7 Ways to Boost Your Confidence as a Freelancer
Are you smart enough and talented enough to succeed in freelancing? If you’re like many freelancers, you’re not sure you’ve got what it takes. But you probably have a lot more going for you than you think you do—and little or no reason to lack confidence. I’ve seen this over and over again in the freelancers I’ve met and coached.
The seemingly unshakable confidence of successful freelancers isn’t something we’re born with. We’ve worked hard, and often long, to build that confidence. You can too.
Confidence is What You Believe and How You See Yourself
Confidence is a belief in yourself and your ability to succeed.
“True confidence—that feeling of ability, expertise, and self-regard—has nothing to do with how you want other people to see you. It has everything to do with how you see yourself,” says Jeff Haden, in “Sell Your Myth, But Don’t Buy It: 7 Ways to Develop Genuine Self-Confidence.”
How Confidence Helps Freelancers Succeed
Confidence helps you build trust and make a great first impression. Trust is crucial, because clients want to work with freelancers who they trust, or who someone they know trusts. Colleagues who refer freelancers to clients will choose freelancers who are confident, because they need to trust a freelancer before making a referral.
So confidence helps you attract high-paying clients.
Confidence helps you deal with stress and meet challenges head on. It helps you keep going when things aren’t going well. And sometimes, things won’t go well—because freelancing isn’t easy.
So confidence makes your life easier.
When you lack confidence, you’ll be afraid to take risks. And you’ll miss some great opportunities.
So it will be much harder—maybe impossible—to build a stable, successful freelance business.
Your 2-Minute Confidence Boost
There are lots of ways to boost your confidence. Let’s start with something you can do right now, or any time you feel stressed, in just two minutes, to feel more confident.
Pose like Wonder Woman: Stand tall, put your hands on your hips, and push your chest out. Stand like that for 2 minutes.
This high-power pose can boost your confidence and decrease anxiety, says social psychologist Amy Cuddy.
Cuddy studies body language. She brought students into her laboratory and put them in high-power poses (open and relaxed) or low-power poses (closed and guarded) for two minutes.
“Two minutes led to hormonal changes that configure your brain to be either confident and comfortable or really stress-reactive and shut down,” says Cuddy. “
People who stood in the high-power poses were also 26% more likely to take risks than people who stood in low-power poses. And running a successful freelance business requires taking some risks.
“Our bodies change our minds and our minds change our behavior and our behavior changes our outcomes,” says Cuddy.
Pose for Yourself
But don’t pose like Wonder Woman when you’re meeting a client or networking with other freelancers.
Do this when you’re alone. You can do it:
- Every day
- When you’re feeling stressed
- Before you go into a stressful situation.
“Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes,” says Cuddy.
6 More Ways to Boost Your Confidence
Here are 6 more ways to boost your confidence as a freelancer.
1. Be Positive.
Act confident and you’ll become confident. Cuddy calls this faking it until you become it.
“Stop wondering if other people have some special something that you don’t have. Start thinking, “Why not me?” says Haden.
And stop feeling like a fraud, that you’re not good enough to succeed as a freelancer. There’s a name for this, and it’s called imposter syndrome. Up to 70% of all people, including many famous people, have faced imposter syndrome at one time or another.
All freelancers have experienced doubt and insecurity. A positive attitude will help you cure imposter syndrome. And it will help you find ways to turn challenges into opportunities and bounce back from the inevitable disappointments of freelancing.
2. Develop a Growth Mindset.
Some freelancers think that talent and ability are fixed. They also believe they shouldn’t have to work hard for success, and that doing better is beyond their control. These freelancers fail, because they have a fixed mindset.
If you have a growth mindset, you know that you can develop your talents and ability through hard work, persistence (or grit), and knowledge. And you’re willing to put time and effort into doing this.
Freelancers with a growth mindset succeed.
3. Find Inspiration.
When I started my freelance business, I put a silver cup with a quote from Thomas Jefferson on my desk, where I saw it all day long. The quote said:
“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Jefferson’s quote inspired me, and helped me believe in myself.
Find a slogan, mantra, or quote that inspires you. Write it down on a sticky note and post it where you’ll see it every day.
Here are a few ideas for slogans or mantras:
- I can do anything.
- Everybody starts somewhere.
- I can’t win unless I try.
- If it were easy, everyone would do it.
- One step at a time.
- There’s no “perfect” time.
- Nothing worth doing is easy.
- “Someday” is today.
Here are some sample quotes:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”
— Henry Ford
“I am a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more I have of it.”
— Thomas Jefferson
Post a different slogan, mantra, or quote every day or week if you want to. Take a selfie in your Wonder Woman power pose and hang it up in your office!
4. Take Action.
Positive thinking and inspiration alone aren’t enough. You have to take action too.
Since you control your actions, every time you complete one, you’ll feel good about yourself. So you’ll want to keep taking more actions. And the right actions, done consistently, will boost your confidence and lead to freelance success.
“Stick with it. You’ll gain — you’ll earn — huge amounts of confidence,” says Haden.
Getting started is the hardest part. Start small and gradually do more. This will help you build the habits of success, or a routine.
“Some of the most successful and self-confident people in business have something in common: a routine,” says Dhaval Patel in “6 Techniques You Can Use to Boost Your Career Self-Confidence.” “A routine can help you feel more centered and calm, and this can have a powerful effect on your productivity and self-confidence.”
5. Set a Goal(s) You Can Achieve.
The right actions come from your SMART goal(s):
- Time bound.
“By having specific goals, you’ll create a powerful source of inspiration and motivation for yourself,” says Patel.
But big goals are hard to achieve. Break your goal(s) down into mini-goals and the actions you’ll take to achieve your mini-goals. Since actions are easy to achieve, you’ll quickly make progress.
“As you attain these specific goals and milestones, you’ll likely find that your self-confidence improves,” says Patel. Milestones are another name for mini-goals.
6. Embrace Mistakes and Failure.
We all make mistakes. While trying to build my successful freelance business, I made a lot of mistakes. And my mistakes were all related to marketing my freelance business, which is really embarrassing. I’m supposed to be the expert, right? Well, I am now, but I wasn’t then.
“If you make a mistake (and you will), rather than beat yourself up, try to focus on how you can learn from the experience,” says Patel.
Some of us even fail. Many successful people failed before they succeeded.
Think of mistakes and failure as the stepping stones to your success. You can push past the obstacles and succeed in freelancing!