The economic climate has created an opportunity for workers. Many have turned to freelancing as a way to get back to work and have more control in their work-life. According to the Human Capital Institute, 1 in 3 Americans is a freelancer or temporary worker in post-recession America.
It’s not just flexibility and lack of permanent jobs that has many taking the leap, the ability to start a small business is also a prominent reason many begin a new life as a freelancer.
Second Act.com had a great post on “5 Traits of a Successful Freelancer” and included be professional, be meticulous about tracking hours, focus on a niche specialty, build a web portfolio and be a networking machine. Those are great starting points, there are a few characteristics that the site left off. Successful freelancers are:
Confident. Successful freelancers know what they have to offer – expertise, skill, etc. Freelancers without confidence are quickly taken advantage of by clients, because it sure is tougher to negotiate higher paying rates when you don’t believe you’re worth it. It’s also hard to sell clients on your services if you struggle with self-doubt. Own your experience!
Multi-taskers. Juggling multiple projects, billing and meetings is a freelancer requirement. If you have time management issues, the only way to move forward is to put a solid team into place, try a virtual assistant or pair up with a time management wiz to learn how to put a system in place.
Team builders. Think of clients as team members. You have to work together for a successful completion of a project. It’s essential to learn how to manage different personalities and how to communicate effectively. “People skill books” like The 5 Love Languages, the Art of War and Who Moved My Cheese? are great tools to help find how to lead and collaborate effectively.
Creative. Creativity in your area of expertise is a hallmark of a successful freelancer. Clients look to their freelancers for new ideas and fresh perspective.
Freelancer, consultant, small business owner – it’s not the title that determines success, it’s what characteristics you bring to the table.
Share your story. What other characteristics must successful freelancers have and what leadership books do you recommend?