What does it take to be a successful Freelancer?

What does it take to be a successful Freelancer?

by Sherry Heyl

The freelancing workforce is growing 3x faster than the traditional workforce and kaboompics.com_Working in a bedwithin a few years, freelancers are expected to outnumber traditional workers.

There are many positives to the growth of freelancing. For companies, there is both a cost benefit as well as the benefit of working with experts that have a diverse portfolio of clients which enables to bring them a wealth of experience and knowledge. For workers, there is the flexibility of your schedule, freedom over the work you do, and in many ways job security.

The job security of freelancing is contingent on being a successful freelancer. So I asked a number of people who are dedicated to having a successful freelance career what they think it takes to be successful. Here are a few of their answers.

Continuous Openness to Opportunities by Kevin Howarth, Content Marketing Consultant

For me, it’s a continuous openness to opportunities and prioritizing the search for those opportunities. When I talk to many freelancers (esp. young freelancers) who seem to struggle the most, I usually quickly identify two big weak points: 1) They are unrealistically picky or limited about the work they want to do (or they have a limited perception about the work available to them), 2) No real business development plan or prioritization of that plan when there is no work or little work. When I started out or when I lost a flagship client, my #1 task each day was actively working a Top 20 list of prospects. That activity came first before anything else. I think if freelancers improve those two things, they open up their work horizons, get more leads, and secure more work.

Determination by Amy Winkle, Writer and Voice Artist

I think one of the most important traits is determination. It takes a while to get a freelance business built up, and you need that determination to keep going in spite of the failures and eventually make the business a success.

Choose Your Clients Wisely by David Cohen, Artist and Business Consultant

There are so many “most important “ things that it’s hard to pick but one that I think often gets underrated is choose your clients wisely. You’re trying to steer the car towards where you want to end up. Try not to take too many detours. Clients that are difficult and/or off your focus drain your energy, weaken your resilience and misalign the brand reputation you are striving to build.

Beware of Scope Creep by Debbie Stowers Kerr, Layout and Design Expert

For me, it is beware of scope creep. Drawing the line between helping people without it cutting into time and profits.

Courageous Belief in Yourself by Toby Bloomberg, Social Media, Digital Strategist and Branding Expert

Courageous belief in yourself along with knowing you don’t have all the answers or even know all the questions and can ask for and accept help from others.

Have a Clear Idea of What You Want by Nancy Chopenning,  Business Strategist and Coach

Having a clear idea of what you want your freelance (or any) career to look like. What’s your concept of success? How do you measure it?

Willingness to Work Hard by Julie Kahle, Media and Advertising Specialist

Willingness to work hard behind the scenes in order to make the client shine. Success and praise for the client lead to a great relationship and referrals.

Learn How to Sell Yourself by being Yourself by Traci Sampson, Graphic and Print Designer

Learn how to sell yourself by being yourself. Don’t put on a persona or pretend to be someone you’re not to get a client.

Follow up is also key. Don’t send a quote and then wait for them to reach out. Sometimes it takes a little tenacity to land a client.

Perseverance and Curiosity by Madlen Wilme, Website Designer

Perseverance and curiosity. Endure to ‘not know’, then learn and improve.


And the final word goes to Jason McCullough, WordPress Developer who summed it up with one word. 


Do you have questions about freelancing? Looking for a team of independent professionals to work with?

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I am a sales and marketing consultant, helping business leaders with limited budgets clarify and prioritize where they should spend their sales and marketing budget to obtain the best results. Contact me at sherry@sherryheyl.com

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