what makes a great freelancer

How to Become an Indispensable Freelancer

With all the discussion going on around AI coming for creative jobs, we thought it would be beneficial to ask ourselves: what makes an indispensable freelancer? We’ve compiled a list of our own, but it goes without saying that the extra something YOU bring as an individual is always the cherry on top. 

Here are a handful of qualities you’ll want to possess, uniqueness aside:

1. A pro who's also an ongoing student

You are already a true professional in your craft. You also might have your niche style nailed down already. But you’re also humble. You also know technology is constantly changing, as well as the ways creatives work together on projects. So when a client asks for a certain look and you need to learn new software to do it, you learn that software to get the job done. Clients who love working with you already will see how dedicated you are to helping them succeed—and will be less likely to want to start from scratch with a stranger.

2. A strong network of peers

Okay, let’s say there is something that a client needs, like a stylist or art director, which is way outside of your professional skill level. That’s fine, because you know what? You know someone you can recommend! Not only that, you work together seamlessly enough to pitch that peer for the job in need. The client will love that you’re making their job easier by sourcing another freelance professional while helping to get the job done. They’ll also remember that you’re able to tap into your network for help in the future, which means they’ll probably tap you for more work, too.

3. Flexible and blendable into any team

A great freelancer also knows how to work with anyone and can blend into teams, taking on either leadership or supporting roles as needed. Freelancers also know how to bounce from one project to the next (within the constraints of their agreements, of course). With healthy boundaries in place, they know it’s par for the course that they could be asked to take on additional jobs for additional pay. They are upfront and honest about what is possible and prepared to figure out a way to make all parties happy. Flexibility is very attractive to clients and, if you enjoy working for the client, this trait is likely to come naturally to you. They’re more likely to rehire you down the road for this reason, too.

4. Solutions-oriented

Along with being flexible and an ongoing student, you’re someone who is not afraid of challenges. You propose new ideas, which is a major reason companies hire freelancers. And then, when your initial solution fails or is rejected, you have other ideas in your back pocket. You are resourceful and have a track record of turning rocks into diamonds. Hopefully, your portfolio also shows this loudly and proudly with case studies, but you can speak to this in your interviews, too. With skills like these, clients will turn to you again and again.

5. Comfortable with technology - even AI!

While full-timers are usually limited to using the same tech within one company, freelancers have to be able to adapt to different tech at different companies. This means jumping in to teach yourself any software necessary to get the job done. And, as we mentioned, AI is about to enter our workplaces in new ways. Creative workers of all stripes will have to figure out how to make AI work for them. At the end of the day, freelancers might have the most time to play with and make use of AI tools instead of looking at them as scary smart job-stealers. This type of go-getter attitude toward new technology is attractive to clients and will help you succeed, not only in their workplace but throughout your entire freelancing career. 

So, what do you think? Are you an indispensable freelancer looking for gigs? Our recruiters can help!

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