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January 29, 2020

What Does it Take to be a Freelancer?

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Common sense dictates that freelancers should be great at what they choose to do. Freelance designers should be great at design. Freelancer programmers should be great at programming. Freelancer writers should be great at writing. Freelance photographers need to be great at picture-taking. You catch my drift.

However, what most people fail to realize is that every freelancer should also have one particular skill in common.

The Skill that All Freelancers Should Have

A few days ago, I was having a real-world conversation (believe it or not), and somebody asked me this question: would you rather have a person who is easy to talk to and competent work for you, or someone who is hard to talk to yet extremely brilliant?

You might not be surprised to learn that almost everybody opted for the first choice. After all, getting along with somebody is normally deemed as more important than brilliance. So, which skill should everybody have, then? People skills - that's what!

The Importance of People Skills

So, why are people skills so important in the freelance world?

Well, you have to admit it: as freelancers, we are always trying to make a great first impression and are thus always turned in to "interview" mode. We are always showing off our people skills because, simply put, we won't get any jobs otherwise.

Regular employees, on the other hand, only have to go to a single interview and, once hired, will no longer have to think about making another first impression for quite some time. Naturally, it would still be important to get along well with everybody at work, but minor lapses every now and then will almost always be forgiven in these cases.

Anyway, think about: what would you have answered to the question?

If you are anything like the majority of people out there, you will mostly likely agree that brilliance won't outweigh being hard to talk to in the long run. We all know somebody who is brilliant but just isn't worth working with because of how hard he is to talk to. The truth is: most people simply aren't patient enough to deal with somebody like that anymore.

Well, clients in the freelance industry are like that, too. They would rather work with someone who is competent and has great people skills as opposed to someone who is troubled and needs a lot of work in the people department.

Rate Your People Skills

Now, look at yourself - honestly. What are your people skills like right now?

Think about the following: are you a good listener? How polite and considerate are you? Would you consider yourself a team player? Are you honest and open-minded? If you are a bit lacking in these behaviors, your freelance work might be at risk.

If you aren't sure how to rate yourself on this list of questions, ask somebody you trust to give you some honest feedback. Then, make sure you take the required steps to work on the skills that you lack in.

Other Important Skills in Freelancing

Naturally, people skills aren't the only skills you need to focus on in order to succeed as a freelancer. Other skills that would be vital in the world of freelancing include communication skills, diplomacy, integrity, marketing skills, self-discipline and social media skills, to name a few.

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June 8, 2011 - 9:33 pm
You're the one with the brinas here. I'm watching for your posts.
May 10, 2011 - 4:35 pm
I never thought about it but the whole freelance idea is to constantly be putting your best foot forward as you have to interview for every job. In this field you have to do a lot of jobs as its not a long term field. So its best to keep working on your personal skills so its easier to get your foot in the door and get those jobs!
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