Are you considering switching from your traditional job to working as a freelancer? Great! Having some questions and uncertainties is natural. There is a lot at stake, so you need to stop and think for a second. We collected a list of 8 traits we believe are essential for any freelancer. Read on and see if you possess all them!
1. You don’t mind working from home, or anywhere
Being able to sit in your pajamas and eat cake while working sounds like a dream come true to many. We cannot fight it; it indeed is a great thing. However, you need to ask yourself this: Will you be okay with doing this every single day?
Another scenario for people who do not have an office is working from cafes. many freelancers find it productive to sip coffee and enjoy the buzz. Again, you need to be 100% sure you can stay focused and actually pull it off.
2. You can stay focused in spite of all distractions
Just to be clear, nobody is saying that working from an office guarantees focus. If you find yourself getting your freelance work done from home, imagine all the distractions. In the beginning, you will think it’s easier to be at home because you can get more things done. Well, that’s not 100% true. You need to be focused and not let anything distract you.
Let’s say you want to take a break — in the traditional office, you would get up and grab a cup of coffee, have a chat with a colleague, etc. If you are working from home, you will probably do something around the house, water the plants, watch TV… you get the idea. You can easily fall into a trap and realize you have been “on a break” for longer than you anticipated.
3. You enjoy the dynamic working environment(s)
When we say “dynamic working environment” we don’t refer to every second company that claims to provide you with it. We mean truly dynamic**. As a freelancer you never know where your work will take you.** You may have a client who insists on daily Skype check-ins, another who prefers to write you on Slack for all their questions and a third one who never replies to emails.
The truth is, you probably need to accommodate all of them, which means keeping track of different tasks for each of them. That right there is what we call “a dynamic working environment.” If this doesn’t sound like a potential frustration, you are good to go!
4. You are flexible and full of understanding
Following the same path, you will most likely work with several clients who have different personalities. Soon you will realize you need to find the balance between keeping them satisfied and not losing your mind.
That’s why flexibility and understanding are so important. Just because you prefer to have the calls in the morning and work through your lunchtime, doesn’t mean your client does too. This can get potentially worse if you are located in different time zones. It’s good to remember that sometimes you need to take a step back and put yourself in the client’s shoes.
5. You are strict (to yourself and others)
Taking a step back doesn’t mean you should sacrifice yourself every time just to keep a client happy. Setting expectations is important and communicating them to every client is essential. When you say that you will not respond to emails after 9 pm you are not being a bad person, you just have your boundaries.
Freelancers often try to set boundaries, but not all of them are strict enough to respect them. Will you rush to read the email that came at 10 pm, just because a notification popped up? Take care of yourself. Otherwise, you will drive yourself crazy.
6. You can separate personal life from work
Talking about “driving yourself crazy”, many freelancers get so carried away with work that they jeopardize their social life. It’s really easy to postpone a drink with a friend or a weekend away from the city because you need to work. Remember, there will always be things you need to finish.
A successful freelancer knows how to manage their time correctly. They will define their own working dynamic and stick to it. This way, their work will be done, and they will still have time to do all the things outside of work.
7. You know when it’s time for a break
Freelancers are humans, and humans need to take a break now and then. Just because you don’t have vacation entitlement set by a company, it doesn’t mean you don’t need one. Listen to yourself and recognize when you need a break. Then take it. For real.
Go somewhere and don’t bring your laptop with you. This will keep you away from looking at your emails or “just finishing this before dinner” types of situations. Every client will understand that you are off for some days, as long as you announce it in advance and agree with them.
8. You are ok with taking (thought-through) risks
If you made it until here, you probably said “Yes, this is me!” more than a few times. This last point is worth considering, especially if you currently have a traditional job. Your traditional 9–5 job and a steady income will change drastically when you become a freelancer. You will need to hustle your way into finding new clients and keeping yourself busy.
One risk that you don’t ever have to take is getting paid for your work. Deel is a payment service that ensures you get paid on time for the work that you do. Create a contract and outline the deliverables and corresponding compensation. Deel keeps the client’s money safely in deposit until the job is approved. You can learn more about how Deel works here.