Freelancing successfully is possible for anyone who has the right stuff. The question is what that stuff is, and how you can have it. It all hinges on the attitude that you nurture in your professional life. This post is designed to help you identify the right attitude to freelance successfully on FreeUp – or any other marketplace, and even offline, for that matter.
You may also be asking where this information comes from, and why you should pay attention to it.
This guide is written from the perspective of a career freelancer who has also hired other freelancers, and the ups and downs of the journey of building and expanding a freelance business.
As a freelancer, I started out from scratch – no freelancing or virtual assistant courses, not a lot of computer or internet savvy. I built a thriving solo business and started freelancing successfully with just a few hard skills and a lot of what you’ll read about below. I learned what clients are happy to pay for, both from my experiences working with them and hiring freelancers to expand my offering.
This guide is for you if you:
- are trying to build your freelance career
- want to level up your freelance business
… but it seems you are facing challenges at every turn.
Let’s dive into the key attitudes that affect your professional life how you can develop the attributes that will help you to start freelancing successfully.
We hear this word “attitude” a lot on FreeeUp, but what does it really mean?
Basically, your attitude is the natural or usual way that you think or feel about someone or something. When applied to work, it is composed of all the people and things that you deal with when you’re working.
And remember, it is the natural way you do things.
We’ll break that down into the four main factors, then for each someone and something, ask yourself: How do I feel / think about this person / thing in relation to work?
And, more importantly: How can I change this for the better?
The first person you are dealing with at work is yourself. You are involved in every interaction, and you are therefore the most important someone among everyone when it comes to attitude. And how you feel about yourself will affect each interaction you participate in.
You are the main factor. Imagine what happens in these situations and how that carries over to your work:
These are just a few of the more common personal issues that freelancers have. Most likely, you will have been in at least one of these situations before.
For example, when you are unwell, whether physically, emotionally or mentally, you know that it hinders productivity. You work more slowly and less accurately, among other things. Clients can tell, and when it happens often, they are soon disappointed. And if you take sick days, this is not impressive, either. The best way to deal with health issues as a freelancer is to work when you can perform at your peak.
Part of freelancing successfully is taking advantage of benefits like flexible work times.
If you have health problems that often interfere with performance, you might take on projects that don’t require you to be at your computer every day for a certain number of hours. You can take control of your time so that you can give your health the attention it needs without sacrificing work.
The key person you will be dealing with on any project is the person who hires you to do it. You will most likely be in close communication with this person. If you are dealing with a project manager or another hire, the client is still the person with the final say. How you feel about and what you think of the client carries a lot of weight.
Here are a couple of common situations that can greatly affect your work:
This is an important factor that isn’t really given much thought. It’s of course good to give other people the benefit of the doubt and to try to make adjustments for others’ quirks. The problem is that this is effectively ignoring the problem, and it causes unnecessary stress.
Just as clients are advised that avoiding conflict is bad, freelancers at times need to initiate difficult conversations with clients to get on the same page. You are a professional, and you don’t deserve to be treated badly. Even if it’s just a matter of not being the right fit personally, it’s enough to consider.
You might feel that a client is overly critical or rude. You might think that they don’t take the advice you were hired to give then blame you for the results. You might simply feel that you don’t enjoy working with the person. The key is to try to resolve the conflict – and do it politely.
Personality differences can become a major hindrance to productivity, so weigh the issue carefully. If you can’t resolve your differences, it might mean that it’s time to let go and move on. It will never work for the best to stay in a relationship with a client when you don’t get along. It’s important, however, that you always give them adequate notice and make yourself available to onboard a replacement.
These are all the people that you work with on different projects. You may report to them or the other way around. You may rely on each other to complete different parts of a project. Whichever the case, think about the following sample situations and what effect they can have on your work:
Do the people you work with give you a hard time? I think we’ve all been there.
Working with others is actually a common challenge that pushes a lot of people to leave the corporate world and freelance instead. It doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, though. Especially on a marketplace like FreeeUp, you can expect a greater level of professionalism in the people you work with, just as they will with you.
No one likes being a snitch, but you shouldn’t have to cover for others when they aren’t doing their share of the work. You might also try to improve the situation by working with them to find the root cause of the problem. You may be a solopreneur, but even freelancing all by your lonesome is often a collaborative effort — we don;t always work on projects that never touch other areas handled by other people. Besides, we all grow stronger when we help each other to overcome different challenges. It’s part of the freelance game.
Think objectively as well about these different issues if others have mentioned that they have a problem with you in these areas. I think I can safely say that we have all missed deadlines, been late to a meeting, had a bad day when we just didn’t feel creative, etc. We can all make positive adjustments to improve the overall work environment and keep each other happy!
This one is composed of smaller parts, just like the people above, but the same principles can be applied across the board. Look at these work-related situations:
The Right Fit
Nathan is famous on the FreeUp Marketplace for advising freelancers not to take on projects unless it’s 100% the right fit. He tells clients the same thing about freelancers. This is based on the principle of the proverbial square peg in a round hole: Anything that doesn’t fit perfectly will inevitably cause stress. It never turns out as good as it should when it causes strain and takes unnecessary effort.
It may take time, but the right fit is worth the wait.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t have the best of all possibilities. This is what will take away a lot of those bad feelings towards work.
Think about why you don’t jump for joy at the thought of work. I can guarantee that most of the time, it’s not simply because it’s work, but because you don’t enjoy the work that you do. Conversely, when you have the best, it makes you happy.
When you know what you can do well and you love doing it, you won’t have trouble finding projects that you love to work on.
It may be tempting to take what’s available today, but that won’t be the best. It can be scary not to have work for a few weeks, but this is a reality of the freelance world. An adjustment you might make here is putting aside some savings for these times. You can also adjust your rates so you are covered.
And don’t forget that the best clients will know if you’re trying to fake it ‘til you make it. You won’t last very long or get good pay or be satisfied in this situation. It’s a stop-gap measure that will fail, usually very fast. And your position will be worse than where you started – you’ll again have no project, plus you’ll have lost your reputation.
Now that you are aware of your attitude towards all these people and things, you can start making positive adjustments. Yes, the key is in making adjustments that are positive. This is the defining characteristic of a good attitude.
Good vibes flow outward and become an attractive inspiration for others, making things better. Bad vibes multiply in the same way, and you’ll soon feel their backlash if this is what you are in a position to generate and absorb.
If you can change the way that you naturally feel and think about people and things to make it more positive, then you can encourage the positive change that you need to be a successful freelancer.
If you accept that you can blame no one but yourself for your success or failure, you will inevitably find ways to succeed.
You can’t control the people and things around you, but you can exert control over your own feelings and thoughts. You might think that this can’t change much, but you won’t know how much it actually can improve your chances of success until you try.
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