When you’re an expert in your respective field, you surely have the skills needed for a successful completion of a task. That’s what the freelancing industry is all about: letting you do what you’re skilled at, so you can earn money from it. That’s an excellent opportunity for you. Does it mean you already have what it takes? Let’s see: do you have all soft skills needed for success?
Just like the workers in all other industries, freelancers need some soft skills, too. They have to compete for their spot on the market. When they are hunting for new clients and trying to build long-lasting relationships with their current clients – that’s when soft skills get into the picture.
We’ll list the most important soft skills that any freelancer needs to work on.
This is an essential! When you’re looking for new clients, you’ll have to communicate with them. You’re not so comfortable with Skype interviews? Well, that means you’re passing up on real jobs. It’s not a skill you can’t work on. With some practice, you’ll get better at video interviews.
The communication skills don’t stop there. Written communication is also important. Ben Rogers, a hiring manager from a writing service, tells us: “When you’re trying to land a gig, you have to communicate with the clients. Some of them are non-native English speakers, so you might misunderstand their requirements. Others are not so great at explaining all their needs. As a freelancer, you need advanced written communication skills. You have to ask for clarification in a non-offensive way, so you’ll make sure you understand what the client needs.”
You also need to maintain the communication on a healthy level. No one asks you to become friends with a regular client. You just need to approach all messages with a positive attitude and make sure that no misunderstandings occur.
Stress Management Skills
The competition in this industry is crazy! Even when you do your best, you still might be losing clients to freelancers who are willing to charge less for the same type of job. Do you start setting lower rates per hour or do you keep the price true to your talent? How do you cancel a contract for a job that no longer inspires you when the client is so nice to you?
Stress is a massive problem for freelancers. You have to be the best at what you do if you want to work for the best clients. You have to stay competitive with your work, but with your charges as well. Your whole life will become a routine. When you’re working on important tasks with close deadlines, you’ll be spending entire days in a room.
Without proper stress management skills, you’ll soon break under the pressure. So do some yoga. Listen to relaxing music. Try a meditation app like Calm. Don’t forget you have friends and spend more time with them. Don't forget you have a life outside freelancing!
Nearly all projects you work on will be based on teamwork. Someone will be in charge of the graphic design. Another freelancer will take on the web design process. A freelance writer will produce the content. A marketing expert will deal with the promotion. A team leader will manage all these aspects of a project. Every successful project is based on close collaboration.
As a member of such a team, you’ll have to learn how to collaborate. You need to understand your role in the chain and do your best job in a way that fits with everyone else’s contributions.
Many people decide to try freelancing because they think they can work whenever they want. That’s now how it happens. If you want to be successful in this job and earn good money with freelancing, you’ll have to get your schedule on track. The more organized you are, the more productive work you’ll cover within a day. The more work you do, the more money you make. Is that motif good enough for you?
When you’re not under a direct supervision and you’re free to arrange your schedule however you like, the responsibility for staying organized is even greater. Remember: you still have deadlines to meet.
You can use various tools to improve your organizational skills:
Google Calendar – an essential organizer that lets you keep track of deadlines;
Remember The Milk – a simple to-do list and task management app;
Focus Booster – an app that tracks the way you spend your time online and gives you detailed reports, but also helps you get more productive through the Pomodoro timer feature.
You probably included problem-solving as a skill in your resume, didn’t you? That’s because it’s an important skill that every employer is looking for. But, do you really understand it? Do you really have it?
Problem-solving skills refer to your ability to recognize a problem, analyze and understand it, and come up with a relevant solution. As a freelancer, you’ll have different problems to solve. Sometimes you won’t understand a project. Sometimes you won’t be able to meet deadlines. Sometimes the client won’t pay what you earned. Sometimes you’ll do a really bad job and you’ll have to make revisions.
You have to recognize the challenges and identify the problems before they get too serious. The more flexible you are to search for the solution, the better you’ll deal with all kinds of situations.
No matter how great your soft skills are, remember: there’s always space for growth. Building a freelancing career is a challenging journey that constantly imposes the need for self-improvement. Work on the above-listed soft skills and you’ll definitely see a difference in the way you freelance.