It is important to get a rough idea of what makes the best freelancer and the general personality traits they seem to have before deciding to take that career path. This way even if you do not think you possess these specific qualities now, it does not mean you cannot adapt once actually in a freelancing role. That’s why we have put together a list of some attributes for you to look at to help determine whether this is the best route for you.
It is a common myth that freelancers are able to pick and choose exactly when they want to work because realistically, there will be times when you do not want to work but have to. This is where having self-discipline becomes crucial, as you might not always have someone pushing you to get on with work the same way you would as a permanent employee.
While you should still take up opportunities to enjoy yourself when possible, you must balance this with ensuring you are getting all of your required work done as well. The consequences of becoming too relaxed while freelancing can be severe such as losing clients, damaging your reputation and potentially a loss of money. Having the self-discipline to set a work schedule can help you get into an organised structure which will play a significant part in your success.
As a freelancer, you must take responsibility for all of your actions and decisions that you make in business. This means within all of your success and failures that you experience, you take them as your own and learn from them. You might not have this attribute right from the outset of becoming a freelancer, but over time you develop it through learning and improving your skills.
Showing that you are willing to take on responsibility gives off a professional image to clients and determination can give the impression that you are experienced, even if you are not. This attribute is key, as a huge part of being a freelancer means taking control of your own decisions and therefore being responsible.
Without set hours, as permanent employees generally have, it is important to manage your schedule of work through pre-planning as a freelancer. As you are effectively your own boss, you are only one who will be under scrutiny if you do not complete a piece of work in the time that you promised your client. Success as a freelancer can be significantly elevated through positive word of mouth. Therefore proving to clients that you are a reliable person to work with can encourage more work with that same client or their connections in the future.
Although there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with freelancing in terms of running your business ventures, there are ways you can get help with managing your time effectively. An example of this is using a contractor accountant to help you handle your financial administration which can be time consuming. Without this burden on yourself, you can focus on completing your tasks for a client or enjoy some more freedom. Your level of income can then be managed by using a contractor salary calculator so you can assess how much each job you take as a freelancer will impact you financially, organising your profit schedule.
Using your initiative links to being responsible in the sense that there is no one in charge of your actions and essentially telling you what to do. A client will expect more to come from you, and to not have to oversee everything you are working on. Initiative is proved by asking your client questions, making suggestions regarding the project and having trust in your own expertise. It is fairly crucial to use your initiative as a freelancer as you do not depend on anyone else to get a task done at exceptional standard except yourself.
Many freelancers, particularly those in the design industry where it is crucial to have input from both parties (freelancer and client), must prioritise communication. Establishing a clear idea of what your requirements are as well as putting forward ideas can help you avoid any errors occurring in the work you are carrying out.
There are various ways in which a freelancer can ensure communication with the client is at its best. Their communication between one another should be kept clear, by avoiding wasteful information being swapped. Agreeing on progress stages is also an important aspect to communicate effectively and helps a freelancer become efficient and improves relationships with clients. By achieving this a freelancer should be able to gain a positive reputation and give your client exactly what they have asked of you.
Being entirely responsible for your future career moves when freelancing means you need to make sure you can get ahead of others that might beat you to your next job. Diversifying your portfolio to make you the most appealing candidate for a job is crucial in a competitive market. That is why a freelancer must be willing to be flexible in their work and ready to learn new things.
This flexibility will also benefit you in being able to take rush jobs, where a client urgently needs your services. Being a freelancer with various skills means you do not need as much training time and can take up these opportunities as they come. To gain this skill of being a flexible freelancer, you have to be willing to move outside of your comfort zone which could be fairly daunting for some. However, this will pay off when you are able to take up a wide array of freelancing jobs that are presented to you.
Freelancing is a very rewarding career path to take, and it gives you a clear sense of independence in your work. Acquiring these traits that we have listed will undoubtedly increase your potential as a candidate that a client would be happy to work with, as well as increase the likelihood of you finding further work.
Suggested further reading
Many Thanks to Bart Kot for his invaluable insights
This article has been written by Milosz, the digital strategy consultant at Chilli Fruit Web Design