Freelancer. Business-of-one. Self-employed.
For some it seems like a dream career to be your own boss, wear slippers to work and win Employee of the Month twelve times a year.
Then a few months into the gig, things begin to fall apart. You’re not making enough money, connections or sales. You’re burnt out and try to drag yourself to your desk before lunch. Then you search and search for the best freelancing jobs — and come up without anything to do. And, cry.
Some people just aren’t cut out for this lifestyle. So, before walking out on your 9-to-5 and labeling yourself an entrepreneur, be honest. Do you have what it takes to be working as a freelancer?
9 Qualities of Successful Freelancers
- Self-starter: Are you willing to work hard every single day to make your business a success, even on slow days? A great freelancer uses unexpected lulls in their paid work flow to learn new techniques, seek out more opportunities and promote their services.
- Easily motivated: Do you wake up each morning thinking about your business? Does that momentum carry through to the evening? Without motivation (or a boss to bug you), you won’t get much done as a freelancer.
- Obsessive over details: Each time you turn in a project or make a sale, your client will decide whether or not to recommend you to others or buy from you again. Make sure your work is polished and professional. Details matter.
- Punctual to everything: When you’re late to a meeting or professional gatherings, it only reflects bad on you and your business. Being lazy no longer hurts the company that employs you. It hurts your wallet.
- Over-planner: When you run your own business, you have to be incredibly organized to balance multiple tasks. In addition to doing the part you love, you also have to make time to take care of paperwork, billing, marketing yourself and other administrative tasks.
- Creative thinker: As a freelancer, I have to punt often. Sometimes an interview falls through, a deadline gets bumped up or a project is presented at 4:55pm on a Friday. I have to be ready to juggle everything on my schedule and think of creative ways to make things happen. Can you do that?
- Hustler: As a freelancer, your business is always open. Every social occasion is a chance to let people know what you do and plant a seed about your services. Do you enjoy talking about yourself and your talents? If you can hustle and don’t mind always looking for the next project, you’re in the right game.
- Social butterfly: You must love to talk to people. No freelancer is going to land projects and make professional business contacts by being an introvert. You have to be willing to put yourself out there all the time and be memorable.
- Adaptable: A week doesn’t go by that I’m not learning new client guidelines, editing a piece or altering my writing schedule to make last-minute projects fit into my day. No day, or week, is ever the same as a freelancer. One minute I’m pulling an 11-hour day, the next I’m working a half day because I’m caught up on everything and decided to reward myself with some relaxation.
Are you a freelancer? What qualities do you think make you successful? Let’s chat in the comments below! Feel free to comment using Facebook or the comment form. ~Angela