Freelance work: 10 qualities you absolutely need!

Recently I was asked what skills you should definitely bring along if you want to work freelance. Surely everyone has their own experience. As a long-time freelancer, I would like to share with you the qualities that seem most important to me. 

1. High level of responsibility

In contrast to a permanent position, we freelancers are always one hundred percent liable for our own actions. There are no colleagues or bosses who are available for apportioning blame. Even if something goes wrong, we must therefore be prepared to take full responsibility.

2. Lots of passion for freelance work

Half-hearted work leads to half-hearted results. Only if we carry out our freelance work with full passion we can achieve top performance and be successful. Therefore, it should always be clear to us why we have decided to go freelance. What is our drive / our motivation? Why are we interested in what we do?

3. Maintaining financial overview

The topic “finances” is existential for the success of our freelance work. If we want to be successful, we should regularly check income and expenses as well as reserves. A well elaborated financial plan will help us to do this.

4. Having a clear goal in mind

In everyday life we are regularly faced with detailed tasks. Writing an offer here, reworking a project there and so on. In doing so, we can very quickly lose sight of our own goals or not even get around to defining our goals. It is extremely important to have goals. Only in this way can we make progress and also measure our success in retrospect. How to define goals with the SMART method you will find in my article: “Defining goals with the SMART method«

5. Freelance work requires a lot of discipline

When we reach our goals, not everything always runs smoothly. Sometimes we are really put in the way. For example, orders burst, unplanned high tax back payments that eliminate our profit or other unplanned events. Even in times of crisis it is important to stay on the ball. We must not simply throw in the towel. Discipline is therefore an essential quality that we should bring along if we want to work successfully as freelancers.

6. Good time management

Freelancers, especially those who work from home, need very good time management. Our working hours are not dictated by the employer. We therefore have to find our own times to concentrate on our work, get our accounting department in shape or update our website. Find out at what time of day or on what day you are most productive and plan your daily routine. On my blog I have already presented a few models for efficient time management:

7. Focus

Most freelancers try to process your orders as efficiently as possible. After all, time is money. To work as efficiently as possible it is important to be able to concentrate on one thing (keyword “focus”). During my productive hours I am therefore not available by phone. Also, I only open the e-mail inbox and the internet browser when I need it for the implementation of the project I am working on.

8. Qualification

Without appropriate proof of our qualifications (e.g. training, studies, awards, references or portfolio), customers have difficulty in gaining confidence in our services. Therefore it is important to work on our qualification and to communicate it clearly to our customers or our target group. Personally I find it important to be open for new topics. 

9. Ability to cooperate

Surely, as a freelancer, you can also get started without any help from others. But it is easier to be cooperative. Cooperations offer an incredible potential. For example, a cooperation partner can use its strengths to compensate for its own weaknesses. Sometimes completely new business models can be created through clever cooperation. Loners can also be successful. But with good cooperation, the path is often less rocky.

10. Readiness for lifelong learning

According to the motto “If you rest, you rust” I always try to keep my expertise up to date. As a designer this applies to me especially to new design trends, technologies and software. Are there any areas where you would like to refresh your knowledge?

Of course the list can be extended. What are for you the most important qualities that you should bring along if you want to work freelance?

Write in the comments and share your experience with the community.

Leave a Reply