What Future-proof Skills Should Freelancers Have?

Freelancing is a wild concept.

It allows individuals to generate income separate from a salaried position.

What Future-proof Skills Should Freelancers Have?

Freelancing requires a fascinating balance between consistency and innovation.

This can be a great way to earn a little extra spending money.

For those who are ambitious and motivated, it can also be a full-time career alternative.

Rather than landing a steady job with a salary, regular paychecks, and perks, permanent freelancers opt to fend for themselves in a feast or famine lifestyle.

They manage fluctuating income, report their own earnings, do their own taxes, and generally operate as a business owner.

If you’re considering embracing freelancing for the long term, here are some critical skills you’re going to want to work on to keep your independent work-life flowing steadily over time.

Make Sure You’re in the Right Line of Work

Freelancing requires a fascinating balance between consistency and innovation.

As a freelancer, you should never be afraid to try something new. After all, no one said you have to remain married to one particular freelancing skill.

There are plenty of high-paying freelance jobs out there. Consider if the line of work that you’re in is good for the long haul. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are you happy doing your current work?
  • Are you efficient and gifted in this area of work?
  • Do you have other interests that you can test?

Permanent freelancing requires both short- and long-term strategies. Stay focused on what’s working to pay the bills this month.

At the same time, consider if you want to be doing this same activity two, five, or even ten years from now.

Cover the Money Stuff

Ah, money, money, money.

You need it to live, but you don’t want it to control your life.

Freelancing is famous for its “feast or famine” vibe — which happens to be a very financially controlling lifestyle.

If you’re going to go long-term with your freelancing, you may want to work on some ways to take the edge off of the money stress.

For instance, start by ensuring that you have basic things in place, such as:

From there, consider how you can improve.

One example could be establishing a budget that is below your annual income. That way you can create a “buffer” of income in your business account for when things are lean.

If you’re really serious about the long-term perspective of freelancing, you can even go back to school to get a degree in accounting.

This can add an edge to your financial capabilities as you run your business.

Hone Your Business Skills

Along with finances, you also want to ensure that you’re working on your entrepreneurial and administrative skills. This includes things like:

  • Networking
  • Negotiating
  • Planning and forecasting
  • Managing time

No matter how good you are at your particular craft, if you can’t back that up with business savvy, you can’t make it as a freelancer. Make sure your business skills are on point.

Work on Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking

We’ve already addressed logistical elements like finances and administrative concerns. But there’s more to consider. Three of the most important skills you can develop to future-proof your career are:

  • Communication: The ability to communicate promptly, decisively, and respectfully is both rare and a requisite aspect of professional success.
  • Creativity: As your own boss, it’s up to you to find ways to keep that creativity flowing when it’s needed.
  • Critical Thinking: Just because things are working doesn’t mean you should sit around waiting for them to fall apart; instead, exercise critical thinking to always be improving your operation.

These three skills are essential from the recent LinkedIn report for essential skills freelancers need.

As a freelancer, you run your own business. This means it’s up to you to maintain the forward momentum. This cannot be done without clear communication, consistent creativity, and fearless critical thinking.

Embrace a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a popular term in corporate America.

The need to always be improving is a clear aspect of survival in the business world.

It’s also something that freelancers need to embrace wholeheartedly.

The ability to adapt and develop along with the times is essential for success. Without a steady focus on continual learning, freelancers can quickly be left behind.

Even if you’ve found your ideal freelance niche and you’re happy as a clam to be doing what you’re doing, don’t stop growing. Always be looking for how you can be better.

Setting Yourself Up for Permanent Success

As a freelancer, nothing is certain. However, if you can develop the right skills, you can introduce a solid degree of dependability to your professional pursuits.

So consider the areas where you need to sharpen your future-proof freelancing skills.

Are you in the right line of work?

Do you have solid financial and administrative skills? Are you good at communication, creativity, and critical thinking?

Are you ready to always be growing?

If you can master skills like these, you can give yourself the best possible shot at long-term success.

Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.

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