Do I Have The 4 QUALITIES of A Successful Freelancer?
In today's ever-changing landscape of modern work, the concept of a traditional job is giving way to the rise of freelancing. This way of working offers flexibility, autonomy, and unique opportunities.
To be a successful freelancer, how well you cultivate your mindset to thrive makes all the difference.
But before I go on, I want to be clear about something. The term, success, is subjective. There is no universal success, no matter how much the voice in your head tells you otherwise. Most of us have grown up in a culture that pummeled us with narratives and visual representations of success, and they look like the following:
Making a lot of money
Living in a perfect house that's decorated beautifully
Owning a nice car that others will envy
Owning a vacation home
Having lots of toys
But mostly, having more stuff than others (the Joneses) 😉
When discussing being a successful freelancer with my clients, we're interested in what success means to them. Their success is about what they want and need from this newfound career. To date, some of their desired outcomes, or "success," include the following:
Supplementing the income they make from their job, pension, or social security
Being able to save more money for a rainy day
Transitioning to a new phase of life
Continuing to use the skills they've accumulated over their career
Wanting those "little extras."
Having the freedom to live where they want
Not having a boss
Staying engaged in the world and being of service to others
The following are core principles of a successful freelancer mindset, emphasizing the importance of a 1. positive attitude, 2. future focus, 3. lifelong learning, and 4. resilience.
1. The Power of a Positive Attitude
This is both an attribute and a skill. It's an attribute because it reflects a person's general outlook and disposition. However, it's also a skill because maintaining a positive attitude requires conscious effort and practice, especially in challenging situations.
Attracting Opportunities: Positivity is infectious, and clients are drawn to freelancers who radiate enthusiasm and confidence. A positive attitude makes interactions more pleasant and makes you more appealing to potential clients. Your upbeat demeanor when writing proposals and working with your clients can distinguish between securing a project and missing out on an opportunity.
Fueling Creativity: A positive mindset fosters an environment for creative thinking. When freelancers approach jobs with an open and optimistic attitude, they're more likely to think creatively and develop innovative solutions that set them apart from the competition.
Enhancing Client Relationships: Clients appreciate freelancers who approach their work with a positive attitude. Being attentive, receptive, and cheerful during client interactions can lead to stronger, more collaborative relationships, ultimately leading to repeat business and referrals. But there's nothing like high-performance delivery to satisfy a client!
2. The Impact of a Future-Focused Approach
This is more of an attribute than a skill. It involves a mindset and approach to work and life, emphasizing long-term planning, adaptability, and an awareness of industry trends.
Setting Clear Goals: A future-focused mindset helps set clear and achievable goals. By envisioning where they want to be in the long term, freelancers can strategically plan their career trajectories and take actionable steps to reach their desired destination.
Continuous Skill Development: Freelancers with a future-focused mindset understand the importance of constant learning and skill development. They proactively seek opportunities to enhance their skill set, staying updated with industry trends and ensuring they remain relevant in a rapidly changing market.
*NOTE — This is my favorite part of freelancing. I've always enjoyed learning, which is why I probably changed careers and always got another certification in something. As a freelancer, I'm always thinking about what I can do to improve my skills because improving skills improves my mind (which, as we get older, is very important) and makes me feel good. I've worked on SEO practices and copywriting and am now on to AI prompting. If you like to learn, then this aspect of freelancing will resonate with you, too!
Adapting to Change: The freelance landscape is everchanging, with regular shifts and new trends occurring. A future-focused mindset enables freelancers to adapt to these changes, whether it's a shift in market demand, emerging technologies, or unique client preferences.
3. The Lifelong Learning Mindset
This is both an attribute and a skill. It's an attribute because it reflects a person's attitude toward learning and personal growth over time. However, it's also a skill because actively seeking learning opportunities and staying updated requires a deliberate effort.
Embracing Curiosity: A lifelong learner is driven by curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Freelancers who adopt this mindset are open to exploring new areas, taking on diverse projects, and continuously seeking ways to expand their expertise.
4. The Resilient Freelancer
Resilience is primarily an attribute. It's the ability to bounce back from setbacks, challenges, and failures. While it's not something you can directly "learn" like a skill, you can develop and enhance your resilience through experience, mindset shifts, and coping strategies.
Bouncing Back: Freelancing, while rewarding, can also come with its share of challenges. A positive attitude equips freelancers with the resilience to bounce back from setbacks. Setbacks can be not getting a job you wrote a proposal for, not hearing back from a client, not meeting your monthly income goal, etc. As in life, practicing gratitude, optimism, and positivity allows us to think calmly and bounce back to navigate our next steps.
*NOTE— I'd be lying if I said that I haven't felt disappointed and nervous during my freelancing career. I always bring myself back to my gratitude practices to remind myself of who I am, where I am, and the power of my skills for others.
Maintaining Focus: Resilient freelancers stay focused on their long-term goals, even in adversity. They understand that temporary setbacks do not define their journey and remain committed to their vision.
Adapting to Change: Change is a constant in freelancing. Resilient freelancers embrace change and view it as a chance to evolve, innovate, and explore new avenues that may lead to unexpected success.
Mastering the freelancer mindset is the cornerstone of a successful freelancing journey. By embodying a positive attitude, adopting a future-focused approach, embracing lifelong learning, and cultivating resilience, freelancers position themselves to not only thrive in the dynamic world of freelancing but also excel in their personal and professional lives.
As you reflect on these four essential elements, ask yourself: Do I embody this mindset? Am I ready to embrace the qualities that define what will make me a successful freelancer?
With these principles, you can set a path toward freelancing success guided by a healthy mindset and purpose.
If you want to learn more about freelancing and how to get going quickly with less trial and error, reach out. I’d love to find out more about the success you want! 🚀
Jeanne 🌺 James