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What it Takes to be a Freelancer

Freelancing has become a popular job, and it’s no wonder why. The freedom and independence it affords is invaluable. Freelancers and remote workers now have the opportunity to work just about wherever and whenever they want. People from all walks of life gravitate to freelancing for the same reasons. But it’s no piece of cake. Working alone with an online job isn’t for everyone and it takes special skills to succeed.

Freelancer
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Discipline

As a freelancer, you live and die by your own motivation. There is no boss telling you what to do and it’s up to you to get work done that day. While this affords a lot of flexibility, it can easily go awry if you don’t have any structure in place. In order to be successful, you need to make your own schedule and stick to it. Find a place and time that works for you every day. At home there is a host of distractions waiting to steal your intention. You could easily end up wasting the day away on laundry, dusting, or Youtube. If your home is going to be too distracting, find a place that suits you. This could be your own office or a coffee shop. You also have control over when you work. If you’re an early bird, get started early before the kids get ready for school. Regardless of the schedule you set, you have to discipline yourself to follow it every day so you can make your brand stand out.

Exceptional Communication Skills

Even though you get to work from home, it doesn’t mean you get a pass to stop communicating with people. Proper communication with your clients is key to maintain good business. As a remote worker, you may have to keep your clients update on projects every day so they can be confident in your progress. If you are working with a group take the helm and reach out to members of the team without being asked. If you’re collaborating with others, be prepared to meet them in person or use software like Skype to check in with each other. Try to keep business hours so your clients know when they can contact you. Don’t feel like just because you work from home you have to be chained to your email all day and night. Let your clients know that they can reach you between certain times and make sure you reply to them as soon as possible. Lack of communication is death to a freelancer. If you delay or ignore them, you may find yourself without a client.

Creative Problem Solving

You’re on your own as a freelancer. That means less collaboration and more reliance on your own brainpower. You will often encounter problems that you alone can solve. You may have close contact with a department assistant you can speak to but you have to figure out everything else on your own. It may be as simple as trying to complete a project during Thanksgiving weekend with the family or as complex as solving a serious software issue in a small period of time. Fortunately, problem solving is like a muscle; the more you work out the muscle, the more creative you become.

Courage

You rely totally on yourself now. Nobody assigns you tasks to complete by the end of the week, with some exceptions. You may have a monthly calendar to fill up and clients may drop in and out of existence. Jobs won’t just fall into your lap; now you have to market yourself everywhere all the time. Create business cards and brand yourself on social media. You can’t afford to be shy as a freelancer, so go to all of the networking events you can. Let it be known who you are and how open you are to work.

Becoming a skilled freelancer takes a lot of work, but fortunately, these are skills you can develop. If you are ready to discipline yourself to enjoy the flexibility of freelancing, keep these skills in mind.

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