The 5 Traits of a Successful Freelancer Or… Why Bots
Who wouldn’t want to be a freelancer these days? So many resources, apps, groups, Meet-ups available it almost seems like being a successful freelancer would be the easiest thing to do on earth. Simply say goodbye to your cranky boss and start printing your own money. Right?
Well those of us who have been doing this for a while know that it’s a bit more complicated. Being a successful freelancer means weathering stress, past-due invoices, healthcare payments, loneliness, and more. Yes, autonomy is fantastic. Doing what you love for a living is incredible. Working from home can be fantabulous. But like most things in life, it’s a tradeoff.
So we put this list together. For those of you considering becoming a freelancer, this list is a good way to measure if your personality can cut the mustard. If you’re an existing freelancer, this is a good check-in to be sure you’re continually developing the skills needed for ongoing success.
The 5 Traits for Successful Freelancing
Self Motivated – This one is pretty obvious. Without having a nagging boss to get and keep you on track with your projects, the practice of “being a self-starter” better be something you subscribe to. Best case is that you love what you do so much it doesn’t feel like work. So doing your design, writing, development, or other unique freelance skill is more fun and easy to do than watching that GoPro on a hawk video again.
Autonomous but Emotionally Intelligent – Autonomous means being able to act independently or have the freedom to do so. Emotional Intelligence or EQ is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. So basically, being autonomous with a high EQ means being kind to yourself. And this is a trait that should and can be developed and improved on. So set clear goals and be nice to yourself while you set out to achieve them,
Flexible – As you probably know by now, jobs and projects can suddenly come out of nowhere. Moreover, jobs and projects can also just as suddenly disappear – and everything in between. But being flexible means more than being ready for jobs to come and go and having money stashed away to be prepared. It’s about how you deal with the ups and downs of working alone. That is, are you able to be flexible enough to go really enjoy unanticipated free time? Or hunker down when two projects end up being due on the same day? Flexible for freelancers means going with the flow, adjusting to work and clients on the fly, and remembering this is part of the process to ultimately doing much more of what you love with your life.
Thick Skin – One could argue that feelings and emotions have no place in business regardless of freelance or corporate work. But having thick skin isn’t a lack of emotions. It’s about realizing that nothing is personal. Including and especially late payments. It’s the ability to work with grace under pressure and not blow up, even when your client’s latest revision basically takes the product back to exactly where you started. Thick skin means being able to take a breath and speak calmly under the most insane conditions. And as a freelancer, a successful freelancer, you know those insane conditions are always right around the corner.
Always be Adding Value – This is really the most important and is the culmination of the other traits. It will also get you the most recommendations and repeat business. That is, if you have thick skin, EQ, self-motivated, and are flexible you can always add value to your client’s experience. This is the “yes, and…” approach to freelancing. No matter the offer, or comment, or criticism, or change, you can say, “I hear you and will add more value to this situation.”
Or Would You Rather be a Bot? – These are the human conditions needed to create long-term clients who continue to recommend your freelance product or service. For most of us, this takes work and ongoing self-improvement. Business coaches can easily focus on just one of these for extended periods of time and money.
Which is the reason we launched Freelanzr as a Chatbot. In these five traits, nowhere will you see bookkeeping, goal setting, invoicing, or tracking productivity. Now, getting better at the minutia can be a tangible byproduct of your personal evolution and improvement of the five traits above. But, we built Freelanzr to help with the day to day so that you can focus on the important things that continue to bring in more projects.
Because, after all, don’t you have enough to deal with already?
Looking forward to hearing your stories about how you go about being a successful freelancer here!