10 Skills You Need to Become a Freelancer

10 Skills You Need to Become a Freelancer

Freelancing has become increasingly popular in recent years, due to the surge of freelance marketplaces such as Upwork, Fiverr, and 99designs. If you’re considering making the jump into freelancing, you’re not alone! Freelancing can be an effective way to earn more money and gain more flexibility in your work schedule – but it can also be very challenging to set up if you don’t know what you’re doing.

1) Have a Growth Mindset

Business is hard. It’s easy to become frustrated and take failure personally. When that happens, it’s tempting to view setbacks as character flaws—as proof that you can’t cut them in business. But studies show that whether or not you succeed as an entrepreneur has little to do with your actual ability and far more to do with how you interpret failures and setbacks. In other words, there are two types of people: those who see failure as an indication they aren’t good enough, called a fixed mindset, and those who view it as a learning opportunity, called a growth mindset. If you have a growth mindset, you know setbacks are temporary distractions on your journey toward success rather than roadblocks on your path.

2) Get Work Done Fast

In a 9-to-5 job, you’re not in charge of your own schedule. But when you’re freelancing, you get to pick when and where you do your work. Don’t want to sit around all day in pajamas? Don’t have time for breakfast with friends? When you freelance, no one says you can’t take your cat on conference calls. If it makes getting things done easier, why not? Freelancers also have more flexibility over what they actually work on—they aren't subject to someone else's schedule or priorities. That means they can choose projects that will help build their portfolio instead of doing busy work.

3) Build Good Habits and a Routine

Time management is probably one of those skills you’ve been hearing about your entire life but likely haven’t yet perfected. Learning how to effectively manage your time will not only help you as a freelancer, but it also makes every aspect of your life easier and more productive. Fortunately, as easy as it is to let yourself get pulled in 10 different directions at once, it’s just as easy (and rewarding) to say no when necessary. And that leads us right into

4) Learn how to Prioritize your Day

It’s important for you as a freelancer to make sure that your time is spent on high-priority tasks—the activities that are truly going to help your business grow. When you’re working with limited resources, it’s easy to get into a rut of working on what needs to be done right now and neglecting higher-level goals like finding new clients or expanding your reach through social media. Without clear priorities, projects and tasks can easily consume all of your available time; with priorities, though, you can make sure that most of your day is spent where it will really benefit you.

5) Manage your Time Effectively

Time management isn’t just about getting more done in less time. It’s also about recognizing and learning from your mistakes. If you don’t manage your time effectively, it can impact every area of your life: work, home, friends, social outings, leisure activities—you name it. But if you learn how to be disciplined about managing your time wisely and efficiently, you won’t only be able to get more work done in less time—you’ll also increase productivity at home and avoid procrastination. Be sure you are honest with yourself when evaluating how much time you spend on various tasks so that you can plan accordingly for future projects. Using software like Toggl or RescueTime is helpful because it tracks everything so accurately!

6) Learn how to Deal with Clients Badly

Dealing with clients can be one of your biggest challenges as a freelancer. After all, what if you take on an account and then realize your new client is more than you bargained for? In order to land and keep clients, freelancers have shared some of their best (and worst) tips with us. Here are five of our favorites

7) The Importance of Networking

Becoming a freelancer, or even starting your own business, means networking with people you wouldn’t have had reason to talk to in your previous life. Networking can help you find new clients and gain support from like-minded individuals. Working as an independent professional also gives you valuable insight into other businesses and industries that can give you insight into how you run your business or make it more profitable. More than anything else, however, working with others is about building relationships that can be built on overtime. A reputation for working well with others will get you more work in both good times and bad. And of course, if things don’t work out in one area of expertise, networking is how you’ll get your next gig.

8) Take up Side Projects

Side projects may not pay, but they can help you learn something new or build your skill set in some way. As a freelancer, it's crucial that you are always growing and learning. Side projects will help with that by forcing you out of your comfort zone and into new territories. The more you know, the better off you'll be when competing for jobs or seeking out clients. And if all else fails, at least your side project can land you work on Craigslist!

9) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

There’s no shame in turning to freelance platforms, such as Upwork and Guru, for help in securing clients. These sites serve as matchmakers between freelance workers and companies looking for expertise; if you have a demonstrated track record of success—that is, samples of your work you can present on your profile—you’ll have more job opportunities at hand than you know what to do with. That way, you can pick projects that interest you most, rather than compromising over lower-paying jobs just because they come along first.

10) Follow an Accountability System

Your best shot at becoming a freelancer is by creating an accountability system for yourself. Yes, it’s hard work. The freelancing lifestyle is not for everyone. But by setting your expectations early on and structuring your business around them, you’ll greatly increase your chances of succeeding. One of my favorite techniques for building discipline around my goals is to create checklists for my tasks each day. Here are some questions you can ask yourself each morning: What do I want to achieve today? What can I do to make that happen? If there were no distractions and everything else in life was equal, what would be enough progress toward that goal?

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