Being able to write blog posts from your phone or create killer graphics is one thing, however, those are just the hard skills. They will not retain your clients. That’s what soft skills are for; the extra extensions of your personality that will make clients like you. At the end of the day, clients want to retain relationships with people they enjoy working with and go the extra mile.
Here are the 5 soft skills that EVERY freelancer needs:
“Client X just sent us an email,” he said. “Wait, I just saw your response. Thanks dude, you’re on it!” I receive texts like this fairly often because I am on my game. My family hates me for it, I’ll be honest. But in the second year of business and clients all over the world, I need to be here.
In the gig economy, you need to be responsive. If you go 2–3 days without answering a phone call or email, especially if your relationship is still maturing, you will lose the client. Don’t get me wrong, you need to put your devices down routinely and unwind. However, you should be there for them as often as you can without it risking your health.
(2) Positive digital presence
Google the ever-living fuck out of yourself. Have a good talk with Uncle G, as I call it. Understand how people see you online when they search for you and your services is Important. Capital I. Understand how your search results appear in different parts of the country and the world, too. Because what might come in first for New York servers might be on page 3 for California servers, or just the opposite. Google yourself, Bing yourself, etc.
(3) Take detailed notes
Whether it is a phone call, meeting, etc., no one has ever ridiculed me for taking notes. It has only ever been welcomed. Simultaneously, don’t be the bi**ch that people expect detailed minutes from, unless they’re paying you well enough for that. During every phone call that you have, make sure you write it down. I never get onto a call without having at least a paper + pen in front of me.
(4) Adopt a process
Call it workflow, organizational structure, etc., but definitely adopt an organized process as that will make it easier in the long run even if you struggle to start it up at the beginning. For example, you’re running a content campaign. Once you receive the blog post from your writer, have her send it to your graphic designer. Once your graphic designer is ready to go, have her send the graphic and blog post to your social media moderator, who then posts the article. However, be sure to balance bottlenecking with process.
(5) Be a diplomatic, but stubborn a$$h0le
There is an art to being subtle, but not when it comes to defining things like word count expectancy and form of payment. You need to draw the line in the sand. If you feel like being hustled, don’t let someone walk all over you. It’s like being on the New York City subway, if you see something, say something.
However, when you draw your line in the sand, do it diplomatically. Remember to keep your integrity intact even when someone else doesn’t. Also, remember that online reviews can bite you in the ass and if you’re not careful, you can easily ruin your reputation forever (or make a new client seriously doubt your ability).
Just remember, there are thousands of writers, tens of thousands of people who can use photoshop, and hundreds of thousands of people who can growth hack social media. However, there are a much small fraction of people that can do those things with class, integrity, and timeliness. You stand out from the crowd by having sharp, soft skills. Make every client and every post count. If you don’t, there are 10,000 people (minimum) who will step up and take your place.
Drew Mailen is the founder of BountyBase and TheBlockchainWriter.com. He enjoys reading Food and Wine magazine and surrounding himself with people smarter than he is. He takes pride in direct messaging strangers on LinkedIn. He loves his grandma, an exercise enthusiast named Grace that still does daily gym workouts at 82 years old. You can find more about his work here: TheBlockchainWriter.com