Top 6 qualities a freelancer should have to make it in the long run [2022 Edition]

With these qualities, you have a good foundation for freelance success for a long time.
Top 6 qualities a freelancer should have to make it in the long run [2022 Edition]

Hero image by Michole Forks

Put your existing skills to good use and earn some money! Whether as your primary income or a side-hustle, freelancing allows you to monetize your talents, whether that’s writing, organizing, or coding. Whatever your passion is, freelance work is a great way to earn money.

If you have a family, freelancing allows you to flex when your kids are sick or to work around a changing schedule. 

Maybe being in an office all day is just not your thing. It allows you to set your own pace, create a healthy work-life balance, and continue to make a profit. You can start freelancing if you already have the skills or plan to learn them through an online learning hub like Hectic Academy.™

But are you cut out to be a freelancer? There are very few guarantees in life, but with these qualities, you’ve got a good foundation for freelance success.

Research skills

Doing research allows you to stay ahead of new developments in your field while ensuring your output is relevant. But, a quick Google search won’t quite cut it. You also need to pick out the best sources and avoid being distracted by irrelevant material or unsubstantiated claims. 

No matter your field of work, research will help you add value to your clients' businesses and ensure that your work gets the attention it deserves. This skill set will also help you grow as a professional. Quality research can help you expand your skill set by learning new methods or approaches.  

You’ll need to set aside time for research, which can be hard because research isn’t a strictly billable deliverable. That means you need the next skill - self-discipline - to work at a foundational task that no one else will check up on you about.

Self-disciplined and self-motivated

As the boss of your schedule and work, you are responsible for keeping yourself motivated. The more valuable content you produce, the more successful you become as a freelancer. Make sure you always deliver high-quality work that meets or exceeds the industry’s standards. Quality work will ensure that clients return to you for their next project. 

You will also need the self-discipline to meet deadlines and keep working until you complete your project. Give every job focus as if it were your only job. Try to maintain an organized schedule so that you don’t waste any time; being productive will help increase your income potential as a freelancer.

It may not happen overnight, but hard work and dedication in this area will pay off.

Good networking skills

A freelancer's network sets them apart from other freelancers. You can network with other freelancers and creatives, either in person or online. This may lead to more clients, but other freelancers will understand your point of view more than anyone else. You can often learn from other’s experiences and find out what has worked for them.

Good networking is the key to success in any business, including freelance business. Get involved in online forums and communities that are in your niche. You can build relationships and establish yourself as an authority by providing quality content on these sites. As a freelancer, you need to be exceptional at communicating with your clients and potential clients. Networking will help you harness your communication skills while providing opportunities and growth. 

Time management

Procrastination and poor planning will hold you back anywhere, but especially in freelancing. To get the most out of the freedom freelancing can offer, you need to be able to confidently set deadlines, know when you will be available to take on more work, and track the time you’ve spent on any given project. Keeping your time organized gives you the foundation to fill your sales pipeline without heading into burnout.

Choose a strategy that works for you. That might be a detailed routine, writing down your boundaries, or studying yourself and your chronotype for when you work the best. Hectic’s calendar puts your whole business in real time. See your ongoing projects, time worked, and even when your next invoice is due so you’re never surprised in your own business.

Since clients’ needs will always change, you must be able to adapt on the fly without letting it stress you out. Managing your time well with margin built in will allow you to flex for emergencies. 


No matter what your judgy cousin Margo thinks, freelancing is a profession. And a growing one at that. Hone your professional skills with your clients and collaborators. Practice being humble and respectful, a good listener, and very efficient in assigned tasks. 

Practice your communications skills. The ability to consistently articulate your thoughts and ideas by speaking concisely and professionally over the phone or face-to-face will serve you and your clients. Even if your brand is edgy, no one wants to read an email with no punctuation or work with someone who consistently misses meetings or deadlines.


Clients will say no to your pitch. Your cold emails will get left unread. But not forever. Freelancers know that a “no” from a client doesn’t mean the business is failing, just that the partnership wasn’t the right fit at the right time. 

The ability to send another pitch deck or offer another blog article gives another client the chance to say yes. Resilience will serve you well throughout your freelance career. 

Go ahead and start your freelancing journey

Freelancing is an excellent option for any person who is happy working as an independent agent, who likes the idea of being their boss, and working from home or anywhere else they want. However, you need to develop the skills articulated above to be successful. So don’t stop learning, be organized, network extensively, be professional, and communicate succinctly to keep growing in your freelancing business.

Share it!
Our team of career freelancers writes about best invoice practices, what makes a great client, and repeats the mantra, "never work without a contract." We're opinionated about the future of work and will always be on the side of freelancers.
More By This Contributor
Getting everything from your brain in one place
Moxie makes all your systems work together seamlessly with better software, education, and community.
hectic app logo