Top 7 Skills You Need As A Freelancer To Succeed In The Gig Economy ( In 2022)

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What are the top freelancing skills to become successful in freelancing career?

In today’s economy, freelancing services are in high demand. Clients decide to hire these independent contractors to work on occasional projects, as long-term experts, or simply to perform tasks that take up too much of their time.

Compared to dependent employment, freelancing has many advantages.

Flexible organization of work, high autonomy at work, having your own choice of projects and clients, setting your price, and the possibility of working without work experience or relevant education, a freelancing career offers an ideal way of making a living.

It provides opportunities and benefits to those who choose to work from the comfort of their home and on their terms. Contrarily, there are some disadvantages, such as the absence of certain employee privileges (paid leave, paternity or maternity leave, insurance, etc.), social isolation, and inconsistency of payment.

To survive and thrive in this gig economy, every freelancer needs some essential skills to create, maintain and grow their business. Here are the seven most crucial skills you should have to thrive in a freelancing career successfully.

1. Communication Skills

people communicating with each other

Good communication skills are the most critical competency every freelancer should have, regardless of their work.

Effective communication with a potential client is the key to increasing your odds of getting more work, developing strong working relationships, recommending your work to other clients, and getting good reviews.

Communication skills include the ability to listen to the client carefully and attentively. This gives the impression of concern for the client’s project and the standards they want to have met.

Staying professional is also essential since it reflects the freelancer’s overall image. Being overly friendly, casual, and using inappropriate terminology gives the impression of being frivolous and carefree – characteristics no businesses seek.

Another trick that convinces the client of the freelancer’s skills is the positive and confident approach to work. Freelancers must try to convince the client of their ability and readiness to face any problem the job might present and portray confidence to do the job they were assigned.

A freelancer’s communication strategy should also include regular meetings to prevent misunderstandings and set clear expectations on both sides.

2. Management Skills

Independent contracting or freelancing is constantly changing. Hourly rates are changing, customers come and go, and so do trends. On one hand, constant change is considered a good thing in freelancing because it never gets boring and keeps you engaged.

On the other hand, it can be hugely stressful due to its requirement to constantly adapt to the changing working conditions. The most successful freelancers aren’t solely workaholics and creative – they are also persistent and flexible.

Since a freelancing job essentially means having no authority, this translates to having to assume all responsibilities of one – you don’t have a boss, you are the boss.

Management skills are crucial because they allow you to manage your time and money and organize your work. Freelancing is not for everyone.

If you need constant supervision and easily sleep until the afternoon, there is a risk that you will not be able to cope with the pace of being a freelancer. When you work for someone else, they demand responsibility and discipline from you, so be aware that you’ll need both when you’re your boss.

Creating a flexible schedule and sticking to it is the best way to avoid chaos, reduce stress, and complete every task in time.

The freelancers must also learn to assess their ability to do a job skillfully in the required time frame. They should turn it down if they estimate it is not feasible. A freelancer’s productivity threshold is a significant personal constraint.

Avoid overloading yourself with work such that every day becomes the final day before the deadline.

You have the right to refuse any assignment a customer assigns you when your calendar is already hectic. But if you do, ensure the customer is aware of and willing to accept any risks.

Lastly, make sure to sustain a work-life balance to rest and stay productive.

3. Negotiation Skills

two people negotiating with each other

Excellent negotiation skills are a significant advantage in freelancing because they allow you to earn even more than a freelancer with more expertise. They include project scope, price and payments, execution schedule, and communications.

Good communication and negotiation skills allow you to increase your earnings and expand your business.

Knowing your worth before negotiations is essential because that is how you will come across as confident and calm to the client, exuding professionalism.

Choosing the right clients is also essential since not all of them can afford your payment rate. Odds of you negotiating a higher rate significantly rise if you do research on your potential client before the negotiation and use it to your advantage.

Understanding their broader goals, previous projects, policy, and the problem in question, allows you to create the best first impression as the expert problem solver and not merely a cheap service with minimal effort.

You can use this to recognize the needs of the client in advance, potentially offer additional services or future cooperation and ensure more revenue. Make sure to present your impeccable portfolio to boost your worth further.

One of the tactics of successful freelancers is to start with a higher rate, so even when it is lowered through negotiation, it is standard for you, while the client believes they got a good deal.

Another example is to differentiate yourself from the competition with the type and quality of services, instead of discounting them.

4. Self Motivation

Motivating yourself and maintaining discipline throughout your freelancing career can be very hard since you have no one overlooking your productivity. You have to learn how to keep away from everyday distractions.

