Freelancing is not for everyone – work isn’t guaranteed, you’re responsible for handling your own taxes, and there’s no set salary. However, those with certain traits can thrive and earn great money.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to be a successful freelancer …
1) High Motivation
Freelancers are essentially their own boss. We pick our field, we choose who we want to work with, and schedule our own day. Without high motivation and passion for the work, it can all quickly fall apart.
If you’re somebody who can get up in the morning and get things done because you want to, then you have the foundation to do well as a freelancer.
Without a boss looming over your shoulder and the rigid structure of a traditional 9 to 5 job, you can easily become distracted. Freelancing gives you the freedom to set your own hours, work from wherever you want, and dress how you see fit. But, if you’re not self-disciplined, that can easily turn in to waking up at midday and laying in your underwear with a laptop.
You need to be somebody who can enjoy the freedom of freelancing without becoming lazy.
3) A Salesman’s Pitch
If you’re a freelancer, you’re the only person that has your back. You have to be able to sell yourself to clients with a salesman-like pitch in order to secure work, and this process will repeat itself hundreds of times.
What can you offer, what makes you stand out from the crowd?
If you’re humble and hate the idea of self-promotion, you will struggle as a freelancer.
As a freelancer, you have to know your value, especially if you want to make good money. When you start out, the rates and fees you charge need to be competitively low to attract clients. Once you’ve built up your profile you can begin to charge more.
It’s an ongoing balancing act—charge too much and fail to deliver, you’re going to look bad to future clients. Charge too little and you’re doing yourself a disservice.
5) People Skills
While web-based freelancing doesn’t necessarily require you to meet a lot of people face to face, you will still be interacting with clients from all over the world. One day it will be somebody from Florida, the next from India. This could be by email, Skype, freelance sites, or forums.
It goes without saying that you need to be polite and have the ability to discern what your client requires while keeping them informed throughout the process. You’ll also need a thick skin if they don’t like what you’ve produced.
Even if you have the credentials, it takes time and patience to succeed as a freelancer. If you’re using communities like UpWork you need to create a profile, complete tests to prove you have the desired skills, and complete a fair amount of low paid jobs before you can begin to charge more.
You will also need to be patient day-to-day. Clients don’t always respond right away, money doesn’t always arrive when expected, and there will always be dry-spells where you have no work at all and may even need to seek online loans to bridge the gap in those early years.
No matter if you’re a freelance graphic designer, a blogger or anything in-between, no one client is the same. Freelancers need to be flexible and prepared for anything.
Some projects will be small, others might take months. Some clients will be easy to deal with, others might make you want to pull your hair out.
To earn good money, you need be the type of person who can take each day as it comes.
8) The Ability to Say No
When it comes to freelancing, the amount of money you earn is directly tied to your volume of work, especially if you charge clients a rate. That makes it very difficult to say no when new work comes your way. However, if you don’t manage things efficiently, you can soon take on more work than you can realistically handle.
This will result in the overall quality of your work to decline. You might even end up missing deadlines.
Likewise, some projects may simply be too big, beyond your expertise, or the client may not be willing to pay what you charge.
In all of these scenarios, it is important to have the ability to say no.
Freelancing can be an empowering and rewarding career, but if you don’t have at least some of the above traits, it can also be stressful and overwhelming. If you want to earn great money, you’re going to need high motivation and self-discipline, with the ability to sell yourself and handle clients well.
Do you freelance? What are some of the traits and skills that have helped you to succeed? Let us know in the comments below!