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Assertiveness for freelancers (30.11.16)

30.11.16  Assertiveness for freelancers  |  A guide to confidence for creatives and freelancers.

Article source: Acuity Training

"Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself." – Robert Collier

Life is unfair.

Plum assignments go to the most confident people, not the most able. Assertive people have fewer client issues. It’s obvious that they won’t allow themselves to be pushed around and so people don’t even try.

For better or worse, this is the way the world works.

Confidence is the lubrication that lets some people glide smoothly through life barely appearing to break a sweat, while the rest of us battle every step of the way.

Why is life like this? It turns out that life isn’t as unfair as we might like to think. Research shows that confidence matters as much as ability for many tasks.

Confidence can be a battle at the best of times, but when you are working on your own, or as part of a very small team, it’s even tougher. And even more important as you don’t have the support of a large organisation.

Learning to be more assertive when dealing with these inevitable challenges will pay huge dividends.

If a client has ever told you that they know another freelancer who will work for half your rate, or if you’ve ever been asked for yet another last minute change to a project for free, this is the guide for you.

How this guide is structured

This guide is structured like a typical project. It works through the various stages of a project from pitching for work to completing and getting paid for a project. It shows you how to deal with the challenges that occur at each stage.

Many of these tips may look simple but they’re not easy. As with almost everything in life, it’s the execution that matters. You will need to practice them and think about how to adjust them to fit your exact situation.

Why is confidence so important?

Nothing in this life is given to us on a plate.

Any significant goal will require you to go out and pursue it, usually in competition with others, who have the same goal.

External competition is tough enough, but if you are unsure of your ability or worth, then you also have to defeat your self-doubts. This makes achieving your goals even more difficult.

When the going gets tough and the pressure is on, who is more likely to crack? Someone who is relaxed and confident in their abilities or someone who is nervous and unsure?

Worse still, if you don’t defeat your internal doubts, you might not even pursue your goal in the first place. You will never get out of the blocks.


But don’t give up. Confidence and assertiveness are learned behaviours.

Yes some people are naturally more assertive than others but that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve yours significantly. It’s no different to any other skill.

What is assertiveness? What is the difference?

We need to deal with a widely held misconception here. Many people think that assertiveness is pushing people around. They have confused it with being aggressive.

Put simply assertiveness is standing up for yourself. It is not pushing other people around but equally it is having the self-confidence to not let other people push you around.

A more specific definition of assertiveness would be that it is “the ability to express your opinions and feelings clearly without undue anxiety”.



About Acuity Training

Acuity Training is based in Guildford, UK. It has trained many freelancers and corporate executives in confidence, assertiveness and presentation skills training.