For those that are considering the lifestyle of a freelancer and wish to be self-employed, here are some key skills will help you go from a good enough freelancer to someone who is a great freelancer. Keep in mind that you’re entering the world of entrepreneurship, so that means in the beginning, you’re most likely going to go out on your own and wear the many hats of running your own business. These skills are both soft skills and hard skills.
This isn’t about what you’re actually going to be freelancing as. However, it is important to note what some of the more in-demand jobs in the world of freelancing and entrepreneurship are so as to keep yourself relevant and have income coming in. Remember to keep yourself focused on a particular skill set, such as digital marketing or programming, or web design, and not try to do everything at once. Focus will tend to bring you better, more lucrative clients down the line.
Communication and Negotiation
Since you need to be able to sell yourself properly to potential clients, you’ll need to be able to communicate professionally. This is both verbal and written communication so that the client feels confident in your understanding of the project or task at hand.
In conjunction with communication, you’ll also need to negotiate for yourself as well. These go from being able to negotiate the rate and term of a contract and what each contract covers. Remember, when you freelance that you are your biggest advocate.
Excellent Time Management
Since you are in self-employment, you set your own schedule, but that means you want to find the right balance between when to work and when to take time off. If you work too often without breaks, you may burn yourself out. On the other hand, if you take too much of a pause between new work, you may end up straining your financials. So don’t delay current projects either, and give yourself a set time when you need to work and when you’re off.
Be Ready to Problem Solve
Many people will hire a freelancer because they are a subject matter expert in their field, and they are a fixed cost versus a regular employee in most cases. In essence, your clients have a problem that needs a resolution, and you, as the freelancer, are there to problem-solve. That means taking an investigative approach to the specific situation and the best course of action to resolve that issue with your particular skill set.
While you are a professional, you need to be able to adapt to whatever the market or industry throws your way. If any type of bad event happens, such as a possible economic recession, or the pandemic that occurred, you’ll need to be the first one with your clients to show that you’re ready to be as adaptable as possible. That could mean delayed payments, to reduced amounts of work. It could also mean the opposite, where you need to help cover for others and take on more responsibilities.
It’s not just being flexible with your clients either, but you also want to make sure as a freelancer that you keep your core business adaptable as well. For example, maybe you shift your key offering to something more lucrative that the market is demanding. It could lead to healthier profits and help to keep your freelancing skill set fresh and relevant.
Expert Knowledge in their field
Of course, it should go without saying that a freelancer needs to be quite advanced in their offering. It’s also about keeping up with the industry in general and the current trends, what’s new, and what new skills you need to learn. For example, if you’re a web designer, keeping up with the recent happenings with new website-building tools is critical. Or, if you’re a graphic designer, you learn the latest features of your graphic design software and platform.
Understand the Risks and Be Strong
Being a freelancer results in a lot of freedom, but it comes with a huge potential for risk at the same time. That means you may need to have a higher risk tolerance than most people. This means that you may find yourself with plenty of business and funds, and at other times when the work dries up, you’re on the hunt looking for your next project. This type of volatility requires you to have the right type of patience and perseverance at the same time.
It’s also important that you take criticism and feedback from your clients as well. Again, this will only help you as a professional grow. Sometimes that feedback can come off as harsh criticism, but as long as it’s constructive, it’s only there to help you succeed. But, of course, you are also a professional. Therefore, that means if any unprofessional behaviour occurs in a freelance-to-client relationship, you are always allowed to say no.
Get your Financials in Order
When you become a freelancer, this is yet another piece you need to handle yourself. You are the owner of your own business, and that means you need to take everything from budgeting, forecasting, taxation and banking. In addition, you need to provide your clients an easy way to accept payment.
As you end up growing your business and reputation, you may find yourself starting to have clients that are international or pay in different currencies than your own. That means you want to have the right financial instruments to be able to handle multiple currencies at the same time seamlessly.
You may also find yourself freely travelling with your newfound self-employed lifestyle and will need to have local currencies readily available. All of this can be done when you sign up for one of our accounts with international debit cards and get yourself a multicurrency account quickly and efficiently. You’ll also be able to track your transactions and expenses for your business as well, helping you with budgeting and taxation.