Firstly, you must identify your primary motivator: money, expanding your business, gaining new experience, or something else. This will help you stay disciplined and motivated long term and give you the strength to keep working despite setbacks.

Secondly, sometimes it is challenging to tackle specific projects. They are either simply too dull or too complicated to tackle with pleasure.

The solution is simple – divide the project into several smaller parts and set a goal to complete one of the smaller parts daily.

In time, you will find that you have almost completed the project.

Thirdly, you must differentiate between home and freelance work. A work routine, separate working space, and dressing well when you work are the best things to have.

demonstrating work life balance

Be sure to take periodical breaks. This will help to maintain a healthy work-home balance and be able to end your work day officially. Fourthly, do not forget to exercise, sleep well, especially with a sedentary job, maintain a proper diet and take care of your mental health.

Sticking to these will help you cope with your stress levels and allow you to focus on the positive sides of the job. Lastly, the most successful people in the world have a hard time living without lists.

Writing lists is a habit that can quickly become part of your everyday life. You need some willpower to start with, and you’ll soon begin to wonder how you ever got by without a daily to-do list.

Lists are just plans you would otherwise be mulling over in your head all day – when you write down the tasks on paper, you don’t have to think about them anymore, and you can deal with something else.

And when you cross off the completed tasks from the list one by one, you will feel proud of yourself and get a new impetus.

5. Self Marketing

Every freelancing job requires the right marketing strategy to promote one’s skills. It involves building a personal brand, acquiring customers, and preparing and implementing marketing activities.

With strategic marketing, freelancers achieve that their target customers get to know them in the light they desire. Making yourself seen and stand out in a pool of freelancers offering similar or even the same services is key to success.

The most obvious way is to do a proper job on every project. This gives you good reviews and a higher chance of being considered for a future project.

Another way is creating profiles and engaging in freelance communities such as Fiverr or Upwork, Quora, etc. Also, you must keep yourself up to date on what kind of services clients seek and what is generally going on in your field of work.

Also read: How To Make Money On Fiverr – Make Your First $5 today

Finding your niche in such communities and focusing on it is also possible. Take advantage of free social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, to build your online presence, maximize your exposure and advertise your work.

Politely ask your previous clients for reviews of your work and make them public. You should be visible to your audience – your potential clients. Write periodical posts about your past work and the services you provide.

Make sure to emphasize why you are better than your competition.

Successful freelancers also often have public portfolios, which showcase their best work. Another step in your marketing strategy as a freelancer is to build a website, create a blog or launch a podcast to spread the word about your business.

6. Creativity

Success in a freelancing career demands a certain level of creative thinking. This can vary from writing and programming to problem-solving, making observations, and experimenting.

While some freelancers might be naturally creative, the skill can be learned, developed, and trained.

creativity demonstration

Creativity is the path to incredible innovation, but cultivating creativity in a highly structured environment, such as work, can be challenging.

Techniques that have proved effective time and time again are:

  • Associative thinking – connecting problems, questions, or ideas and examining all components to find a solution
  • Asking questions – what is it that you want to achieve, what tools do you need, and how will the result affect your organization
  • Experiment with ideas – use the freedom to think about all options and try new things, gain unique experiences through trial and error and
  • Find your creative focus – concentrate on the work you enjoy the most and try to perfect it.

Also read: 9 Best List Building Softwares And Tools That Actually Converts

7. Self Learning

Due to a highly dynamic work environment, it is essential to keep learning in a freelancing job. Every freelancer needs to constantly look for ways of self-improvement, learning new skills, and polishing the old ones.

It is essential to keep up to date with your industry’s demands and ensure your future as a freelancer.

Also read: 15 Reasons to Become A Freelancer (How to Do It Right)

Attending conventions, courses, round table discussions, applying for internships, and reading books are a few ways to sharpen this skill.

becoming a self learner

Another way to improve is to accept lower-paying jobs to sharpen your weaker skills and add your work to your portfolio, which should consist of your best work.

Lastly, dealing with criticism. A freelancer who is open to criticism provides himself the ability to examine his flaws closely and do a reality check.

In the freelance industry, mistakes might happen; thus, one must first be willing to accept criticism to grow. While freelancing first appears simple, organizing your work projects requires far more effort than when you are employed in an office.

Being a freelancer entails taking responsibility for all management aspects, including sales, accounting, office management, and customer service.

So, what do you think?

Do you have what it takes to become a successful freelancer?

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