Freelancing is always perceived as a solitary activity where you don’t need to interact with other people, you don’t have colleagues, and you are alone. The truth is that a freelancer to be successful needs to communicate regularly with others, and the single act of getting in touch with a client and keeping a working relation up it requires relational skills. As soon as you launch your freelancing career, you need to start thinking about ways to improve your leadership skills as a freelancer.
Basic relational skills involve having the authority to speak up and be heard, being a leader, and being able to influence the decision or to stand up for people and ideas in the working place. A freelancer has to be or become a leader and must be able to speak up and be heard during a professional relationship.
In this guide, you will find a few pieces of advice on how to improve your leadership skills as a freelancer.
You may also be interested in this article on How to Improve your Skills as a Freelancer.
Table of Contents
What are the essential leadership qualities of a freelancer?
To be an effective leader, a freelancer is supposed to be confident enough not only to ensure that others follow your commands but, most of all, that people take you seriously and don’t mess with your opinions. Sometimes freelancers are not considered part of a company. For this reason, they may not be perceived as crucial as they should: being a freelancer doesn’t mean being less qualified to speak or to have a professional opinion on something.
Freelancers know well what courage means, and aside from applying this to their business, they also use this notion to everything they do, including managing and working on projects. Courage means having the ability to fight for an opinion and an idea when you have the data to back up your choice, to stand for your professional decisions, and to support others in the working environment.
Read Also: How to write a freelancing contract
Passion always guides freelancers: unless for specific situations, passion is almost always the reason behind the choice of turning into a freelancing career. Passion is a leadership quality because it can be transferred to other people, and it can show how much someone cares about their job or the things they do.
A good leader is always humble and takes successes as something good and to be celebrated but without being self-involved. The goal of a freelancer is to make sure the work is completed successfully, and the clients are happy. Humility is necessary to be a good leader as a freelancer because if you lose control of your mind, even if your career is thriving, failure can always be on the corner.
5. Vision and Purpose
A freelancer has a vision and a purpose, and this shapes his career. No matter where you want to be, as a freelancer, you need to have a view of yourself and your goals and, most of all, a purpose about what you want to be and become. Whether it is just making more money or having more freedom, being able to picture your goals and your vision is fundamental to succeed as a leader.
Read also: How to get paid fast as a freelancer
How to improve your leadership skills as a freelancer?
To improve your leadership skills as a freelancer you need to put yourself in front of a mirror, and try to analyse what’s your biggest lack and how you can be authoritative and more of a leader, for yourself and also in front of other people.
1. Improve your public speaking skills
Very few people are immune to the fear of public speaking, and this can be even more true for freelancers. Make sure you practice to become more confident, and at the same time, also make sure that your personality comes through. Public speaking doesn’t just mean having a speech at a conference, but also being able to discuss problems with other members of your teams, or being able to discuss something with your client, or even being able to close deals with potential leads.
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2. Improve your overall communication skills
A leader knows how to communicate and also how to master difficult conversations that can potentially lead to problems. The secret of mastering conflicts and start being perceived as an influential voice is by improving your communication skills and, most of all, by learning how to talk to others and address conversations to avoid conflicts. Being a better communicator also means being able to listen to people and solve problems, and this translates into a better recognition of your role within a company as a freelance consultant.
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3. Become remarkable
The secret of being freelancers is just one: people need to see you as remarkable and indispensable. This translates into the need to learn skills other people may already have, but that you have developed in a different or a more in-deep way. You need to make sure you are offering real value to your clients, and that your presence is very much needed. To do so, you need to study regularly, and you also need to make sure you don’t overestimate yourself, but at the same time that you don’t underestimate your value. If you can manage to be remarkable, you will be seen as a leader not just because you know more than others, but simply because you know how to make sure others can professionally avail of your services.
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4. Ask for more
Asking for more when you are working as a freelancer may sound rude or not fair, but this is the only way for you to stand out and be considered a reputable resource and, most of all, a leader. You cannot ask for more if you don’t have proofs in regards to your job and what you’ve been doing, but if you think that your role needs more attention or you simply need more and data back you up, go for it.
5. Keep learning
To be the best and show leadership, continuous learning is crucial: make sure you know as much as you can about your job and your industry, but expand your horizons by looking at other sectors, other niches, and different situations. You don’t need and don’t even want to become an expert on everything, but make sure you have a basic knowledge of things and topics that can be useful to become a better freelancer.
6. Get specialised
Together with the improvement needs, make also sure that you are on top of what you do, that you are prepared, and extremely skilled. Skills help in being seen, and being, as a leader because they give you something that others don’t have: the knowledge. Make sure you stay updated and do not forget how important books are, especially for freelancers. Have a look at our selection of business books every freelancer should read.
Improving leadership skills as a freelancer: bonus
We found another interesting course you can pursue to improve your leadership skills as a freelancer: the Strategic Leadership and Management Specialization offered by the University of Illinois on Coursera.
With this course, you will learn how to enhance leadership and business skills for immediate impact. Practice everyday leadership, manage people, learn and apply concepts and techniques to effectively manage organizations through organizational design, and formulate and implement a strategy. The Specialization covers the strategic, human resource, and corporate foundations for creating and capturing value for sustainable competitive advantage. It’s the perfect course for freelancers interested in bringing their business to a different level. It’s also part of the University of Illinois Masters of Business Administration degree program, the iMBA, and it’s organized in four different modules.
- Foundations of Everyday Leadership
- Applications of Everyday Leadership
- Designing the Organization
- Managing the Organization
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