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7 Competencies That All Freelancers Need



7 Competencies That All Freelancers Need
You may be aware of the 3 distinct challenges that freelancers can expect to encounter: These challenges are often unforeseen by freelancers when they start their independent careers, so being aware of them helps protect aspiring freelancers from being blindsided. That's part of the equation for success, but just being prepared isn't enough.


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Challenges for freelancers

Challenges for freelancers
  • Clearly framing the value they deliver to clients so that their talents are recognized and put to use;
  • Setting a clear direction for themselves in a career that is distinguished by “fuzziness and fog”;
  • Building a diverse web of relationships to provide guidance, support, inspiration, and opportunity;






Anyone entering the freelance world with the notion that they can “plan their work, and work their plan” will face frustration.

The needs of customers, and sometimes events beyond control, will eventually lead freelancers in new directions. Those try to stick to a chosen path  risk falling behind the marketplace. 



Learning Agility

Learning Agility

People who are learning agile are talented at knowing what to do when they don’t know what to do. That pretty much sums up the life of a freelancer. 

They excel at learning from their experiences. They then take those lessons and adapt them to succeed in new situations.



Relationship management

Many are drawn to freelance careers by the opportunities for freedom and being your own boss. But being on your own doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. 

Instead of relying only on yourself, try proactively engaging with others and building a diverse community of relationships. A rich and thriving community can be a source of many things for a freelancer.





Resilient freelancers tackle failure head on

They don’t brush it aside or seek to place blame. They look at it as a necessary  part of the process of being successful. By taking a clear look at their actions and opening themselves up to new insights, they seize negative experiences as an opportunity for growth.




Being a freelancer is essentially one long exercise in risk-taking. 

The decision itself to become a freelancer, especially if you’re coming from a more traditional work background, is a risk: No longer are steady paychecks, designated roles. and corporate goals a part of your day-to-day. 





A big part of being a successful freelancer is being able to effectively sell yourself and what you have to offer.

A key element of selling yourself is projecting authenticity. And big part of being authentic is knowing yourself.



Tolerating ambiguity

Tolerating ambiguity

Successful freelancers accept uncertainty for what it is and try not to waste precious energy fighting it or wishing it away. 

They tune into the compass they carry inside of them and trust their intuition. They also bring others in to help them chart a path. As one freelancer put it.




Where to live

As a freelancer today, you can work from anywhere.
New freelancers like to live in a city where it's easier to network or source new clients. They might like to choose somewhere where their mone...

Personal or Business Banking

Profits from your freelancing career can't simply be added into your personal bank account for the following reasons:

  • Mixing personal and business finances can lead to an impossible task at tax season.
  • You can be personally liable for lawsuits against your business.
  • You'll fail to build business credit.

When you go freelance, open up a business checking account and get a business credit card.

Accounting help

Keeping track of contracts, invoices, overdue payments, and tax can become a burden.

There are several low-cost and free accounting and business management software options to help you stay on top of your finances. During tax season, it may be useful to make use of a professional accountant.

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Becoming a freelance writer

Becoming a freelance writer

There might come a time where you want to quit your traditional desk job and move into freelance writing. If you're going to become a freelance writer, you need to write every day, without gett...

Becoming a freelancer: Invest in yourself

The 2 - 3 months of training is really 4 - 5 months of training.

In this phase, you will write daily, on any platform, to learn how to write and grow your audience. Now is a good time to invest in yourself to help you get better.

Starting freelance writing: Key books to read

If you want to write, you need to read daily.

Suggested books:

  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. This book will help you understand proper sentence structure and grammar.
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott will help you keep yourself motivated and creative.
  • The Dip by Seth Godin will help you understand if you're getting into the right profession and when to quit if you're not in the right place.

Your Future Career Remuneration

Look at the bottom end of the average salaries of the career you are interested in and ask yourself whether you'd be able to survive on that if you got one of those jobs.

Similarly, lo...

Brush Up Your Skills

  • Research What's In Demand. Your first stop should be the boards and company websites that post the jobs you're interested in.
  • Beef Up Your Resume. Don't neglect the experience you already bring to the table. Soft skills you may have learned (management skills, organizational skills, etc) may be a huge benefit, so don't write them off completely. 
  • Go Back to School to pick up those new languages, skills, and techniques required to be competitive in your chosen field. 
  • Build Your Network. Get acquainted not just with the people you want to emulate, but other people who are doing what you do now.

Get Some Experience

  • Use Your Skills for Personal or Pet Projects.
  • Intern or Volunteer.
  • Freelance or Start a Side Gig.