Not only do you need to have some great qualities to be a successful freelancer (see the previous post from this week), but you need a pretty solid skill set behind you too.
And not just any skill set, essential skills that will ensure your success as a freelancer.
Chances are, if you’ve already stepped out into being a freelancer full time, you’ve already got these essential skills down pat, but just in case, let’s take a look at what they are.
If you can’t communicate effectively, you’ll quickly find yourself without clients and without work. You need to be able to listen with open ears to what clients want and need. You need to be able to ask the right questions to get the answers you need and you need to provide very clear explanations around what you need to complete a job.
You should always communicate in a professional manner, making sure to read your emails a few times before hitting ‘send’.
Communication is an essential skill and if you don’t consider this to be a strong suit, then you should check out these resources:
- [Book] Everyone Communicates, Few Connect
- [Course] Everyday Conversations: Making great impressions + connections
#2: Project Management
If you want to keep everything running smoothly, you need to be able to manage all the bits and pieces involved in all the client projects you’ll be working on.
I use a combination of Trello (for content clients) and Freedcamp (for book projects) to manage all the work I’ve got on the books. Without either of these tools, life would start to look very much like feeding time at the zoo…
Learn to manage your projects effectively and you’ll never miss a deadline.
#3: Time Management
Of course, it goes without saying that you need to be able to effectively manage your time. Just like juggling all those projects, you need to make sure that you’re not working crazy hours to get them all done.
Effective time management means having a plan in place for how your day is going to pan out, minimise any distractions, take regular breaks and track your time if you need to split time between clients.
I use a combination of Todoist and the Sunrise Calendar app to manage my time. Every night I look at Todoist and see what’s coming up for the day ahead and then block out times in Sunrise to ensure that I don’t double book myself.
You could use Google Calendar and a simple todo list instead.
#4: Finance/Business Skills
This definitely doesn’t come naturally to me, so I’m guessing it will be the same for you too. Make sure that you figure out what you need to be tracking with regards to your finances and when you need to set yourself up as an LLC or LTD company.
There are lots of things involved, but chatting with your accountant is the first step.
Make sure that you’re at least keeping track of income and expenses and have a way to easily invoice clients and receive money. I use Freshbooks for this and love how easy it is to navigate.
#5: Growth Skills
This is probably the most important skill you need to have once you’ve got the others under control — the ability to grow your business.
To be able to do this, you first need to know what your goals are long-term and which direction you’d like to take your business, then you can decide on the right strategies to grow and expand as needed.
You can grow your business via social media engagement, diversifying your skills or partnering with other companies. The sky is endless when it comes to growth.
Do you have any other skills you’d recommend you’d need to be a success as a freelancer? Share them in the comments below!