I used to think anyone could learn a skill, find businesses which needed that skill to grow their business, and ultimately create a client-service freelance career (or side hustle).
After more than four years of walking the freelance line, I’ve learned it takes a certain type of person to be a successful freelancer.
Here’s what I mean:
You have to believe in yourself — it’s as simple as that. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect someone else (e.g. clients) to believe in you?
Confidence comes from experience, but experience isn't a prerequisite to becoming a freelancer. I didn’t have an ounce of experience before embarking on my freelance journey, but what I did have is a “can do” attitude.
When you replace “if” with “when” and “how,” you automatically put yourself on the path to success.
People tend to become obsessed with having “all the answers” before they enter unknown waters. When I started freelancing in 2012, I could probably count the number of “answers” I had on one hand, but I was determined figure them out with relentless work ethic and commitment along the way.
Sometimes, it just comes down to how much you want — and how hard you’re willing to work for — the opportunities freelancing provides.
If you haven’t started freelancing, or if you’re new to the game, there will inevitably come a time when the waters get rough. Any long-time freelancer will tell you, it’s just part of the journey.
How you absorb the impending ups and downs of freelancing will go a long way in determining your growth and success. Which brings us to number four.
Creativity is synonymous with resourceful — the ability to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties.
For instance, if you lost 70 percent of your income in 70 days, how would you find a way to bounce back?
Reinventing yourself time and again is a must for freelancers who want to be successful over the long haul.
Proactively marketing yourself and building your personal brand are the two most effective ways to develop a continuous stream of clients and consistently raise your rates.
Many freelancers try to attract new clients by launching a blog or using social media. The problem is, they’re not strategic or systematic about it, so they become exponentially unmotivated when their short-lived and inconsistent efforts don’t generate meaningful results.
The key to proactively marketing yourself and building your personal brand is being persistent. As they say: Keep on keepin’ on.
If you’re not generating meaningful results via a blog, social media or any other marketing methods, the last thing you want to do is call it quits.
Instead, analyze your approach. Do you have a strategy? Who’s your target audience? What kinds of content do people in this audience want? How are you ensuring these people actually see and engage with your content? Do you have a system that ensures efficiency? Are you measuring success? Do you know what success looks like?
Successful freelancers don’t start and stop, or start and inconsistently proceed; they start, analyze, modify and optimize each and every day.