7 Must Have Qualities of a Successful Freelancer

Freelancing can be an empowering and liberating profession or a frustrating foray into your own shoddy work habits. If you are considering switching careers for the freedom that a freelancer has, or are seeking to build your resume through freelance work, or even looking to higher a freelancer in some capacity, there are seven very important qualities that you should look for.

Work Ethic

When no one is looking, do you still work as hard? It may sound amazing – a job where you are your own boss. The only rules you have to follow are deadlines. This is the allure of freelance work. However, it can quickly become a freelancer’s downfall. Poor time management skills and a lackluster work ethic will corrode the quality of your work. Thus making the dream job a nightmare.

It is easy to imagine oneself doing the hard work, much harder to actually do it. Not every job will fill you with excitement, you need to have the drive to overcome daily obstacles and meet your goals.


Similar to work ethic, drive is a key facet of quality freelance work. The drive to meet your goals is essential. This means goals both big and small. The day-to-day goals of finishing or starting a project as well as the long-term financial goals you may have set for yourself. Staying driven will help keep you on the top of your profession, searching for more opportunities.


Confidence will help you sell yourself. That is what is really essential here. It will influence the quality and frequency of your work. The confident freelancer speaks comfortably about their skills and experience. Employers will naturally have more faith in the confident freelancer than someone equally as skilled but unable to speak freely about it. It helps to have some experience in sales, but one can also learn a lot from salesmanship books.


A skilled freelancer chooses the variety of freelance work over the monotony of a single employer. That is because freelancers are inherently curious about the world, the way things are and the way they could be. Curiosity is an important attribute, as it will allow for a wider variety of projects and work to interest you.


Whatever talent or skill you are offering, if it is not a genuine passion, you will have a hard time sitting down and getting to and through the work. Not all freelance gigs are equal. You will have the tedious tasks haunt you no matter what your profession. And simple passion for something will not translate into paychecks. The trick of successful freelancing is to find where your passion converges with a need in the economy. No matter how small that may seem, start there, passionately, and work outwards.

Be a Good Listener

Freelance work draws people in with the idea of not having a boss. This is only true to an extent. You do have a boss, they just change often. The client has certain desires and expectations, hence them hiring you. It is important to hear what they are saying and to do as they ask, not as you think best. Unless you are being paid for consulting work, your boss is the client you take on. Being a good listener will help you be a good freelancer, because you will be doing the job right the first time around.


Freelance work can be hard to find. It can be impossible to find if you prove unreliable. Reliability is the building block of your freelance career. Get a job, be professional and submit quality work in a timely fashion and you will get another job. Whether it is through the same employer or another via word of mouth, a reliable freelancer will grow a reputation and a following of employers willing to support you.

If you are headed into the freelance world, make sure you have these seven qualities before diving headfirst. If you are looking to hire a freelancer, may these attributes helpfully guide your decisions.

This post was also published on Linkedin here.