How to Find Your Freelancing Confidence Today

It takes a lot of confidence to jump from an airplane, even if you do have a parachute. It also takes a lot of confidence to jump out of the traditional workplace into the freelancing marketplace.

Do you know what factor really keeps a lot of freelancers from achieving their ultimate success?

If you’re like me you’re probably guessing things like “lack of clients” or “not enough skills.”

While clients and skills are definitely important factors in achieving success, they aren’t the only factors. Surprisingly, confidence (or lack of it) plays a huge determining role in whether a freelancer is successful or not.

In this post, I explain why confidence is important and show you how you can bolster your confidence as a freelancer


Why Confidence Is So Important

Fear of freelancing (otherwise known as lack of confidence) is a very real problem for freelancers and would-be freelancers. You could make excuses for yourself for a very long time, but remember that many of our fears do not come true.

Low confidence is bad news for freelancers for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of the problems that can be caused by lack of confidence:

  • Not placing enough value on your work. If you don’t believe in yourself and in your abilities, you’re more likely to undercharge your clients.
  • Not marketing yourself adequately. Freelancers need to be constantly marketing themselves to succeed and good marketing takes confidence.
  • Not trying for the really challenging positions. Freelancers who don’t have confidence are unlikely to apply for really challenging or high profile projects.
  • Not learning new skills. Lack of confidence can also keep you from learning new skills and trying new things.
  • Not taking advantage of face-to-face networking events like seminars and meetups. Face-to-face meetings require confidence. Less confident freelancers tend to skip them.

In fact, lack of confidence may also be tied to creative block. Being too negative about yourself can drain your creativity. You need to believe that you can accomplish something in order to get something done.

The bottom line is this–if you suffer from a lack of confidence, your freelancing business is being hurt.

So, now that we’ve identified some of the problems that low freelancing confidence can cause, let’s look at some ways to build up your confidence.

How to Build Up Your Confidence

If you need an extra shot of confidence, try looking at these:

  • Your portfolio–Your very best work should be showcased here. (If it’s not, your portfolio needs to be updated ASAP.) If you’re feeling down about your abilities, browse through the work you’ve done once again and allow yourself the pride of accomplishment.
  • Your testimonials–If you’ve been doing your job properly, you’ve gotten some testimonials from clients about the value of your work. Reread thse from time to time to remind yourself of how clients view your work.
  • Your compliments file–Every freelancer should keep a compliments file. These are comments (emails, tweets, wall posts, etc.) that others make about you that you find to be uplifting.
  • Your network–Unless you’ve engaged in some sort of auto-following scheme, your network is made up of individuals who you interact with regularly and who are interested in your work.

If your confidence is low, don’t look at these:

  • Your competition’s portfolio–The grass will always look greener on the other side of the fence. If you’re low on confidence, you’ll be much less critical of your competitor’s profile than you should be and much more critical of your own than you should be.
  • Your unfinished goals–Of course, you have to keep up with your goals so you have to look at them once in a while. But obsessing over what you haven’t gotten done yet is no way to build your self-confidence.
  • Critical comments from clients–There’s such a thing as constructive feedback, and that’s a good thing. But the truth is that some clients will never be pleased no matter what you do. Don’t let a negative client destroy your freelancing confidence.

Your Turn

If you’re a freelancer right now, you’ve already had the confidence to jump out of the traditional workplace into the freelancing marketplace. That’s a terrific start!

What techniques do you use to build up your confidence? List your confidence-building tips in the comments.

Image by Pedliano

Comments

  1. says

    Set goals at the beginning of the year, and check quarterly to see how you’re doing with them. In spite of having a bit of a slow year last year, I accomplished at least 3 major goals along the way.

    In spite of the fact that I got a smartphone this year and now use its calendar, I still keep a written calendar and put my “to do” list on it. When I feel like I haven’t accomplished much, I can just thumb through my calendar and look at all the things I’ve crossed off. It also helps me see that even though it feels like I haven’t accomplished much, the list tells me how busy I’ve been and shows me all the work I’ve gotten done.

  2. says

    I can say that when I first began freelancing, the concept of getting a client to be willing to pay 800 a month was unthinkable. I was continually looking to be one of the cheapest for SEO and marketing consulting.

    Face forward 3 years, I am probably one of the highest paid consultants on one of the major freelance sites. I am also one of the most sought out consultants as well. I say this not to impress, but just to say that most of your value is in your own head. Once you are able to get a fair amount of social proof and you have the confidence to ask for the project, you will see doors that you THOUGHT we closed as if by magic.

  3. says

    Great to read, and great to see comments from someone like you Matt.

    I would agree that confidence is half the battle, and back when I started (some time ago) it was very hard to see how I could earn significant sums without seeming over priced. We still remain reasonable in the services we offer (more than just me now) but also don’t need to pitch at rock bottom prices.

  4. Jaison says

    I am a client, and when I posted my project to couple of freelancing sites to understand they are not worthwhile. Most clients redo or repost the projects as the quality is not met in the freelancing sites. I recommend the http://www.hireprogrammers.in, where they have high-level of expertise and help the clients to get the right person for their projects. They assure high productivity and help in project management also.

  5. says

    Growing any business requires sales and a good salesman is always confident but you not only have to be confident of yourself but of everything. Your image, your spoken language and most importantly, your work. That kind of confidence speaks for itself.

  6. says

    Having worked in graphic design for 20 years, I took the plunge 6 years ago to set up a freelance graphic design business. I agree about how important self confidence is and these tips are very useful. When work is quiet, confidence levels drop and sometimes you need to take yourself away from the office and do something else for a while like going for a walk and hopefully come back refreshed ready to try new ideas.

  7. says

    Hi Laura, I’m working full-time now but teaching myself web design with the goal of freelancing in the (hopefully near) future. Just discovered your site, and this article addresses one of the biggest concerns I have about hanging my own shingle. Your post also reminded me of a chapter of “The Four-Hour Workweek”, specifically the one about becoming an expert in your field. For those who haven’t read it, the author gives some good tips, such as registering online as a source of quotes for reporters and journalists. Have you read it, Laura, and if so, how useful and relevant are the usefulness of the tips in the “Become An Expert” chapter?

  8. says

    Confidence is contagious. I’m proficient at things i do and that i know you’re, too. When we don’t accept is as true, nobody else will. After which we’ll be broke self employed who need to do unspeakable things

  9. says

    Being a freelancer, there is no one who can buck you up. There is no team leader and no Boss to whom, you have to answer. In such situation, it can become really easy to loose your confidence because you are working alone.

    I try giving myself a deadline and keep telling myself that i have to complete a particular task by that time. It really helps increase my confidence level.

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