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5 People Skills Every Freelancer Needs to Thrive

5 People Skills Every Freelancer Needs to Thrive

While technical skills are essential for success as a freelancer, mastering people skills is equally crucial. Effective communication, collaboration, and relationship-building can make all the difference in building a thriving freelance career. In this article, we will explore five essential people skills every freelancer should develop to excel in their business.

1. Communication Skills

Effective communication is the foundation of success in any professional field, and freelancing is no exception. As a freelancer, you must clearly and confidently communicate with clients, their team members, and fellow freelancers in many different situations. From your very first call with a client to communicating needs and tasks with their team or other freelancers, knowing how to communicate can be the difference between executing a great project - or one falling completely flat. 

Active listening and understanding the client's requirements are vital to delivering high-quality work. Prompt and concise responses to emails, messages, and calls demonstrate professionalism and reliability. Writing emails and messages that use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation can really reflect on you either positively or negatively. 

Moreover, freelancers often work remotely, which emphasizes the need for clear and efficient written communication. Developing excellent writing skills, including grammar, spelling, and overall clarity, will enhance your ability to convey ideas effectively and maintain a positive impression.

Practice: Listening 80% of the time when speaking with a potential client. You'll be amazed at what you'll learn and how you can use it to better your projects. 

2. Interpersonal Skills

Strong interpersonal skills are crucial for building positive relationships with clients. As a freelancer, you must be able to establish rapport and create a comfortable working environment, especially for clients who are new to working with freelancers or have been previously burned by an experience. Empathy and respect are essential qualities that foster trust and long-term partnerships.

Being able to navigate conflicts and resolve issues amicably is also essential. It is vital to handle feedback and criticism gracefully, demonstrating a willingness to learn and improve. Developing strong interpersonal skills allows you to build a network of loyal clients and colleagues who will vouch for your professionalism and recommend your services.

Practice: Asking for feedback and taking insights on board. Being able to positively listen to feedback (versus taking it as criticism) is a skill that can exponentially grow your business. 

✨ Quick Tip ✨

It may seem insignificant, but try the "triple nod" when a client is speaking. When they say something that you agree with or that they're excited about, nod three times with a smile. It can make them feel heard, appreciated, and like you really care. 

3. Time Management Skills

Effective time management is an invaluable skill for freelancers. Successfully managing multiple projects, meeting deadlines, and balancing work-life demands can be challenging. Developing a systematic approach to prioritizing tasks, creating schedules, and setting realistic deadlines is essential.

Freelancers should also communicate their availability and project timelines clearly to clients, ensuring transparency and avoiding misunderstandings. Efficient time management helps to reduce stress, enhance productivity, and maintain a positive reputation in the freelance community.

Practice: Using a project management app like Asana, Trello, or Clickup to effectively manage your tasks and projects, as well as track your time to better understand future project timelines. 

4. Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills are vital for freelancers when discussing project terms, rates, and deadlines with clients. Being able to articulate your value and justify your pricing based on your expertise and experience is crucial. It's important to strike a balance between being assertive and accommodating, ensuring both parties benefit from the collaboration.

Developing negotiation skills also involves understanding and adapting to the needs of different clients. Flexibility and the ability to find mutually agreeable solutions can help foster long-term relationships and secure repeat business.

Practice: Stating your price - and then saying nothing. Allow clients to think and provide their feedback instead of getting nervous and filling the silence with justifications. You could just talk yourself out of a higher pay day if you natter unnecessarily. 

5. Networking Skills

Building a strong professional network is essential for freelancers. Networking allows you to connect with potential clients, learn from experienced professionals, and discover new opportunities. Engage in online communities, attend industry events, and utilize social media platforms to showcase your work and connect with like-minded individuals.

Effective networking also involves nurturing relationships with existing clients and colleagues, as they can serve as valuable references and sources of new projects. Actively seeking out collaboration opportunities and demonstrating a willingness to support and refer other freelancers can help create a strong network of trusted contacts.

Practice: Booking short 15-30 minute calls with complimentary freelancers to discuss their business, the types of clients they like to work with, and if there are any opportunities to work together in the future. 

Summing it Up

By mastering effective communication, interpersonal skills, time management, negotiation, and networking, freelancers can enhance their professional relationships, secure more projects, and build a successful and fulfilling freelance career.

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