I like to think I’m a pretty humble person. I’ve never been a huge fan of people who constantly go on and on about how great they are. While these people may be awesome, it just seems as if they’re trying too hard — either that, or they’re hiding something. It just doesn’t sit right with me most of the time.
I never go out of the way to talk to people about my accomplishments. Sure, if you ask me about them, I’ll tell you. But I don’t randomly switch the topic of a conversation so I can brag about an achievement. However, I recently realized that this may be hurting my earning potential as a freelancer. Here’s why:
Freelancing Can Be Extremely Difficult
Being a freelancer isn’t as easy as some people make it out to be. You’re your own boss, and you’re responsible for making sure that you do absolutely everything that needs to be done.
You have to find clients. Once you have those clients, you must juggle multiple deadlines to make sure to keep everyone happy. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You need to make sure that you pay your company’s bills, send your books to your accountant to prepare your tax return, file your business license with the appropriate authorities, and so on. The list seems endless.
Many freelancers struggle with all of these competing tasks and end up dropping the ball somewhere. In some cases, the work a freelancer is doing for a client suffers.
I Have a Professional Background
I’m fortunate to have a professional background. As an accountant in my previous career, I’ve seen how successful service-based businesses run to make sure that things go smoothly and clients remain happy. Professionalism is key.
When I started freelance writing, I applied what I learned in my accounting career to my new job. For instance, I make sure I absolutely never miss a deadline that a client gives me. I schedule my work so that I’m 100 percent sure I can get everything done. After many years, I can still say that I’ve never missed a deadline.
Not Everyone Else Takes the Same Pride in Their Work
Over the past few months, I’ve had some eye-opening discussions about freelancers. Apparently not all freelance writers take their jobs as seriously as I do. Some miss deadlines without even notifying their clients that the work is going to be late.
Now I’ll admit, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but I always do my best to make sure they’re few and far between. For some freelancers, a lack of professionalism is an everyday attitude.
What really opened my eyes was a conversation with a new client. I worked diligently on my trial article for her. I spent extra time making sure I followed every guideline, including the request to use spell-check, which shouldn’t even have to be mentioned. After turning in the piece, the client said something I didn’t expect: “This is one of the best first drafts I’ve ever received from a freelancer.”
All I did was follow her instructions, take time to get to know what she wanted, and turn my trial article in a day or two early. It wasn’t anything special to me, but it was special to my client.
Money-Making Tips: Share Your Strengths and Accomplishments More
After that experience with my client, I realized that I need to share my strengths and accomplishments more when trying to find new work. Doing so could easily help me make more money by landing clients who were previously uninterested in me because I was too humble.
“With other people, our obligation is to be fair, honest, respectful, and of service,” says fellow freelancer Pablo Solomon.
That makes total sense to me now. I’m not being humble by hiding my skills. If anything, I’m not being honest with my potential new clients.
I need to share my strengths so that they have the opportunity to take advantage of them.
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The Bottom Line: Don't Be Humble
“There is a fine line between coming across as humble and coming across as lacking in confidence, uncertain of your abilities, and not having anything to offer,” Solomon says. Next time I’m trying to land a client, I won’t make the same mistake.
When you’re up for a raise or trying to secure a new client, don’t make the same mistake I did. Share your strengths and accomplishments. Don’t do so in a way that comes off as bragging. Instead, find ways to show how those strengths and accomplishments can help you excel in your new role or achieve your new client’s goals and you may have a better shot at getting the additional money you deserve.
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