Developing Soft Skills in Self Employed Leadership – By Dan Matthews
Many people go into self-employed business for various reasons. Some do it for the flexibility, some because they don’t want to have to answer to anyone but themselves, and others because they want to start their own business. However, no matter what the intentions are, anyone who works in self-employment inherently takes on the role of a leader, whether they want to or not.
When you are self-employed, you are your own business. Though you may be beholden to deadlines for the clients you work with, it is ultimately up to you to decide who you work with, when you work, and how you communicate. And those who have the most success in self-employment understand they are in charge and do what it takes to develop the right leadership skills to help them grow.
So whether you are someone who fully intends to start their own business or you work as a freelancer, hopping around from one client to the next, it is still vital that you put effort into furthering your business leadership skills. As an individual out on your own, you are your own brand, thus, it is up to you to do what it takes to have the most success.
This article will take a closer look at why leadership skills are essential for self-employed individuals today and the top soft skills they can develop to further their leadership abilities.
The Importance of Self-Employed Business Leadership
Just because there is no team to lead when you are self-employed does not mean you can slack on being a leader. As there is no one to keep you in line but yourself, you need to be your own leader.
It is up to you to make sure you are networking to get enough work and staying productive to get things finished in time and done well. It is also up to you to be a good communicator to ensure your clients are happy and continue working with you. And these are all things that require good management and leadership skills.
Furthermore, not only is it essential for self-employed individuals to become good leaders to grow their businesses, but it is also important for them to understand their role as a leader in a changing world. Business leaders cannot achieve success the same way they once did.
Our world is always evolving, which means leaders must evolve as well if they want to continue having success. For example, technology has had a significant impact on business and business leaders. With so many advancements in tech, it has changed the way people communicate and do business, which means leaders need to change their tactics as well to keep up.
Values have also changed over the years. Today’s younger generation of professionals have a more philanthropic, ethical, and inclusive mindset. Thus, if you are going to succeed today as a self-employed leader, you need to be mindful of these changing values and how you present yourself and do business.
Top Soft Skills Every Self-Employed Leader Should Have
There are countless soft leadership skills you can develop to have more success in self-employment, but we’ve put together a list of the top seven to help get you started.
Self-motivation and Passion
Working in self-employment is not always easy. As there is no one but yourself to hold you accountable, it can be easy to slack off and put in minimal effort, especially when times are hard. This is why you need to develop good self-motivation skills.
You must have the ability to keep yourself motivated to find and complete work regularly. And this is where it helps to have passion for what you are doing. The more you love your job, the more motivated you will be to keep doing it and do it well.
Organization and Time Management
Organization and good time management are key if you want to stick to schedules and consistently meet deadlines. If you regularly deliver good work on time, clients will be more satisfied, which means they will continue working with you and will recommend you to others.
Quality communication skills are among the most important leadership skills to have when working in self-employment. Whether you are working in the B2B or B2C industry, you need to know how to effectively communicate with clients and customers to have success.
Solid communication skills can help you network and find new clients, negotiate projects and rates, handle difficult clients or situations, and build client relationships. Being a good communicator can even help you know when to say “no,” which is essential when you already have too many projects or when a client or customer just isn’t a good fit for your business.
Emotional intelligence, like good communication, is also essential for self-employed workers. Not only do you need to be able to effectively communicate with clients, but you also need to have the ability to understand where they are coming from and how to empathize.
Being able to connect with your clients on an emotional level or at least being able to understand their emotions can help you better communicate with them and help them get what they want. Emotional intelligence can also help you be a better ethical leader that is more mindful and respectful of those you work with.
Positive Attitude and Confidence
There will undoubtedly be times when you face challenges and hurdles in self-employment. So it is not a matter of if you face them, but how you handle them. Being able to keep a positive attitude and mindset can help you get through the toughest and stickiest of situations.
It’s also important to have the confidence to match your positive attitude. Not only do you want to have a positive outlook, but you want to have the confidence that you can get things done and get through hard times as well. Being confident in your abilities will help you, and it will show your clients that you are a strong person to work with who can get the job done no matter what happens.
Curiosity and Creativity
Innovation is good to have when you are working on your own. In team settings, people often get inspiration from others, but as a self-employed individual, you need to be able to find inspiration on your own. So developing your curiosity and creativity is essential, and it can help you when you are working on projects or looking for new ideas to help you grow.
Aside from good communication, adaptability is probably one of the second most important skills to have as a self-employed leader. As previously mentioned, you will certainly face challenges in your career, including times when things go wrong or don’t work out the way you planned.
So you must be able to think on your feet and adapt in those uncertain times. The more flexible you are and the more you can quickly make changes to adapt, the more success you will have in the long run.
These are just a few of the many skills that can benefit you as a self-employed worker. Though every situation is unique and how you specifically work in self-employment can vary greatly from someone else, it is still crucial that you develop quality soft leadership skills. You and only you are in charge of yourself and your business when you work in self-employment, so you must be a capable leader and manager if you want to build solid client relationships and grow your business.
Photo Credit Karolina Grabowska