Ask any 5th grader, and they would be quick to capture the meaning of life skills in a nutshell as it's one of the profound keywords in the school curriculum. However, in the context of this write-up, life skills are the requisite qualities a freelance specialist should own to upgrade their freelancing career.
That is not all.
You probably have seen many of these life skills listed on other platforms, but looking for the most important ones applicable to every freelancer. If my observation is correct, this post is for you, for I will be walking you through the five top skills that will change your freelancing career for the best.
Ready? Let us get started!
How To Communicate With A Stranger
Who knows George Bernard Shaw and his famous quote, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”? It illustrates how deeply we misunderstand the concept of communication. And I can tell you it is worse in business relationships. Duolingo or any language app cannot solve this communication problem; learning a new language is not a guarantee that you would "wow" a prospective client. At the heart of effective communication is understanding — you understand, they understand, and all of you are on the same wavelength. So simple an explanation, right? Yet, some freelancers are struggling to catch on.
For effective communication to take place, it has to be devoid of assumptions and surprises. That means details of your role in the project should make enough sense to you, and the project deliverables and date of their submission clear to both you and your hirer. Where necessary, speak and write to your client in easy-to-understand terms about anything you failed to understand about the contract. Next, wait for a confirmatory message from them before you can get on with the project.
Despite the number of years you have worked for your client, every successful project is a product of clear, detailed communication. Note that if for any reason you desire to amend already agreed on plans, your client must be in the know of the changes as early as possible. That averts any form of protracted misunderstanding of project outcomes. Indeed, communication matters much and might be the difference between an employer sticking with you for life or hiring your replacement for their next project.
The Dependability of A Mother's Love
To the small-minded, freelancing is all about what the freelancer would gain from a contract. Naturally, that leaves the client's business in limbo. Little wonder freelancers with this petty way of reasoning end up with bitter lessons in failure, given that most of their first-time clients became last-seen clients.
Overall, a dependable freelance professional goes the extra mile to skyrocket their client's profits. This freelancer over-delivers in their services, though they may not receive payment for the additional effort.
That said, I do not advise any freelancer to work free of charge, especially if you are new to freelancing. Be careful of the tricks of freeloaders posing as hires online, who want to exploit your naivety by requesting that you do unpaid tests that would consume your whole day for nothing. Few freelancers have cashed out after countless back-and-forth revisions and unavoidable stress. You would not ever want to go through that hell.
A dependable freelancer sets about every contract with the mindset to transform a business into a successful venture, and their reward is the client's testimonial of the freelancer's expertise. Most often, surpassing an employer’s expectations is the best tactic in retaining their loyalty and patronage. We know of many reliable freelance specialists who have never been in want of jobs, as they are busy with contracts from existing clients and their referrals.
The Guts To Set Boundaries
Myth: No boundaries for freelancers
Fact: A freelancer has boundaries
Working remotely shouldn't open doors to clients, friends, and family to treat you like an ox yoked to plow on their fields. Freelancers are human with real emotional and physical needs. One of the things that make freelancers thick or let's say "self aware" is when they master the art of setting healthy boundaries between work and life.
I recommend freelancers to communicate their work hours with their clients. Let their kids, friends, siblings, and parents know about their work hours too just only their free time. More essentially, insist they respect these boundaries.
The Ability To Sell Ice To An Eskimo
Think of marketing as anything legal you do to promote your services to potential clients. As a freelance talent, your marketing skill must be bang on for your freelancing career to enjoy massive success. The cherry on the cake is that promoting your skills and services does not cost a dime; with your bold moves and the quality of your service delivery, the cookie is yours!
In trying to advertise your skills, you must be familiar with some marketing avenues, one of which is owning a website where you upload SEO'd content to demonstrate your expertise. You can also join professional marketplaces like Upwork, Hourspent, and LinkedIn where many independent talents promote their services through their profiles on the platforms. I will encourage you to request feedback and reviews from clients every time you complete a contract. That will act as a good testimonial of your competency as a freelancer. There is nothing shameful in asking clients for feedback and reviews. In fact, by offering your services to them, you have earned the right to their assessment and response.
How To Flex Your Adaptability/Flexibility Muscles
Adaptability/Flexibility is quite underrated yet, is the pillar supporting every ambitious freelancer’s profession. By its nature, freelancing demands that a professional learns to cope favorably with seasonal changes in the job. More so, they have to make compromises to accommodate clients’ unstable requests.
Considering that freelancing is not a traditional 9-5 where steady work is guaranteed, you must make up your mind as a freelancer to adjust to changing conditions. How? is the question. Let’s say you are good at tech writing but passionate about fantasy. But if gigs on fantasy fiction are hard to come by, and there are openings for tech writers, what will you do? Switch to tech writing, of course.
To end this section, bear in mind that you should think of ways to be flexible in your interpersonal relationships with a client. Whereas some clients will prefer an informal, laidback mode of correspondence, others may be quite conservative, wanting only formal outfits in video calls. Flexibility can be summed in this saying When in Rome, behave like the Romans.