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Emotional Intelligence Skills in Freelancing

May 19, 2023

Emotional Intelligence (or Emotional Quotient)

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm," Winston Churchill 

In many ways, freelancing differs from traditional employment. When you go it alone, you must find your clients, market your services to generate sales, deliver the work, provide customer service, and collect payment. As a sole proprietor, you are what financial guru Dave Ramsey refers to as a CEO: the Chief Everything Officer. Even if you hire help, the truth is that it all comes back to you in the end!

One thing I believe is missing from the discussion of freelance work is the range of emotions (both positive and negative). Fear of failure, financial shame, excitement at the freedom and economic opportunity, and uncertainty about your income are everyday feelings. 

Here are the top five essential emotional management skills for freelancers to ride the ups and downs of self-employment:

1. Patience 

This is especially important for new freelancers who are just starting. It takes a lot to get things started, and your first sale is often the most difficult to obtain. Many service providers are caught in the Catch-22 situation of needing the experience to gain experience. If you use Upwork, it may be challenging to land your first job (because you still need a work history on the platform), but it IS possible. Many freelancers give up too quickly because they do not immediately see sales. You must practise patience.

Another aspect of freelancing that requires patience is sales. When talking to prospects and presenting your value proposition, resist the urge to put them under any pressure. It may cause them to lose trust in you and withdraw. It could take a day, a week, or even a month for them to hire you. Marketing guru Seth Godin uses it as permission marketing: ask for permission and wait for the sale. I understand how difficult this can be when you need or want the money, but patience is the only way to achieve long-term success in sales.

2. Resilience

You must be able to weather difficult storms as a business owner. Whether it's a strained client relationship, a negative review, or a period of inactivity, all freelancers face difficulties in their work. Try to remain calm and, most importantly, LEARN from what has occurred. Be sad about what happened, but don't dwell on it too long.

3. Detachment

This one may appear strange at first glance. Of course, as freelancers, we are enthusiastic about what we do! However, you must be emotionally detached to avoid drowning in disappointment every time you are not hired for a project. Nobody has a 100% conversion rate for the pitches they make to leads; you will be rejected!

Newbie freelancers must learn how to use Upwork and be told that once they submit a proposal for a job, they should forget about it. Don't think about it any longer. Don't keep checking your messages, hoping the client will respond. Please don't get so attached to completing a specific task that you become fixated on it. Let it go. And when clients do respond, that's fantastic! But don't sit around waiting for it. You will drive yourself insane with anxiety if you continue in this manner.

Take heart if you are passed over for a job that seemed fantastic to you. There will be many more jobs available to you in the future, and you will land some of them and be able to deliver excellent work. While you should be proud of your freelance work regarding marketing and pre-sales communication with clients, learn to detach yourself from projects so you may not get emotional.

4. Stress Tolerance  

Freelancing can be fraught with uncertainty. Will I be able to get this sale? Will this client appreciate my work? I need money, so where will my next job come from? All of this necessitates the ability to manage your stress. You learn to read the signs that indicate whether or not you're going to get the deal. You know how to over-deliver for clients and communicate that you can work on the project until it is finished to their satisfaction. You learn to plan financially for the long term and have savings to get you through any business downturns. Even so, you must be able to calm yourself when things become difficult and reassure yourself that you can do it.

5. Persistence 

While you must be patient to get the freelance ball rolling for your business, you must also be persistent. Continue to apply for projects, look for freelance work, contact prospects, and market yourself. Laura Briggs, a freelance veteran, had to use it over 30 times before landing her first Upwork gig. She has now written two books, developed numerous courses, founded her non-profit to teach freelancing to military spouses, and earns over six figures annually. What would have happened if she had given up? So persevere and keep going!

We hope we've covered the importance of getting client testimonials and how to get them. Hopefully, we can be of assistance. Keep an eye out!

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