6 Compulsory Qualities for Potential Freelancers

Fri, Aug 7, 2009

Back 2 Basics, Skills

6 Compulsory Qualities for Potential Freelancers

This article is the first of the ‘Back 2 Basics Weekend‘ article set.

I hear a lot about people who wish to go into freelancing, whether that be part-time or full-time, but you need to seriously sit down and evaluate if you really are suited to becoming a freelancer before you make any kind of decision. There are specific traits that are required, I feel, that you need to have or acquire before you jump into freelancing, and I’m going to go into a bit of detail on what they are – keep in mind, if you don’t possess these traits, it may be a good idea to re-evaluate yourself and consider whether freelancing is actually for you or not.

The Drive to Succeed

This is probably the single most important factor required to develop a successful freelancing career. Without the drive to succeed and passion in what you’re looking to do, you’re not going to do it, or you’re going to do it without putting in 100% effort. Freelancing is becoming harder and harder as businesses dwindle in the recession, so you need to be up for a challenge and some hard work as a freelancer, especially in the beginning when building your foundations.

Necessary Skills

Another important factor which needs to be addressed before you make the leap into freelancing. Freelancers whom charge considerably more for their work compared to the market standard can do so because they are generally more talented and have a higher skill level than the norm. It’s important that you attain the relative level “skill” required to be able to pitch your services with success before you begin. For example, knowing how to code xHTML/CSS is not enough in the coding industry, you need to be able to produce well-structured, semantic, valid xHTML/CSS code in order to score clients.

Good Decision Making

When freelancing you’re going to have to make decisions about your business everyday of your working life. For example, if you come across a client who wants everything under the sun done for next to nothing, you need to be able to identify that in the client, and take steps to make sure that you attract less of those kinds of clients. Good judgment and decision making helps in bundles along your freelancing career.

Security & Business Savvy

Here’s a point that most people fail on. You need to be secure with the thought that you and only you are responsible for your income. The amount and quality of work you produce has a direct correlation with your income, and so everything is on your shoulders. Also, because you’re going to see varying levels of income throughout the year, you need to be savvy with your money and be able to budget properly so you reduce the chances of hitting cashflow issues. It’s also always good to have some savings which you can fall back on. Typically, a good level of savings is enough to last you for 6-9 months without working.

Ability to Adapt

Working as a freelancer is a lot different to the usual 9-5 grind because you’re going to be spending a lot of your time in your home office doing things that you may not have ever needed to do as an employee. This is due to the fact that you’re a one-man business, so marketing, servicing, and support are all your responsibility. You also need to adapt to a new working environment as a freelancer, and learn to discipline yourself enough to produce a good amount of work daily without having someone watching over your shoulder like your manager would in a typical 9-5.


To begin with, business is going to be very slow, and you need to realize this and become proactive in promoting your services at the very beginning. Clients could still be coming in slowly, even months or a year into freelancing, so you need the determination to stick with your marketing campaigns and with producing good work in order to succeed.

These are all traits which I personally feel are required of someone if they wish to traverse the path of freelancing. If you feel that I’ve missed something out, and wish to add to this list, please comment below and let me know.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 42 posts on Freelance Apple.

Taiyab Raja is a web designer and entrepreneur who runs an interesting, captivating freelance blog, designs awesome websites for 6creations.com, and in his spare time owns noobs at Halo.

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6 Responses to “6 Compulsory Qualities for Potential Freelancers”

  1. Nick Says:

    Good list Taiyab.

    I’m currently working two contract jobs, both from home.. One of my main things I had to work on was my “Ability to Adapt”. Working from home has many distractions and doesn’t have that feel of “I HAVE to get this done” like a office atmosphere has. It’s easy get off track or into a mode where you don’t feel like working but it’s just one of the major things that has to be worked through.

  2. Daquan Wright Says:

    Discipline and determination are definitely the most important factors. You need to be aware that building something takes time, especially your reputation. You also need to be aware that you have to WORK when it’s time to work. Being productive is the only way to get something done, whether it be writing for the web or designing for the web or recording audio. There are many distractions, such as surfing the web. If you must force discipline, perhaps you can disconnect your modem while you work on a piece of graphic design. I know many people like to keep all those tabs open and read which sucks up time like night and day, close all irrelevant tabs and simple focus on the task at hand. This is why an in-house job is so good before you decide to freelance. You’ve acquired discipline in finishing work and working with projects within time constraints. Even schooling can give you these principles. Just think about when you have to write a ten page research paper and there are guidelines informing you of how it is to be done.

    I only want to freelance in my spare time but one of the most important things to me is creating a logo in the future so I can brand myself and also work with clients to build a small project base to show. Just take it slowly. All of this is really the same as eating an elephant, one bite at a time.

  3. Pam Says:

    Great article, and Daquan’s comments were also helpful.

    If I decide to freelance seriously, I’ll be a one person office (as opposed to a one man office). Gender neutral language is a friend when writing for an audience that includes more than one gender.

  4. Taiyab Says:

    @Pam: Figure-of-speech my friend :p

  5. Omar Hayat Says:

    It is important to be patient. its key to success in freelancing business. Good Article keep Writing Friend


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