Skills That Are Necessary for an Accomplished Career in Freelancing

Whether you’re new to (or even thinking about) a career in freelancing, the goal is generally to work on great projects and be monetarily comfortable. It’s always good to keep current on freelancing trends; perhaps in your research you’ve come across the profiles of established freelancers and wondered how they got to where they are. There are several must-have skills for catapulting a freelancer into an accomplished career.

1. Know how to manage your time. When you get a project, make sure you allocate time to not only complete it correctly, but also in such a way that you’re earning a decent hourly wage. For example, if you’re a freelance writer who’s given a set of articles to write within 2 days, it might be all too easy to procrastinate, with a rush to finish last-minute. Accomplished freelancers have mastered the art of their days into set times for work, and set times for breaks. It takes time (no pun intended) to develop this habit; consider using the stopwatch feature on your phone as a guide along the way.

2. Know how to communicate. Some freelancers think that if they promptly respond to emails and phone calls, that’s enough. Although the “when” is important, it can all be for naught if the “how” isn’t done correctly. Never seem too eager to be hired for a project. Asking questions for clarification purposes is good to do, but it’s better to save up the most essential ones to ask all at once as opposed to constantly asking whenever you think to do so. If you see a discrepancy, phrase it in such a way that you’re not being accusatory. “Maybe this could work better than this” is better than just blatantly stating “This is wrong!”

3. Know how to network. Sure, freelancing can, at times, be a solitary sort of career. However, accomplished freelancers, no matter their niche, know that building a network of trusted clients and even fellow freelancers is what’s key to consistent opportunities. In addition to online options such as LinkedIn, it’s important to attend in-person networking events as your schedule permits.

Even just attending social events could lead to new projects. Always carry a few business cards with you (Vistaprint offers great designs at reasonable prices). Be sure to only strategically hand your business cards out – if a conversation looks like it could become a lead, that would be an appropriate time.

4. Know how to keep your finances in check (again, no pun intended). Since you’re the one responsible for tracking your earnings, you need to keep everything organized not only for the sake of your bank account, but also for when tax season arrives. For example, consider having one separate email address strictly for incoming PayPal payments. Use that same email address to file payment notifications/invoices by client name and year. Another idea would be to keep track of your freelancing earnings, as you receive them, via a spreadsheet, with each row devoted to that source of income.

5. Know yourself. Understanding what you’re good at, and using those talents with tenacity and tact to build a freelancing business is, in my opinion, the most important skillset for becoming an accomplished freelancer. Remember, freelancing is a journey; always keep learning.

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