Self-confidence is having confidence in oneself. Confidence is an absolute essential trait to have when you freelance and run your own business. You need to have confidence in your abilities to do great work and keep clients happy. You need to be confident when going to pitches or meeting potential clients for the first time.
In my opinion, there is nothing more off-putting than someone who lacks confidence in themselves. If you don't believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? A lack of confidence isn't something you want clients to pick up on. People are attracted to confident, happy people and in business - you really have to ensure you believe in yourself to be a success.
But when you first start out in freelancing, it's easier said than done. To many people, confidence isn't something that they instantly have. It takes time and experience to gain confidence. Here's my own top tips to boost your confidence and help you be a better freelancer...
Look the part
Nothing boosts confidence more than dressing the part. If you dress like the type of confident character you want to be, then you'll feel confident and ready to tackle anything. If you're a woman, this could mean wearing four-inch high heels and a stunning dress. For men, it could mean wearing a slick, new suit. Or you might feel at best in jeans and a t-shirt. Look and dress like a confident person and you'll be on the right track. And yes - this includes those of you who usually work from home! Ditch the pyjamas and slouch wear and glam up!
Take pride in your appearance
Personal grooming, going to the gym, eating and sleeping well - these all add up to taking pride in your appearance. If you look sloppy and unkempt, it'll do nothing for your confidence. Take steps to look after yourself and you'll feel so much better for it.
Learn some body language tricks
Confident people do not mumble, stare at the floor to avoid eye contact or defensively cross their arms. Confident people hold their head up high and look people in the eye. Confident people smile and look comfortable in their own skin. Even if you don't feel confident, learn the body language tricks of confident people. It takes practice but soon enough - you'll start to look the part.
Learn to love yourself
I'm not going all hippy on you or anything but this is a valid point. If you don't like who you are, how can anyone else? Get to know who you are by considering your strengths. Ask friends and family to tell you what they love about you. Write it all down and create a list. Laminate it if you can. And make sure it's visible at all times, so you can easily read it and remind yourself of why you're so wonderful.
Choose a role model
Role models are people who serve as a good example to others. Pick your own role model to learn from them. Choose someone you admire or respect. Learn from their own personality traits and how they conduct themselves in business. Think of your role model when you're in situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Consider what they would do and act it out. This will really help to boost your confidence.
Ditch the toxic people in your life
We all have people in our lives we could do without. The type of characters who will put you down to make themselves feel better. The type of 'friends' who seemingly have your best interests at heart but are actually bitching about you behind your back. As long as you continue to hang around with these vampires, you are disrespecting yourself and blocking happiness. Get rid of toxic people and replace them with the type of friends who are happy that you're happy, who believe in you and who only want you to be a success.
Get out of your comfort zone
Public speaking, business meetings, pitches... Whatever you're afraid of - get out there and do it! To build confidence you have to push yourself and that means doing things you'd rather avoid. I used to hate public speaking so one day I agreed to speak at an event in Shropshire. I did lots of preparation and was incredibly nervous in the days leading up to the event. And when I finally stood up in front of everyone on the night? Yes, I was nervous. Yes, even shaking a little. But once I got into the flow of my talk, I started to enjoy myself. I even made everyone laugh a few times. And now I'm happy to do talks to any size of audience. My advice? If an opportunity comes along that you would tend to avoid - go for it! Get out of your comfort zone to build that confidence.
Go to lots of networking events
Talking to other people is a skill in itself. Many people find it incredibly hard to talk to strangers, let alone go up to others and start chatting. I'm very lucky because I've never had a problem with talking to people (as many of my family and friends would tell you). But what do you do if you hate networking events because you haven't the confidence to meet new people? You do exactly what you want to avoid. You go to networking events and you go up to people and talk to them. It's the only way you'll learn how to do it. Remember, people are just people. In the unlikely event that you go up to someone and they're unfriendly, simply smile and say 'It was nice talking, I'm off to mingle some more...' Don't take it personally if people aren't as warm and inviting as you'd like. It's their problem, not yours.
Focus on your skills
Don't focus excessively on the skills you lack - think instead about the things you're good at and build on those. Remember, you can't be good at everything. No one can. And if you want to improve yourself in other areas? Simply take a course or buy a new book to boost your skills. The act of doing rather than thinking will help you feel in control, thus boosting confidence.
Ignore other people
If you're always worrying about what others think, you'll end up trying to be someone you're not. Focus on you and you alone. Ignore anyone who is judgmental, toxic or negative. Don't mould yourself to how you think other people want you to be. Find your own path and focus on that.
Never stop learning
It's true what they say - you're only as good as your last piece of work. So never stop striving to learn and improve your skill set. When you're taking control of your life and making positive steps to better yourself, you feel empowered. This only leads to confidence as you strive to become a more experienced entrepreneur.
Learn from your mistakes
Confident people accept that we all make mistakes. Confident people shrug off failure and move on to the next thing. They'll also make sure they learn from mistakes, so they don't repeat them. If you want to be confident, you have to understand that it is quite normal to mess up sometimes. Don't beat yourself up and allow your confidence to be knocked. Remember, mistakes make us stronger and help us to grow. Don't sweat it!
And those are my top tips on how to be confident when freelancing. If you've got anything to add, please comment below.