Could you Thrive as a Freelancer?
Could you Thrive as a Freelancer?
By Beth Reacher
In today’s highly competitive and volatile employment market, more people turn to freelancing to take their professional destiny into their own hands. Our evolving marketplace contributes to this growing trend. With more small businesses entering the economy, there’s an increased demand for skilled individuals to offer specialist advice and consultancy on a flexible or contract bases.
With the Internet and growth online networks designed to connect employers and freelancers, it’s now possible to create a sustainable career from freelancing, no matter where you live. Freelancing now applies to a range of industries at various experience levels – from virtual assistants, designers and writers to trainers and marketers, to name just a few.
However, choosing to freelance is a whole different world compared to the traditional permanent employment route. Those who have found success after joining the self-employed clan know it’s vital to be confident you have the qualities to thrive in the freelance world. Below are some of the key attributes a successful freelancer needs to possess:
Easily Adaptable: As a freelancer, you will be working with a range of clients with different needs, priorities and challenges. It’s essential that you can quickly adapt to your client’s agenda. There may be times where you feel a clash in personalities, so it’s beneficial to be prepared to cast this aside and focus on the job in hand. As you get more experienced and have secured regular work you may be able to be more selective as to whom you work with. But at the beginning you’ll need to be flexible to ensure a healthy pipeline of work.
Loves Autonomy: As a freelancer, you’re more likely to be targeted by defined outcomes since your client will have bought you on board for a specific piece of work. Often this means you have the independence to work how and where you want, as long as the outcome is delivered as desired. Consequently, you won’t necessarily have the structure of the 9-to-5 office day, as well as the close support of colleagues. As a result, it’s essential you can rely on yourself to manage your time and stay focused.
Naturally Business-Minded: There’s a false assumption that being a freelancer is a piece of cake, where you get to sit back and be on your own time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As a freelancer, you are essentially running your own business and need to juggle a range of commitments – doing the day to day work, PR and communications, business development, ensuring your accounts are done and having a strategic direction of where you want to focus your work. It’s a balancing act that requires a sharp, business savvy brain to make it all come together.
Confident Communicator: Freelancing is not for shrinking violets. Gaining and retaining clients means you have to be confident enough to pitch and sell yourself to secure contracts. As you’re solely responsible for the services you are offering, you have to be able to communicate how you’re doing against milestones and be directly accountable to senior clients.
Self-Resilient: As you’re solely accountable for the work you get in and delivering to your commitments, there are likely to be low times when you may not be bringing in the clients as thick and fast as you’d like or struggling on a complex project. Since you don’t have a permanent team to fall back on, you must be able to pick yourself up from the dark whole and keep going.
Passion for Self-Development: As a freelancer, you’ll be competing for contracts, and it’s your passion that will make you stand out from the competition. Your passion will also give you the drive to invest in your own development, keeping abreast of emerging trends and your skills fresh in your chosen field to deliver to your client’s demands. The focus needs to be on making ourselves ‘indispensable’ so employers need us rather than we need them. This is never more true than for the gallant freelancer who is responsible for driving her own career and offering consistent value in the marketplace.
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