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Essential Skills That You'll Need to Thrive as a Freelancer

We’re in for a bumpy ride, economically speaking. Global pandemic notwithstanding, in this 
fast-moving and fast-changing and technologically driven economy, we’re fast learning that no job 
and no business is as secure as we once thought they were. All around us we’re hearing of 
companies unable to cover their operating costs and needing to let their employees go. Even some 
of the biggest and most recognised brands in the world are not immune to the unpredictable and 
volatile nature of the markets these days. As such, more and more of us are turning our thoughts to 
freelancing in order to take our careers and our livelihoods into our own hands. There’s no better way 
to make a living entirely on your own terms and prove to the world that you can succeed. 

Image by Bongkarn Thanakij via Pexels

Yet, while freelancing is an extremely rewarding way to pay for the beautiful things that make life 
worth living while also providing you the flexibility that you need to achieve work / life balance, it’s not 
always easy. If it were, everybody would be doing it. As well as the skills from which you’ll be making 
your living, you’ll also need to learn some new skills that will keep a steady flow of work coming in. 
We’ve already looked at how to score your first freelance gig. Now we’re going to look at the skills 
you’ll need to maintain great relationships with clients and keep yourself in work, whatever twists and 
turns the economy brings...

Pitching skills

Whether you’re doing it in person or online, freelancers need to be able to pitch. Whether you’re a 
copywriter pitching an article to your editor, you’re pitching a product you’ve created to a local retailer, 
or you’re pitching to a business angel or investor you need the same set of skills. 

You need to be able to convey a lot of information in a way that’s concise, easy to remember and 
demonstrates that you know what you’re talking about. Visual aids are absolutely essential for this. 
Consider taking some Powerpoint Training Courses or at the very least taking some time to get to 
know the program and create slides that are chock full of information without being visually busy or 
distracting. Video presentations may take longer to put together, but this is also a great medium to 
communicate a lot of information in a short amount of time. 

Only have a potential client or investor’s ear for a few minutes? You need to master the subtle art of 
the elevator pitch.

Networking skills

Networking is a crucial skill by which freelancers either survive or thrive. Attending networking events 
is a little bit cringey and a little bit awkward, but if you’re serious about making a living as a freelancer 
it’s essential that you learn to do them right. 

First of all, we need to look at what a networking event isn’t. It’s not an opportunity to practice your 
elevator pitch, or to pitch to anyone at all unless they specifically ask you to. They’re an opportunity to 
be your charming and delightful self, meet new people, take home some business cards and make 
contacts which may pay off in the long term. Leave it maybe 24 hours (long enough that you don’t 
come across as overkeen and quickly enough that they remember who you are) before putting in a 
follow up call and talking about any opportunities that there might be for you to work together in the 
foreseeable future.

Learning to organise your communication

When you’re a freelancer, you can never afford to put all your eggs in one basket. You need to be 
making new contacts and lining up new prospective clients even as you ensure that the needs of your 
existing clients are well serviced. This means maintaining open lines of communication at all times 
and scheduling communications with existing clients and new prospects so that you’re never far from 
the minds of people who may need your services, 

Of course, this is part and parcel of...

Time management skills

Managing your time effectively is one of the most important skills a freelancer can have. While it’s 
essential to keep yourself busy, you must also be wary of burning out. Keep set working hours and 
stick to them. Make sure that you know how every working day is going to be spent. Set time aside to 
learn new skills, work on your own blog, maintain your website and build your personal brand. 

Freelancing can be a gift, but it can also be a curse. Master these skills and you’ll enjoy a prosperous 
career on your own terms!

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