The world is changing faster than we know it. We’re in the very beginning stages of a massive technological and workforce revolution, and there’s a lot more that will change over the next 10 years that will make many of the recent advancements seem quickly outdated.
The way we work – the technologies we use, environments we work in, and how we source opportunities – are due for rapid and massive transformation.
We are calling this transformation the Future of Work, and it’s already begun in significant ways.
Increasingly people are seeking the autonomy to do what they want to do when they want to do it, and they want their work to have meaning.
This very desire for autonomy with a purpose is manifesting itself in a number of significant ways not least of which is the rise of the next wave of freelancers that is expected to increase to 70 million by 2020.
Welcome to the world of First Name, Last Name Inc. Individuals are their own companies and their own brands. Yes, your reputation precedes you. The walls are thin and the lines are disappearing between work and play, personal and professional.
As more people will need to rely on their skill sets and behavior to create financial security for themselves and their families in the coming years, here are some important qualities to cultivate in developing as a successful freelancer with an enduring career.
1. Show self-discipline.
Self-discipline is essential to being a freelancer. Without the persuasion of a boss to ensure you’re at work on time every day, it’s easy to get caught up in other activities.
Having self-discipline means knowing when to say no to non-mission-critical activities and when to say yes to finishing your work milestones, creating a working schedule, and keeping in constant contact with clients.
Essentially, self-discipline ensures you’re getting the job done successfully and getting paid for your work.
2. Be confident.
To be a successful freelancer, you must be confident in your ability. Confidence is extremely important because clients need to know they can trust your advice and direction.
This isn’t to say you have to know everything, but be confident enough to know you can figure out the problem and apply the solution successfully. Confidence comes from experience and in dealing with lots of different situations over time.
The better you are at your work, and the more you can reliably deliver for your clients in a crucial manner, the more prosperous your freelance career will be.
3. Establish trust.
As an independent contractor, clients must know they can trust you. Testimonials from previous jobs are the best way clients gauge a freelancer’s trustworthiness.
Always make sure to ask for referrals and have your clients write out positive statements that they attribute to your work, so you can advertise to attract new business.
The vast majority of freelancers we spoke with cited referrals as the number one source of business, and trust is the cornerstone of having your work shared.
4. Be financially savvy.
Once you learn the qualities to be a successful freelancer, you also need to acquire the tools to make sure you are protected financially. Many freelancers experience the biggest pain around getting paid on time and finding new work.
With the advent of legal contract apps such as Shake, and online platforms such as LiquidTalent, where you can reliably source your next opportunity, you should be more prepared than ever to find independent-worker prosperity.
Nonetheless, practicing the right principles of setting up proper contractual arrangements in conjunction with using new online tools should only make your freelance career more long-lived.
5. Know when to walk away.
Just because a client needs your services doesn’t mean they will treat or value you how you would want. If you hear negative comments about a client or get a feeling that they are not going to abide by the contract, then be prepared to walk away.
Sticking around and carrying through on a bad deal will end up costing you more money and time in the long run than if you had just found a different client to begin with. It’s always in your best interest to investigate the client before agreeing to anything.
The easiest way to go about this is by simply asking questions or requesting testimonials from previous contractors. This is your livelihood; don’t be afraid to take control of it.
Founded by Alex Abelin and Scott Annan, LiquidTalent is a web and mobile local talent marketplace for hiring vetted freelance professionals through social connection.
LiquidTalent, which celebrated its official launch Nov. 19, 2015, is also known for its Future of Work Summits where new age professionals come together to connect and be inspired from a panel of educators, entrepreneurs, policy makers and economic opportunities. Please join our growing community and sign up today!
This article is an excerpt from LiquidTalent's Future of Work eBook, Dude Where's My Drone, which the company recently published.