Why Being Kind Builds Freelancing Trust
The quote “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” is usually attributed to writer Anne Herbert.
Being kind is a beautiful sentiment. And when you realize that your freelancing business principle is built on trust, being kind is also a good business practice.
The stereotype of the hard-nosed businessman (or woman) may be just that. Think about who you like to do business with. Is it someone who is uncaring and cold or someone caring who you can relate to?
For most people, I’m betting that you’d prefer to do most types of business with the second type of person. It’s just human nature to want to work with people you can relate to and trust.
In this post, I’ll give some examples of recent acts of kindness that I experienced and how they affected my perception. I’ll also examine why kindness may have a bad rap when it comes doing business. Finally, I’ll invite you to share your own perspective on how kindness has helped (or harmed) your freelancing business.
If you like this post, you may also like 5 Attitudes You Need to Adopt to Succeed at Freelancing.
Kindness in Real Life
During past week, I personally experienced three examples of real-life business kindness. Each example left me more favorably disposed towards the person displaying the kindness (and more likely to do business with them in the future).
Let me share my experiences with you.
- A restaurant manager directs traffic. Last week, after dining at a restaurant near our home we came out of the restaurant to realize that our car was completely blocked in to a parking space by incoming customers. Despite the fact that it was the restaurant’s busiest time of day (lunchtime), the restaurant manager noticed our predicament without our mentioning it and came out directed traffic so that we could be on our way.
- A colleague shares encouragement. This happens fairly often. Whenever I least expect it, I’ll get a tweet or a comment telling me how much someone has enjoyed one of my blog posts. Such encouragement always lifts my spirits–especially since I realize how busy freelancers are. The fact someone took the time to say something nice means a lot. I usually remember the encourager too.
- A check arrives, with something extra. A few of my clients still pay me through the mail. While it’s not my preferred means of payment, I haven’t had any problems with it recently. It’s always a positive experience to go to the mailbox and find a paycheck in there. Last week, I got an added surprise when I received one such paycheck. When I opened the envelope, a coffee shop gift card fell out.
Such little surprises are not only uplifting, they also affect my perception of the giver.
In the instances I described above, going the extra mile definitely built my trust. For example, I’ll definitely return to that restaurant in the future.
Why Kindness Gets a Bad Rap
So what happened? Why are so many business owners (including freelancers) afraid to let their kindness shine through?
In my opinion, I think it’s because we confuse being kind with being a pushover. Some even view kindness as a sign of weakness.
But, being kind and being weak is not the same thing at all.
You can be kind and still stand firm on important business issues like:
Being kind doesn’t mean giving away the shop. It just means being thoughtful and perhaps doing something extra, usually something small, to benefit your client. Most often, it also means doing something your client didn’t expect.
Others may worry that being kind will take a lot of time and cost them a lot of money. But in the examples I gave above, each act of kindness only took a few minutes and the gift card was only for $10.00.
Obviously, not everyone agrees with me on the business value of kindness. This is definitely an area where there’s plenty of room for differing opinions. I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts in the comments below.
How do you view kindness? Is it something you’d like to incorporate into your freelancing business, or do you view it as a weakness?
Has kindness impacted your freelancing business? Share your stories.
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