Skills needed to become a freelancer
Not everyone can take to freelancing like a duck to water. There's more to it than going solo. Think about it as a recipe. Which like any other requires ingredients in the right proportion. So, what constitutes of an up-and-running freelancing career? While ‘each to their own’ holds true, there are some base skills that you need to cover and cannot do without.
• The ‘keep calm and carry on’ skill: If there were a dictionary for freelancers, patience would be word it would begin with. You cannot hope to be part of the trade if you aren’t patient. To begin with, there’s no guarantee of work coming your way regularly. You’ve to knock on every door where opportunity resides and hope that it opens to let you in. Plus, you’ll have to deal with people of all kinds – inconsiderate clients, lazy co-workers, greedy middlemen – and you can’t lose it with anyone. Or you’ll dent your future prospects. So, if you wish to take a long ride aboard the freelancing express, be prepared to keep calm and carry on.
• The ‘what’s in it for me’ skill: Not a good negotiator? You’ll end up making a loss on majority of your contracts. You have to learn to put a price on your abilities that, according to you, is only fair. You’ve toiled hard to earn your knowledge and deserve to be compensated well for it. Those who hire your services will do it with the notion always that the cost is inflated. And the term of the project shouldn’t warrant as much as you quote. You’ve got to sit across the table with them and work out the fee that does justice to both your talent and their budget. Negotiation should be second nature to you if you want to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
• The ‘loved by all’ skill: Build your interpersonal repertoire to a level that you become the People’s Champion. Your way of communication should make you the one who’s call never goes unanswered. Any approach from you should be answered in the affirmative every time, whoever it may be intended to. Also, the HR. skill is rated highly by clients and it’ll add weightage to your CV. Being a well-networked freelancer, you’ll be able to navigate through difficult assignments like a breeze. Even fellow freelancers may look up to you to bail them out of a tight spot. Overall, you need to become someone that the entire community would love to work with, if given a chance.
• The ‘field’ skill: The most important aptitude of the lot is your acquired knowledge. There’s no thinking about going freelance until you have what it takes. Your field skills are the assurance clients need to entrust you with jobs. Of course, you’ll get better at it with experience and need to keep upgrading your know-how periodically to keep up with changing times. It’s all part of the job.
The bottom line is - your qualification is primary. While other skills are all supplementary bonuses. There are skills of the trade that’ll you’ll have but others won’t. Which is for you to discover over time. However, these are traits you need to polish to get started with freelancing.
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