Sophie Johnson write:
If you’re supplying a service to someone, as opposed to being a full time member of their team, you need to adopt a very different mindset.
It’s not about You, it’s about Them. They are your clients. They pay you for every minute you work and they only re-book you if you are useful.
However, simply being useful is not enough if you are also obnoxious and impolite, or if you don’t know your strengths from your weaknesses.
So I’ve put together this short list of what makes the ideal consultant, freelancer, supplier, or whatever you want to call yourself. Because people will remember you by your name and your attitude and how useful you are, not by your job title.
So make sure you are all of these things to them:
Useful: Do whatever they need you to do (as long as you really do know how to do it). Let the full time staff worry about the company while you focus on the project they’ve booked you for. They are there week in week out. You’re only there a short time and then you can take a break and move onto something new. Learn to enjoy every task that is put before you and do it with good grace.
Honest: Don’t attempt to do something they’ve asked you to do if you can’t do it. Honesty will be appreciated. It will save them time and money. It will also save them face. It will increase your chances of being booked again. It takes time for people to understand your exact skillset. We’re all a little different.
Polite: You are a supplier. They are your client. I have seen several suppliers forget they are suppliers and become rude or arrogant. They don’t stay suppliers for very long.
Cost-effective: Being single-minded about the task they have engaged you to do, and open and communicative about what you have done and why, will make it easier for them to sell the work on to their clients and recoup the fee they have paid you for it. If they ask you to fill out timesheets and account for what you do then do this accurately as this is how they justify their invoices to their customers. The more of your time they can invoice on to their clients the more cost-effective and valuable they will perceive you to be.
Empathetic: Think about how your client is feeling. Consider the stresses they are under. Observe their body language and the content and tone of their communications. We are all human beings. How can you make their day better? How can you make their life easier? We should all do this for other human beings automatically. If they sound abrupt and impatient with you, don’t take it personally. Just stop and think about the cause and how you can help.
Talented: Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten why you’ve chosen this path in the first place. It’s because you’re great at what you do. And that’s why people call on you whenever they need you. It’s just that by making sure that you’re also all of the above, you will always be invited into situations where you shine.