Freelancing isn’t for everybody. For some, the thought of working alone, with no team or boss for support, is seriously unappealing. They’re used to the comfort of the 9 to 5, the Friday afternoon drinks and knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from.
Then there is a certain type of person for whom freelancing is perfect. They love the independence and freedom, and are happy to say goodbye to the office politics. Freelancing isn’t an easy career choice, and certainly comes with its challenges, but those who have what it takes usually don’t look back.
Here’s a rundown of the top character traits of a top-notch freelancer:
1. Self-discipline: With no boss to answer to, it’s all on you to make sure you get your work done on time, meet your targets, and deliver against the expectations of the client. Whether working from home or in a co-working space, the potential distractions, both on and offline, are endless. You need the willpower to stay focused on the task and hit those deadlines. If you don’t, it’s your reputation on the line.
2. Confidence: Working independently, there is nowhere to hide. You don’t have any team members to lean on for advice or support, which means having the utmost confidence in your own knowledge and expertise. Clients are invariably working with you alone, so courage in your convictions is vital. A confident approach will also make you stand out when pitching for new business.
3. Detail-orientated: With none of the approval processes you’ll find in an agency or in-house, a razor-sharp eye for detail is a must. You have to be the writer, sub-editor and proof-reader of your business to avoid sending sub-standard work to the client. To be on the safe-side, online proof-reading tools can help.
4. Multi-tasking: It’s not unusual for freelancers to be juggling a number of projects at once, which means being comfortable with thinking about and doing numerous things at the same time. And if you feel like you haven’t got the headspace, a natural aptitude for list-making and post-it note management is also invaluable!
5. A can-do attitude: As a freelancer, you have a smaller window to make an impact than a permanent employee, so the ability to get stuck in and achieve fast results is crucial. Good freelancers take on board information quickly, ask the right questions and build an understanding of a project in a short space of time. They’re committed to making their clients’ lives as easy as possible.
6. Communication: In a client-focused business, it goes without saying that good and regular communication should be front and centre, particularly when working remotely. Top notch freelancers are professional, friendly and responsive, consistently updating clients on work completed and any potential issues.
7. Tenacious: Things don’t always go your way in the freelancing world. You might not win that great client, your press release might flop, or the article you wrote might be going through its 15th round of changes. But the best freelancers never give up! It’s important to know how to pick yourself up after disappointment, and keep working towards your goals.
8. Open to feedback and criticism: It can be hard to take sometimes, but client feedback and constructive criticism are invaluable, enabling you to improve your work and the overall outcomes of a project. Everybody has a different perspective on how something should be said or done and that feedback loop usually ensures the best results for all involved.
9. Deadline driven: The success of a project can hinge on hitting certain deadlines and as a freelancer, your clients will insist on timely delivery. That means an ability to work under pressure when necessary, as well as manage your time effectively to avoid any last minute panics. With nobody else to call on for support, you’ll need to plan your time carefully.
10. Collaboration: While freelancing is traditionally thought of as a solo pursuit, there are a growing number of opportunities to work with teams of freelancers, as part of an integrated campaign. For this, a talent for collaboration is needed, along with an ability to manage virtual relationships effectively. We’re seeing an increasing number of freelancers working this way, so if you’re ever in need of support with a project, The Work Crowd is the perfect place to look.