Today I want to talk to you about traits. I’d like you to read this and take an honest look at yourself. Do you have these traits? Can you develop them?
I’m bringing this to your attention because the result of having these traits are excellence and engagement. Excellence is essential to your success, and engagement is essential to your happiness and satisfaction in your chosen business.
Let’s get started.
The beautiful thing about becoming an online freelancer is that almost anyone can do it. There is literally ‘something for everybody’ out there when it comes to finding a niche and delivering valuable service.
Even better, the demand for online freelancers is increasing…fast.
The reality, though, is that not all online freelancers will be successful. It takes a certain kind of person to embody the discipline, drive, and focus that it takes to build a fruitful business as an online freelancer.
I’ve interviewed some very dynamic, successful women who are making it happen in a variety of ways in different niches. This post will explore some of the mindset and habits these online freelancers share and have called on to launch their businesses to success.
Make use of your interests, skills, and life circumstances to create something amazing
Ask just about any successful freelancer how they got started and they will share a unique story about what led them to the point of pursuing this journey. These stories are a narrative of taking inventory of one’s life circumstances, existing skills, and interests and then making a decision to go for it.
Rose was committed to staying at home with her kids and bringing in extra income so she turned her passion and skill for making cakes in to a very successful cake blog.
Lindsey, who was already working from home, decided to shift gears and set out on her own to become a Pinterest VA so she could be home for her son.
Lori was laid off from work and living in a small town with very few jobs available so she became a full-time scopist.
Vashti called on her background in management and international development, as well as her desire to accompany her husband on his travels for his career, and created a successful business as a virtual assistant.
Cynthia used her background in law enforcement and her desire to stay connected to the legal world, as well as to raise her kids and take care of her farm, to become a successful legal transcriptionist.
And of course my own story… While pursuing my goals in the entertainment industry, I really didn’t want to take the stereotypical route of waitressing. I was always good at grammar and punctuation, and I found the idea of proofreading court transcripts exciting so I started a successful business doing just that.
Pursue your passion and love what you do
Another trait shared by successful freelancers is that they are passionate about what they do.
Rose loved cakes and cake decorating for as long as she could remember. Her advice? “Find your passion and pursue it… You will never find a job you love more than one you’re passionate about.”
Lindsey, the successful Pinterest VA, loves Pinterest.
Lori loves the pursuit of correct spelling and obscure references as a full-time scopist.
Lisa, a successful freelance writer, loves writing and researching.
Kirsten loves “nerding out” on bank reconciliations and being “picky” about categorization as a successful freelance bookkeeper.
Loving what you do can mean the difference between success and failure, and passion is often reflected in the quality of your work.
Invest in yourself and your business
To be a successful freelancer you need to be excellent at what you do. A primary way we do this is by either building or improving upon the skills we have to offer or learning new ones and that means an investment in yourself and ultimately your business.
Many successful freelancers’ businesses have started by taking a course, while other ways of investing in your success may involve investing in resources like a website or the tools you’ll need to deliver your services.
Be willing to learn, and always be learning
No matter what your niche is, change is part of any industry. Successful freelancers are characterized by an on-going willingness to learn in order to provide the best service as well as to remain relevant in their fields.
Vashti’s advice as a successful virtual assistant: “You need to always be willing to learn new skills.”
Be persistent and persevere
Success in any business, but particularly as an online freelancer, is a marathon and not a sprint. You need to be willing to go the distance and withstand the difficult and discouraging times in order to be successful. Those who fail at this venture are the ones that give up.
“Be willing to work long and hard before you see big wins!” encourages Rose… “my love and commitment to my job drive me to keep going even when it’s hard.”
Similarly, Lori, a full-time scopist advises: “If you’re the kind of person who will give up if it’s too hard or just want to be quick about it, don’t bother.”
Be willing to assess, take risks, and adapt
A consistent hallmark of a successful freelancer is the ability to take inventory of one’s current efforts, assess whether they’re producing the desired results, and make changes if necessary. Oftentimes this means taking a risk and a leap of faith in a new direction.
Rose ran a frugal blog for 3 years before deciding to change course and begin her successful cake blog. The decision to step away from something she’d spent 3 years on ultimately resulted in her remarkable success.
Goal-setting is a crucial part of a successful freelance career, and as Lisa encourages, “always be willing to adapt and revisit the goals you set for yourself.”
Being a freelancer means you’re running your own show, which is the appeal for many of us. What this also means, though, is that you need to create your own accountability and deliver quality service in a timely manner. Organization is crucial to achieving this consistently, and ultimately to being successful as a freelancer.
Says Lisa the successful freelance writer: “Once a gig has been landed, a freelancer needs to actually get the work done. Organization goes hand in hand with responsibility in this sense.”
More things to consider…
So far we’ve seen 7 aspects of mindset and habit that are shared consistently by the successful freelancers I’ve interviewed. While these are the “biggies,” there are several other traits and habits shared by these successful online freelancers worth mentioning:
- Learning from others who have “done it” successfully already
- The ability to move past fear
- Excellent communication skills
- Common sense and problem-solving skills
- Good ethics and integrity
- A sense of self-worth
- An attitude of “just do it”… Make a decision, commit, and go for it with all you’ve got.
Many of these traits and habits are inherent to successful freelancers, it’s just who they are. If the desire to succeed is strong enough, though, in many cases these can also be established and nurtured with the right mindset of willingness and persistence. Steadfast determination really can pave the way for the necessary aspects of success to fall in to place.
Which of these traits and habits resonates with you? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about your journey!