8 Characteristics You Need to Be an Outstanding Freelancer

An increasing number of creative people is opting for a freelance career rather than for an ordinary corporate job. The freelance industry is gradually growing. What’s more, it is estimated that in 10 years, freelancers are to comprise the great majority of the U.S. labor force. As many as 50% of millennials are currently in freelancing.

Freelance work appeals to people who desire a greater work-life balance and an opportunity to determine their working hours and schedule. To put it simply, it attracts those who want to control their earnings and future.

However, being a successful freelancer is not as simple as it seems. You need to work very hard to attain a fruitful career. Also, apart from knowledge and skills, you need to possess specific personality traits to succeed. Here are some of them.

Strong Self-Discipline

As a freelancer, chances are that you will have to work every single day. Forget about those days spent relaxing and doing nothing. As you don’t have anyone (a manager or boss) to motivate you when you don’t really feel like working, you will need to motivate and animate yourself. You are on your own now.

When you have to get the work done, you will need to maintain strong self-discipline. Carrying out your duties and significant tasks regularly is essential. You mustn’t fall behind with work as it may lead to missing the deadline, and this is something you definitely don’t want to do. Thus, if you lack self-discipline, you will have a hard time achieving the objectives you’ve set.

Sense of Professionalism

When building a lucrative freelance career, you will have to design a professional-looking website, attractive business cards, an interesting profile on LinkedIn, etc. The point is to persuade your potential clients that you are qualified, knowledgeable, and skillful.

However, it is not only about appearance. You have to treat your clients professionally if you want them to keep cooperating with you. The key point of business is working with experienced professionals.

For example, even though you may be spending an entire day in your pajamas or a nightgown, you must dress accordingly when you are meeting your potential clients. You also need to be punctual, cordial, and behave highly professionally. Since you are the business owner, you have to act as one.

Sense of Reliability

If you make a promise, you are expected to keep it. The same applies to deadlines — whenever you set them, do your best to meet them. Reliability is essential for a successful freelance career. Your clients must be sure that they can rely and depend on you to finish all the assignments on time. Missing deadlines can seriously affect, even ruin, your reputation. Thus, always try hard to stick to your deadlines.

To prevent missing deadlines and falling behind, never set unreasonable objectives. If you know that the job will take longer than the client’s due date, state that clearly. If possible, set a more acceptable deadline. It is much better than hustling to finish the job or missing the deadline.

Sense of Initiative

If you’ve had an ordinary 9–5 job, your boss might have checked up on your progress. Or you might have had managers who made important decisions about the company’s future. However, when you are a freelancer, everything is up to you. It is you who needs to make crucial decisions, expand your business, and take the initiative whenever necessary.

For example, you will need to constantly invent fresh and creative ideas and put them into practice to amaze your (potential) clients. It’s important to know that the point of taking initiative is not just to delight clients. Taking initiative will help you make clever decisions concerning your career and use your resources fully.

Time Management and Organizational Skills

As mentioned above, accomplishing all the work on time is essential for your business. Meeting your deadlines is not only related to reliability but also to proper time management and organization.

For instance, you should never leave your working space or equipment untidy and messy, covered with a pile of documents or other clutter. Your progress will be delayed, and you will eventually start falling behind. What’s more, you might miss or overlook some elements essential for your project because of your bad organization.

Therefore, you should be well-organized both because of your clients and yourself. If, for example, you blog as a way to promote your business but don’t post texts regularly, you might fail to attract more clients. Time management, as well as good organization, are essential for your freelancing to flow smoothly.

Flexibility and Adaptability

When you are in the freelance business, you decide when and how long you are going to work. You may work at weekends then have a couple of weekdays off or have a weekend off. Freelancing allows you the freedom and flexibility to determine your own working hours.

However, you should not be flexible only when it comes to yourself. Always take your clients’ needs into consideration. If they need you to get the work done by your otherwise free day, don’t reject it. If you want to please your current clients, then try to be flexible as much as possible. Satisfied clients will always return to you and even recommend you to others.


Let’s be completely honest — freelancing can be quite challenging sometimes with its ups and downs. There will be extremely harsh days with little or no work. Then there might be some days when you feel like giving up and turning to an ordinary corporate job with a regular income.

For a fruitful freelancing career, you will need a lot of persistence. It is a crucial characteristic that will motivate you to get through those terrible days. Also, it will help you overcome all hardships and return to the top.

Persistence pays off literally as well, in terms of gaining clients and earning money. Never accept rejections; instead, continue pushing with your marketing strategies and offers until you break through.

Sense of Curiosity

When starting off, a great number of freelancers have no idea about the business and how to run it. Creating marketing strategies and boos and account-records keeping is entirely unfamiliar to them. They don’t really have a complete image of everything needed to run a freelance business effortlessly. They simply pick up all the information on the go, thanks to their curiosity and ability to pick up things rather fast.

It is precisely curiosity that drives people into freelancing. Also, it helps them get to know all the tips and tricks required for running a business successfully. To have a fruitful freelance career, you have to constantly work on developing your skills and acquiring new knowledge. Therefore, you should use all the available resources to improve yourself as a freelancer — listen to various podcasts, watch different tutorials, even take internet courses. The hunger for knowledge and curiosity are what will eventually boost your business.

If you have all those characteristics, waste no time. Start your freelance business now!