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Essential Skills for Freelancers

Updated on June 9, 2014

As a Freelancer certain set of skills are essential for you to attain success. Apart from the skills that make you a Freelancer, certain skills for the purpose of acquiring business, maintaining rapport, building a market presence, and public relations will enable you to maintain your strong hold in the market. Also certain organizational skills are needed in order to maintain efficiency. These skills can be learnt from various resources like books and the internet along with applying them in real life circumstances will help you hone them.
So lets take a broad look on the skills that will help you evolve as a Freelancer.


1. Marketing & Sales

As Freelancer you need to market yourself in order to sell your services, if you can't do so it will hinder your growth as a Freelancer. Also hiring a marketing agency might not be a feasible option for you, developing the basic marketing & sales skills is of utmost importance.
In order to market yourself as a Freelancer, basic marketing methodologies like market research, conducting keyword research, writing basic marketing copy for your website, writing pitch letters, putting together an alluring portfolio, designing effective business cards, asking for referrals from clients and colleagues and even a simple marketing strategy will help you to sky rocket your business as a Freelancer.


2. Accounting & Book Keeping

This should be a foremost task for every Freelancer, as keeping a record of your financial transactions will help you to keep a track of your finances. Hiring an accountant to file taxes is the best idea, although maintaining your finance on your own will help you to track your income and expenses accurately. Reviewing your books should be an quarterly event.

Some book keeping and accounting skills that you might want to learn might include designing a book keeping format for yourself on your computer, coming up with your own invoicing and accounts receivable system, and working with accounting software or online services. Learning Microsoft excel, is the best idea to maintain a track of your finances and also to generate invoices.


3. Public Relations

This one is often overlooked, but a basic understanding of Public Relations and Reputation Management is an indespensible skill for Freelancers. That's because a freelance business is usually built around a personal brand or you as a brand.

Basic PR skills include, how to interact with a community. How to handle rejection and criticism without going off the deep end. Not everyone will love your work, especially the first time around. Good PR as a Freelancer also means you have to set guidelines on professional ethics for yourself and sticking to them. PR-related activities also include professional networking, build and maintain relationships, networking via media outlets.


4. Organizational Skills

Being organized as a Freelancer will help you keep a track of everything be it work, clients, payments or meeting. De-cluttering your desk should be the first task that you undertake every day. Making a list of all the task that you need to complete before the day ends, scheduling all the meetings for the coming week should be a regular practise.

Organizational skills will help you keep a track of your finances and your hourly rates to exactly know what to charge for a project. Those who track expenses never over pay on their taxes. Disorganization costs time and money and is a sign of an amateur.

These are not the only skills, that you as a Freelancer should keep in their arsenal. These are some of the foundation skills allowing you to build form and improve your Freelance business. These skills will ensure a progression in you career as a Freelancer. The set of skills mentioned above can be acquired through reading or watching videos over the internet. Make a list of all your strong points and weak points, that will help you to differentiate between the skills that you need to acquire or to develop on, applying these skills in your daily life will ensure a constant upgradation. It is not necessary to be highly skilled in all of them from the beginning however you would need to master all of them throughout your freelancing career, and the sooner you improve the better the rewards will be.


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