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.
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