“I can’t ask my client for a raise – she might decide she doesn’t think I’m worth it.”
“I’m afraid to go after high-paying clients in case I’m not cut out for the job.”
“My clients sometimes make unreasonable requests and I have a hard time saying, ‘No.'”
If any of that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many freelancers and solopreneurs struggle with confidence. More accurately, they struggle with a lack of confidence. So if any of the statements above sounded like you, it’s time to seriously consider your confidence level so you can become an even more successful freelancer.
How Being Confident Affects Your Freelance Career
Being confident in yourself and your abilities impacts all areas of your life. A confident freelancer (or service-based entrepreneur) knows their worth. They know that they have skills which will benefit their clients. They know they may have room to grow and learn, but that it doesn’t mean they’re incapable of providing help.
I look at myself as an example. I have about 3-4 years of experience in the freelancing world combined with a lifetime of chronic illness, an education in psychology, and experience as a group facilitator. Even though I don’t have a Ph.D. and I haven’t worked in the freelancing world to be an “expert” I know that I have a special, unique role to play in my clients’ lives. I can support them, teach them how to break into the industry, infuse mental wellbeing aspects into my coaching, and lead groups to success in helping themselves and each other.
You don’t have to be an expert to have value!
It’s important to find a level of confidence in your skills and abilities which brings you closer to being a successful freelancer.
Having healthy confidence:
- Encourages you to go after clients
- Helps you value your services at a rate which will sustain you
- Assists you in creating healthy working boundaries
- Allows you to admit when you are wrong
- Encourages you to keep learning
- Empowers you to do your work without doubting or second-guessing yourself
- Increases the quality of your work since you can pay more attention to what you’re doing and spend less time worrying
The Difference Between Career Confidence and Arrogance
Look, when I’m talking about being confident I’m not saying to start acting like you know everything or to argue with your clients about what’s right. That’s arrogance, and no one enjoys working with arrogant people. *Shocker!*
Being overly confident can result in:
- More mistakes because you aren’t consulting with clients
- Clients learning not to trust your judgement
- Losing clients
- Receiving bad reviews and reducing the number of clients you’ll have in the future
It’s fairly easy to avoid arrogance in your freelancing or entrepreneurial venture. Stay humble. Remind yourself that there is always room to grow and room to learn. Sign up for courses and resources which will encourage your learning.
Some freelancers worry that they will come across as arrogant if they make any suggestions to clients. They worry that their clients will think they are calling decisions and ideas into question. The truth is, though, that discussing ideas with clients creates a platform for brainstorming. This means that the client can end up gaining a lot more value from their working with you than if they worked with a freelancer who was afraid to speak up. The key is to find a balance between being afraid to talk to clients and coming across as arrogant. That balance is healthy career confidence.
If you’re worried that you’re going to appear arrogant, tell your client that you have an idea or concern you would like to discuss and propose “possible solutions” instead of telling your client they’re doing things wrong or that they “need” to make certain changes. You client has likely done a lot of market research, probably has a lot of experience in his/her field, and likely knows more pieces of the puzzle than you do in regard to their own company. It’s important to show that you understand their advantage and that the decisions are ultimately theirs.
How to Grow Your Career Confidence to Become a Successful Freelancer
The problem a lot my coaching clients face is that they know they should be more confident but don’t know how to get from where they are now to where they want to be. They describe a feeling of wanting to be more confident and often ask, “What do I do to get there?”
Change Your Thinking
Whether from life experiences or from comparing yourself to others in the industry, your low confidence level can be improved. It all starts with retraining your mind. By taking charge of your thoughts, challenging those thoughts that tell you negative things about yourself, and practicing proving to yourself why you are good enough, you can start to step into a more confident realm.
It’s not always easy. Sometimes it can take months of practice to get your mind to really believe that you can do this; to really believe that you have what it takes. It’s worth it in the end, though!
Create Healthy Boundaries
Another great way to grow your confidence is to learn about appropriate working boundaries and to apply those boundaries to your career. Healthy working boundaries allow you to create a working environment in which you are respected and your needs are met which reinforces the idea that you are a valued contributor to your clients’ businesses. You may not feel empowered to create these boundaries now, but doing it anyway helps prove to your mind that it is safe to have good working boundaries.
Boosting your confidence can lead to becoming a successful freelancer in ways you might not even think of. While there is a difference between confidence and arrogance, it’s not as fine a balance as you may think. With some solid mindset changes, you can become a successful freelancer WITHOUT crossing the line into arrogance. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to give yourself that confidence boost!
About the Author
Amy-Lynn Denham is a freelancing business coach and freelance writer who relishes in the excitement of watching other freelancers’ careers launch into successful businesses. She devotes much of her time to helping fellow freelancers through her coaching business and her freelancing advice and support group on Facebook. Click here to check out Amy’s “Unlock Your Potential” course!
Amy’s working and educational background include freelancing, group facilitation, and psychological studies. Her physical health concerns have ignited a passion for helping other chronic illness warriors find alternative working options and to create a balance between their work and their health. She’s a huge advocate for mental health and enjoys working one-on-one with clients whose mental health struggles have impacted their careers.