9 Characteristics You Need to Possess to Be a Successful Freelancer

9 Characteristics You Need to Possess to Be a Successful Freelancer

I’ve recently discussed what it’s actually and truly like to be a freelancer. Perhaps after reading it, you think you can handle all the dark truths. But there’s more. In order to determine if you have what it takes to be a freelancer, you need to possess quite a long list of characteristics. If you don’t possess these qualities naturally in real life, you won’t last long in the freelance world.

Check out the list of characteristics below to determine if you have what it takes. And I don’t mean, read this list and check off things you convince yourself you have. I mean, you actually have them. If you don’t, you may not be able to avoid throwing in the towel and heading back to your soul sucking 9-5.


1. You’re confident.

You don’t second guess yourself and you stand strong in your conviction, day in and day out.

2. You’re a hustler.

You’re a very, very hard worker. You like to work and you like to work hard. It doesn’t bother you to work x hours a week (read: 24/7), you’re a go getter and you’re hungry. Very hungry. And this means even getting creative to find other ways to bring in multiple sources of revenue. In my case, I write for Paste Magazine, I have a blog that brings in a small piece of income, I model/act and I’m also a stylist.

3. You’re not afraid of the unknown.

The unknown can be a scary place and often deters people from following their dreams. Because you are confident, you believe in the abilities you possess and therefore even tho you can tell what the future holds, you un not afraid of it. And if you are a freelancer and happen to feel afraid, it lasts for a fleeting moment and then you carry on.


4. You’re a risk taker.

Welp, leaving a steady 9-5 is a huge risk. So, kudos! You’re the type of person that knows you must take risks in order to achieve success.

5. You’re able to live below your means.

You’re willing to cut back on the things you love that cost money, in order to do what you love. Your daily Starbucks latte, a gym membership (you’ll learn to workout outside), and going out to dinner with friends (you’ll eat at home before meeting them). You can forget about shopping (for anything except absolute necessities ie: toilet paper), you won’t take the train but walk instead (if applicable) and you’ll even avoid going into the city to save that $2.75.

You won’t be buying your normal expensive groceries like salmon for filet mignon, you’ll only buy the bare minimum (ie. microwavable dinners and anything that you can freeze). If you do make it out to a dinner, you’ll order the cheapest thing on the menu and you certainly won’t order an alcoholic drink. You ghost your nail lady and you’ll get really good at turning off the lights when you leave rooms…just to name a few.

6. You have strong communication skills.

You’re outgoing, you’re not shy or bashful and you like talking to people. Networking is the most important thing to being a successful freelancer. If this is not you, it will hugely hinder your success.


7. You’re passionate.

You’re obsessed with your passion and it will fuel you to work hard. You get excited to wake up in the morning to work all day long

8. You’re organized.

You know how to manage your time properly. You will be your own bookkeeper, your own accountant, your own CFO, CMO and so on. You will need to stay on top of your expenses by keeping all receipts and then inputting them into an excel sheet. You will need to create your own invoices and will need to bill clients accordingly. Fortunately, there are banks that could help to make transactions between yourself and clients a little easier. For instance, some banks, such as Atlantic Union Bank (https://www.atlanticunionbank.com/business/checking/elite-business-checking/) offer a variety of benefits to help make sure that your money is protected. You will spend lots of time following up with people to ensure you get paid but maybe less time now that New York City just recently passed a law to protect freelancers and ensure timely Net 30 pay. I waited a full year to get paid from one client and there was nothing I could do about it.

9. You have a great group of friends.

Your friends are like family. They are supportive and understand your hustle. Okay, so most people won’t won’t understand your hustle, but they certainly won’t hold it against you. They will understand if they don’t see you for months at a time and maybe you’ll talk less frequently. They don’t try to deter you from living your dream because they’re afraid to live theirs. Need a shoulder to cry on? They will be your support system and they will be there to pick you up when you’re down, but only after they get off at 5pm.

Photographer: Julian Dicampo
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This industry is only built for the tough, the strong willed and the thick skinned.

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