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10 Qualities of a Successful Freelancer

Today more than ever people are embracing the freelance lifestyle. It allows for a greater level of freedom, variety, location independence, and versatility. With that said, freelancing poses its own challenges, and it's not for everyone. It's not always easy to break into freelancing and depending on the industry there may be stiff competition — still want to give it a go? Here are 10 qualities you will need to succeed.

The Top 10 Freelancer Traits

1. Being Persistent

This is huge. Lack of persistence is one of the top reasons people fail as freelancers. You can have all the right skills, but if you aren't willing to be persistent when it comes to taking action, you'll lose momentum and opportunities will be few and far between.

2. Taking initiative must be second nature

Do you naturally take initiative in situations? At work? Then you'll make a good freelancer. Remember, while you work for your clients, for all intents and purposes, you work for yourself. You are your own boss.

3. Above Average Time management skills are a must

You knew that was coming. Again, you aren't punching a clock, and you don't have a boss physically looking over your shoulder, so it can be easy to get distracted. 

An advantage of freelancing is increased time freedom, but it's important to create some type of schedule that works for you so you meet deadlines and don't feel frantic.   

4.  Be a professional

Another advantage to the freelance life is a sense of freedom, spontaneity, and individuality. These are all great perks, but if you want to be truly successful, with a steady stream of clients who are happy to refer you to their network, it's vital that you develop a reputation for being professional.

People want to work with professionals. They may not care if you are working in your pajamas, but they do care that your communications are professional. It means you do what you say you are going to do. It means that you deliver the goods on time.

Need more tips on what professional freelancers do? Check out this guest blog by successful freelancer Julia Theil.

5. Keep growing and learning

It's important that you constantly upgrade your skills, experience, and network. Go to events and conferences, take online and in-person courses, publish on LinkedIn.

Networking with other freelancers is super important, but don't limit yourself to that circle, branch out from time to time.

6. Don't Get Too Isolated

The freelance lifestyle seems like a dream until you realize you haven't had a conversation with another live human or gotten dressed in six months. Freelance work tends to be isolating.

Those water cooler sessions you used to roll your eyes at start sounding pretty good when you haven't had the pleasure of coworker camaraderie in a long time. Consider meet ups, go get coffee with friends, check out a co-working space like WeWork, or volunteer (bonus: volunteering can be great for your career too).

7. Get support

Not everyone understands the life of a freelancer. You may get questions from friends and family like "When are you going to get a real job?" and "What do you do all day?" This is discouraging, so take some time to find other freelancers or entrepreneurs to give you support and encouragement so you don't start to doubt yourself.

8. Know when to take a break

Sometimes you get so caught up working and building your business you forget to stop. This is the other side of not punching a clock. You don't go home at the end of the day. You could easily spend 18 hours of of your day working — it happens. 

This is not a sustainable lifestyle, though. So be sure to schedule downtime. Go to the gym, take a full day off, take a vacation.

9. Learn how to market yourself

Unless you are working with an agency that can help find you work, you and you alone are responsible for finding your next client. It's important that you not be shy about marketing yourself and your skills. Have at least a basic website, business cards for in-person networking events, and professional social media profiles so that people can find you.

10. Charge what you're worth

Do some research to learn what industry pricing is for your field. Find out what your competition is charging. Determine whether you want to charge per hour or per project. Make a decision on pricing and stick to it. 

Bonus Tip: Get Support

Another route to stability and profit for the freelancer looking for work is connecting with a good agency. Contact Artisan Talent to learn more about how working with a staffing agency can help you find more work.

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