Career Advice

7 Types of Skills Every Freelancer Needs to Succeed

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Remote work has exploded, opening up new avenues to make a decent living online, working from anywhere and for yourself rather than an employer.

Turning your side gig passion into sustainable income is a dream come true. But before you put in your two-week notice, let’s explore the skills you’ll need to successfully side-hustle your way into a new and exciting freelance career.

1. Industry Skills

First, you need to know how to do something and do it very well. You’ll be competing against businesses that have more people and resources than you do, so your skills must be on-point. This will help you generate the social media buzz, referrals, and 5-star reviews critical for growing your freelance empire.

But don’t let this scare you. You’re never one to back away from a challenge. Focus on mastering these skills by learning everything you can online, plus applying those skills in real life to grow your abilities.

Identify any skill gaps you may have developed while working in one industry area and work to round out your abilities.

Suggested Reading: Invaluable Advice for Launching a Freelance Career

2. Client Management Skills

Depending on your previous role, you may or may not have been customer-facing. You just did the work, and someone else managed customer expectations, questions, complaints, and acquisitions.

As a freelancer, you’ll be working with clients/customers directly. If your impulse is to get angry when someone criticizes your work, you’ll find this a tough transition to make.

Remote work has exploded, opening up new avenues to make a decent living online, working from anywhere & for yourself rather than an employer. Turning your side gig passion into sustainable income is a dream come true. Let's explore the skills you'll need.Click To Tweet

As a freelancer, you’ll need to work on skills like:

  • Attracting the right clients
  • Building trust and rapport with clients
  • Responding to messages within a reasonable amount of time.
  • De-escalating tense customer interactions
  • Learning from criticism
  • Letting criticism go, so it doesn’t drag you down

3. Business Skills

Freelancing is a business. You’re your own business now. The IRS sees you this way. Successful freelancers see themselves in this manner. And you can’t outsource everything, freelance bookkeeper included.

Learn how to do it yourself. This may include:

  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Networking and Collaboration
  • Project Management
  • Negotiations
  • Analytics

You could, of course, learn all of this through trial and error, but that amounts to lost time you could be making money. So it’s best to buckle down and learn these skills in the fastest and most efficient way you can.

You might consider exploring online Masters programs or taking free classes online. But between the two, getting a Masters degree is more likely to help you build trust with clients and grow your business.

4. Time Management Skills

Now, you may get distracted at work because you don’t love what you do. But you must evaluate this about yourself.

Can you get work done efficiently when no one is telling you to get back to work? Can you plan your day out and stay productive not only to meet deadlines but also to maximize your money-making potential?

Time is a curious illusion. We can get lost by scrolling through social media, watching YouTube videos, playing with your pet, or even doing busywork that doesn’t help you achieve your freelance goals.

To master time management, set clear goals for yourself, determine daily objectives that work toward those goals, and plan out your day to achieve them.

Kick procrastination to the curb by keeping a task calendar if your freelance job requires you to manage many smaller tasks and deadlines. Then set reminders on your phone to keep yourself on track.

5. Personal Brand-Building Skills

As already mentioned, you’re doing it all now. You don’t have a marketing team building your brand, demonstrating your value proposition, or helping you differentiate in a busy market.

You need to be able to do all of this. And as a self-contained business, the brand you’re building is YOU.

6. How to Evaluate and Act on a Decision

You’ll need to make a lot of decisions as a freelancer. The first one is choosing if and when to go freelance.

But after that, you need to decide who your ideal customers are, where to find them, and how to grow your business.

You need to competently and confidently make these decisions, and going with your gut will only get you so far.

Practice weighing the pros and cons, researching possibilities, and making data-driven decisions before you leap.

7. Growth Mentality Skills

Successful freelancers have a growth mindset. They don’t see failure. They see learning experiences and squeeze every bit of learning they can out of the bumps and hurdles of being a freelancer.

Because of it, they keep on growing and become stronger freelancers every day.

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