When I ask my husband a question and he’s in the middle of something else, it (obviously) takes him a minute to answer. It often takes everything in me to not tear his attention away from the thing he’s already doing so that I can get the answer I want. RIGHT NOW.
Moral of the story: I am not a patient person. I like to have everything in order and know every answer and get the thing I want. right. this. moment.
I know. It’s an issue and I’m working on it. But, hey, I think we can all relate to being impatient every once and awhile.
Being a freelancer takes a lot of patience. (So, as a naturally impatient person who is also a freelance writer, you can see why I would need to work on my patience a bit.) Knowing how to be patient is an essential skill for every freelancer.
As a freelancer, you have to put yourself out there again and again and again. And then you have to do it again. You go to networking events, send out emails, apply to positions online, and then follow-up on leads. A lot of your leads don’t lead anywhere. You are constantly pitching yourself and your talents, and it can grate on your patience easily if you let it.
However, as a freelance worker, patience is necessary in order to do the work well. Patience is also a great trait for a freelancer if you don’t want to drive yourself crazy.
Now, as I explained, I am not naturally patient. So, I have had to learn how to be patient as a freelancer. It takes work, diligence, and focus. But, in order to enjoy the benefits of a freelance life, you have to put in the work.
Learning to be patient is essential work for any freelancer, but patience can easily sound like some wishy-washy, far-off mambo jambo when you are in the midst of a real day with concrete moments.
So, I wanted to share a few concrete, tangible methods I have found useful to help me learn to be a more patient freelancer:
Celebrate every victory.
Working as a freelancer can be discouraging. Especially if you work from home and don’t have frequent social interaction throughout your day. Celebrating even the small victories in your work helps you to remember that there are things to be excited about, even when we have lulls in our work.
Do a happy dance when you book a meeting with a potential client.
Get coffee with a friend to tell them about the new skill you learned.
I keep confetti poppers on hand for each new client I land.
Keep celebrating. The work we do as freelancers is fun. It can be hard, but it is exciting. Remember why you started your freelance work and keep celebrating that.
Keep track of all the things you do in a week. When we don’t have a concrete victory or completed project at the end of the week, it can feel like nothing got done.
If you keep track of all the things that you did in a day, a week, or a month, you can look back and see that your time wasn’t wasted. Things are getting done. Strategies are being formed. Conversations with clients are happening.
Keeping inventory of your week is especially helpful if you have the temptation to get distracted or get off track with non-essential tasks when you don’t have a lot of tangible projects to complete right now. If you are keeping track of your daily tasks and you have to write down “Spent 45 minutes aimlessly on Instagram” or “Organized my candle collection alphabetically,” you might feel a bit more drive to complete tasks that you will be proud to write down.
Always be ready.
If you are anything like me, being patient can wear out your can-do attitude. When you have waited weeks to hear back from a client, it can be easy to give up.
But, as freelancers, we must always be ready. You never know when an old contact will reach out again or a potential client will finally get back to you about your proposal.
Don’t give up, and always be ready to do the work, even when the wait seems long.
Know when your work is valuable.
In the midst of being patient is when we have to keep at the tasks that don’t always seem valuable. Keep your website updated. Manage your social media. Continue your learning of new methods and tactics for your work. Maintain and grow your network.
We tend to only value these things when they lead to results. That’s the wrong attitude. In each of these things, there is value, even if we don’t see immediate results.
Remember to always value the work you put in and the lessons you can learn from it.
I will be the first to tell you that being patient is not my favorite part of freelancing. But, friend, I am learning to be patient, and that is a valuable skill both professionally and personally.
I hope these tactics are helpful tools that lead you to be a more patient freelancer.
Do you have any other tips and tricks for fostering patience as a freelancer? Leave me a comment.
Hi, I'm Emma!
A Maryland girl who moved to Washington state seeking adventure, I adore writing and delight in sharing my favorite things. I celebrate whimsy and you can find me doing a happy dance when something really strikes my fancy.