The evolution in the digital world has raised hopes in many freelancers. Evolution has not only changed the way we sell products and services but has also changed the structure of businesses. Freelance work could be the best example of this change.
Freelancing Is the Change We Were Seeking
Freelancing’s contractual or short term stints of work, often done from a remote location is relatively a new development in the business structure. Freelance work brings flexibility, freedom of choice and hope for a new beginning.
This was not possible if there weren’t those freelance platforms or social media sites that expertly connected clients and freelancers together. Several tools were also created to simplify and streamline the process of conducting business in specific and desired niches.
It’s Not Easy Though
Having said that freelancing is not easy work; in fact, one has to have a combination of several soft skills to handle the nature of this flexible work environment.
Unlike permanent jobs, freelance work needs continuous networking and communication with prospective clients (employers or companies here) for establishing reputation and building trust. We believe soft skills are quite essential, more than others, for freelancers.
5 Most Important Soft Skills Freelancers Need to Know
We have gathered 5 most important soft skills every freelancer must know in order to succeed and flourish.
1. Communication Skills
Freelancing work is mostly done over the phone, via mails and chats more than, face- to face interaction. Whether you are a photographer or a copywriter, constant communication is a must. Every client you’ll be working with will be different in their understanding capacity, technical knowledge and also with their requirements.
You can’t go about assuming that your clients would know what they want from you clearly and how you will deliver your services. Working together in freelancing will entail mastering the art of talking and listening.
Your ability to acquire new clients, your ability to negotiate price, your ability to understand client’s prerequisites, project implementation, and execution and follow-ups, in short just about everything will depend on the way you speak, listen, write and chat.
An introvert can also be an excellent communicator. Sending out well-crafted emails and getting in touch with your clients every now and then for regular updates can help accomplish a lot.
2. Organization Skills
The second most important skill that you need to master is the organizational skill. We don’t have to elaborate this, do we? As a freelancer, you will be the only person responsible for your actions by keeping yourself organized and get the work done. The inability to handle things and lack of discipline at work will quickly bring you at the bottom of the race.
Organizational skills are much more important for a freelancer because you won’t have superiors or subordinates to work as a team. From scheduling meetings to sending out invoices and mails, you will be responsible for A to Z tasks, tasks that a whole company does.
Being organized is following a routine and setting a time table. Learning the difference between important and urgent work will help you prioritize tasks. You should also learn to plan, schedule, deploy and edit tasks and actions all by yourself.
3. Stress Management
Competition is everywhere, even in the freelance world. Self-employment is completely different from working for somebody else or having someone working for you. It requires a change in mindset, work habits, and other routines. Stress is normal when making adjustments in the beginning.
Apart from handling your own work including the sales, marketing, service, accounting, and finance, you also have to chase away your freelance work competitors from your clients. Freelancers should have the capability of handling stress effectively. It should be a conscious effort.
Being organized and having a good command over your communication skills reduce stress considerably. How? If you know to handle given tasks and have excellent command over communication, you can not only deal and retain good clients but also be productive and play the hero in the maintenance of work-life balance.
You should know how to anticipate and reciprocate delays and unexpected problems and how to leave space to fix them.
4. Problem Solving
If you ace stress management skills, problem-solving would seem easy. However, problem-solving is an invaluable set of skills for freelancers. It is the term that talks about a person’s capability and ability to recognize a problem, understand a problem, understand its scope and come up with a sustaining resolution.
It also requires self-awareness, a state of mind that enables us to recognize problems and deal with it, not only in others but also within ourselves and our environment.
Problem-solving involves a number of skills – topping the chart is analytical skills, followed by creativity, project handling abilities, crisis management, leadership and error checking skills.
As a freelancer you need to be flexible in dealing with a range of challenges, few of them may also be recurring. Specific problems may arise with specific clients where you will have to work quick solutions so that things turn in your own favor.
Remember that there is no universal formula for all problems. Acting fast, communication skills and as well as stress management skills will come to your aid here.
5. Teamwork and Leadership
This may be a surprise but yes even freelancers who work for their own at some point in time will be part of a bigger project in spite of working alone.
You may be a content writer hired for a web development project. However, you will have to interact with the SEO manager, the web developer, the designer as well as keep track of the end client’s requirement.
When you work in a team, you will also have to demonstrate your leadership skills, and the ability to demand attention without being daunting or overpowering. While working as a team, you have to stay focused on self-improvement and stimulate others to achieve the greater good. (1)
Sometimes you have to work with people who are located on another side of the world. A great team player would know how effectively he can communicate ideas and thoughts at the same time contribute a lot to the team.