National freelancer day is coming and I thought this offered the perfect opportunity to share some insights into freelancing. Here are the five personality traits I believe you need if you are to be a freelancer.
Self Motivation is the key to starting out as a freelancer. Nothing comes to those who share inspirational quotes on their Facebook pages, only to become a couch potato as soon as they return from work. If you want change, you need to go out and grab it, it won’t magically appear. The right opportunity awaits but it needs you to knock on the door. There will be days you don’t feel like it and with no one pulling your strings or holding you accountable, you can just stay in bed or lunch with friends with little repercussions. This won’t build up your profile though, and no one will pay you for sick days. Place your eyes on the prize and don’t stop until it’s well within reach. The rewards will come, you just need to work, work, work.
Strong Work Ethic
The freelancers that succeed are those that go beyond the book. Those who deliver work more quickly than expected, those who offer a little bit more. A lot of my clients tell me it’s hard to find those with a strong work ethic as most want to clock off at five to five and ignore the phone. Of course, once you’ve built up a good client list you can then dictate the days you work but until then, you may have to work the long hours and weekends. It’s worth it in the end.
A Sense of Humour
You need a good sense of humour to be a freelancer as your personality will sell your services. You are the coal face of your own company, there’s no one between you and the client. You’ll also have days when things go wrong, such as a power cut that deletes all you’re working on, or a grumpy client. Maintaining a sense of humour is integral to your success and will ensure you don’t buckle under stress.
Now I’m not the most organised person in the home, but at work I have lists, upon sub-lists upon spreadsheets. It’s needed. Make sure you have a paper accounting book alongside using an app like Quickbooks, as I found out I was entitled to a tax rebate, from Tax Rebate Services once I got my accounts in order. A big page a day diary is best, to keep a record of tasks to do and money that comes in and goes out on every page. This makes it easy to enter your info into an app, and to look back on records, should you need to.
You may start with one or two jobs and wonder why you’d need to keep a record but these soon build up and clients will love you for keeping track of your time too so they can see the value in hiring you.
In business, you need a backbone. It doesn’t matter how meek and mild you are, by the end of your first year as a freelancer you will have grown a second skin that’s impervious to rejection and payment excuses. We all have clients who need a shake up to pay their invoices and every freelancer receives rejection. Now you can use invoicing software like that at Quickbooks for your invoices and you can even send reminders but these won’t deal with the excuses you receive. You need a backbone for this.
An extra tip
If you are thinking of becoming a freelancer, do have a look into the tax refund you may be owed. The lack of finance is the biggest reason why many give up and go back to the usual 9-5. A good tax rebate could ensure you relax a little in those first freelancing months.
About the author: Martina Mercer
Martina is a marketing director and SEO expert with a love of the written word, combining her business skills with her HND in psychology and her creative writing qualifications to deliver results that engage, entertain, retain and influence the consumer at every stage of the journey.
This article was first published by Martina Mercer
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