7 strategies for freelancers to develop a problem-solving mindset
We all live in uncertain times where inevitable obstacles propel us forward to meet new challenges. To make your independent consulting business prosper during crises, it is necessary to think like an incredible problem-solver, who is ready to adapt to anything.
Seven Ways to Think and Act Like an Absolute Problem-Solver
To develop a problem-solving mindset, it’s important to practice thinking critically and logically. This involves analyzing problems and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable parts. It’s also helpful to be open to different perspectives and approaches, and to be willing to learn from past experiences. Additionally, it’s important to stay curious and ask questions in order to better understand the problem at hand. Here are the seven methods to help you become the go-getter and tackle any obstacles that come your way:
Acknowledge the Problem
Acceptance and mindfulness are two powerful tools that help us cultivate the mindset of a problem solver. Acknowledging the problem and considering them part and parcel of life works as an effective coping mechanism during a tough situation. Eventually, it will help you emphasise more on finding solutions rather than stressing over the issue.
As an independent consultant, accept that companies tend to cut their expenditures during a recession. They might commit only to regular spending like payroll, which averts them from outsourcing projects to freelancers. In such circumstances, you must pay attention to what you can control rather than what you cannot.
Once you have embraced the adversities, developing an unshakable inner belief is crucial to overcome the same. For this, you can think through The Bucket Method stated in the book Think Smarter by Michael Kallet. Our minds are often bombarded with problems, hampering our ability to focus and make decisions. The Bucket Method says that to enhance critical thinking and attain clarity over problems, develop an attitude that there is always a way. Vacant your buckets of previous negative experiences while approaching a problem. Learn from your mistakes but do not let them deter your problem-solving competence.
Assessing a Problem through Multiple Perspectives
Whenever you encounter any problem, it is crucial to analyse things from numerous perspectives. Broaden your scope of assessment of a particular situation and look at it through multiple lenses to strengthen your problem-solving skills. The objective is to venture beyond the accustomed topes into which your pattern-recognising brain wants to build perceptions. By broadening your outlook, you can identify potential threats and opportunities beyond your vision boundary, similar to a Dragonfly-eye view.
Independent consultants occasionally need to analyse the possible risks and prospects related to their niche industry. A Dragonfly-eye view aids in formulating better strategies that can be sustainable in the long run. Additionally, it also improves mindset by enforcing a more holistic and positive outlook.
Work on the Feasible Solution
We often spend endless hours obsessing over the wrongdoings in life. But if you want to be an ultimate problem-solver, think about what can be feasible solutions to the problem faced by your business during a recession. Inculcate a solution-focused approach in your working style.
For freelancers, it is a pretty familiar situation when a project or a contract ends. They work on multiple projects simultaneously, which shields them from the impact and financial concerns of losing an entire income through a single client. As the recession strikes, diversify your income streams.
Let us imagine that you are a business analyst, be flexible, and say yes to new opportunities. Anchor beyond your regular work profile and think about which additional services you can offer. For example, you can take on different projects such as marketing research, sales pitch, financial modelling, report writing, predictive analytics, and feasibility studies. Eventually, it will help you diversify projects, getting more clients on board.
Be Agile and Upskill Yourself
As a freelancer, diversification of skills also holds a significant value for your income generation, especially during the recession. Widening your range of skills and industry experiences is a great way to make your business thrive. Generally, freelancers work on versatile projects monthly, which helps build them a robust and compelling portfolio. When you spend years working with different clients and projects, it brings unrivalled agility in your skills naturally.
Freelancers enjoy broad-ranging exposure and are familiar with every imaginable permutation of the business culture. You must take advantage of this aspect and divert yourself to hotcake industries, especially during a crisis.
Let us take an example of how the industries like Fintechs, IT, and app development have bloomed, especially in the last few years. You can set your eyes on such sectors to stay relevant. For this, you must invest in upskilling courses curated for the industry you are looking for.
Pareto’s Principle for Task Management
Since you will be diversifying skills to get more clients on your plate, task management plays a crucial role. Thus, you can implement Pareto’s Principle, which states that 80% of output comes from 20% input. Let us assume you are being offered a bounty of projects in your kitty. Handling each task that is being thrown your way is impossible. That is when you need to pick the tasks you will handle based on their significance to your income. You can either delegate the remaining tasks or let them go.
As an independent consultant, identify your most valuable clients, usually the high-paying ones. Though you would want to avoid depending on a single client for your income, taking on many tasks at once will lead to burnout. Therefore, concentrate on the lucrative projects and strengthen your professional relationship with those clients. By applying Pareto’s principle, assess which 20% of the tasks comprise 80% of your income and prioritize those only.
Harnessing the Power of Portfolio and Testimonials
You should perpetually update your portfolio and skills. Whenever you finish a project as a consultant, you have a golden opportunity in hand to receive testimonials from the client. Freelancers showcase their portfolios and testimonials on their social platforms, which often results in better engagements. In this digital world, your social presence speaks volumes of your expertise and credibility in the professional avenues, giving you a competitive edge.
Imagine a prospective client lands on your social profile and views your testimonials. It will exhibit your trustworthiness and the value your services can bring to their business. During economic slowdowns, the clients would prefer a freelancer with sizable industry experience and a proven track record. By having a gripping set of portfolios and testimonials, you can present yourself as an expert who has been in the trenches and has seen success firsthand.
Incorporate Solutions and Monitor Their Scope of Success
Finally, it is high time to integrate the aforementioned solutions into your freelancing business. Pursue whatever works for you; if not, find an alternative solution. Take full charge of your life and business despite peripheral forces. In times of crisis, nothing helps more than feeling strong from within and coming from a place of security and confidence.
An unforeseen challenge or setback can hit everyone differently, necessitating freelancers to develop a problem-solving attitude within themselves. Otherwise, they might fail in overcoming pitfalls caused by the unforeseen circumstances. However, the seven strategies mentioned above will help you keep the spirits up and create a winning solution as the adversities hit your freelancing boulevard.