly every freelancer receives some criticism. How you deal with client criticism can make the difference between keeping a client (or at least keeping a client from badmouthing you to others) and losing one. A negative freelancer may blow up when criticized. On the other hand, a positive freelancer won’t take criticism personally. Instead, he or she will seek to defuse the situation and (if possible) find out what the client really needs.
  3. You’re hit with a sudden unexpected expense. Costly emergencies can and do happen. Freelancers are not exempt. When it happens, it can be an extremely stressful time. Keeping the right attitude throughout this crisis can make all of the difference. If you don’t have an emergency fund, you can try to work something out with your creditor. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to take on extra work temporarily or even a part-time job.
  4. Your industry changes and you need new training. Let’s face it. You may have great skills right now, but most freelancers will constantly need to update their skills. If you have the wrong attitude you may feel put out or uncomfortable about having to find training (especially if it’s expensive). If you have the right attitude, you’ll be excited about learning new things. Plus, you’ll look for creative ways to learn if you can’t afford the training.
  5. Your new project requires you to work on a team. You may think that you left teamwork behind when you started freelancing, but if you do think that freelancers never work on teams you’re wrong. A significant number of freelance projects require that the freelancer work as part of a team. As a freelancing team member, you’ll need to have a good attitude to mesh well with the rest of the project team.

As you can see, having a positive attitude generally pays off. But how can a freelancer get and keep a positive attitude?

How to Cultivate a Good Freelancing Attitude

Nearly everyone slips into a negative attitude sometimes, but if you find your attitude is consistently bad you may need to take some steps to change it. Here are some positive steps you can take to improve your attitude:

  • Choose to focus on the good. Nearly every day both positive and negative events occur. The events that you choose to dwell on will influence your attitude. Choose to focus on the good that happens each day.
  • Make a conscious choice not to gripe. You may think that griping is making you feel better, but in some cases it is just a form of dwelling on the negative. When something bad happens, deal with it and move on.
  • Avoid complainers. If you surround yourself with negative people you are much more likely to adopt a negative attitude yourself. Avoid spending too much time with individuals who complain excessively.
  • Program your mind with positive materials. Read uplifting books and blogs. A few good examples include The Happiness Project, The Positivity Blog, and LifeDev.
  • Take care of yourself. If you’re tired or sick, you may have more trouble maintaining a positive outlook. So, be sure to get enough rest and treat any possible symptoms of illness promptly.

Your Turn

Does having the right attitude make a difference in your own freelancing business?

Share some examples in the comments.

Image by {Charlotte Morrall}