The Qualities of a Successful Thriving Freelancer

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jun 24, 2019

Jun 24, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

36% of the United States workforce were freelancers in 2017 and that number is continuously growing. People like to be their own bosses!

Do you think you could be your own boss and create a name for yourself in this part of the workforce? 

In order to be a successful freelancer, you need to be good at managing yourself as an entrepreneur. That takes a certain type of person!

Check out some of the top entrepreneur characteristics below to see how you can excel as your own boss.

Necessary Entrepreneur Characteristics

In order to become a prosperous entrepreneur, there are certain qualities and skills needed. Without them, it will be painfully difficult to ever be successful.

Excellent Time Management

Time management and organization are some of the most important characteristics of an entrepreneur or freelancer. 

You have to be your own boss and set your own time table. In order to do that, you need to be super organized about the time that you have available.

Clients will have deadlines that you have to hit. If you don't, you lose money, they lose money, and you start to look like a bad professional.

Planning out your day will help you make sure you have enough time to dedicate to projects and you are not overcommitting yourself. Learning to say no to things is an important part of managing time.

Hard Working

Obviously, having to work for yourself is rather difficult. Solo freelancers typically are selling the skills that they have, which may be similar to the skills other people have.

Unless you have an extreme niche that you are working in, you probably are going to be working a lot during the week to get the jobs you need and get paid.

There is client work that you have to do, but you also have to market yourself, take care of loose ends, record-keeping, and anything else that goes along with the freelancing life. It's more than just using your skills and getting money.

It takes hard work to be good at freelancing and if you don't have it in you, you probably aren't going to be able to last that long in this type of work.


Even though you might be working from home or the local coffee shop, you still have to be professional. A client is not going to want to work with someone that simply doesn't care about what they are doing.

If you have a meeting with a client, for instance, you will want to dress the part. Look professional and act professional to gain trust and further work with that client.

In addition to that, always be ethical and fair in your work. Don't plagiarize, don't break the law, and don't try to cut corners. 

Characteristics of professionalism, like timeliness, organization, honesty, and integrity, don't always come up unless you make them obvious.

Showing clients you care about their work is a great way to make them see that you are a good worker.

Ready to Take Initiative

To be a freelancer or an entrepreneur, you have to know when to take charge. You have to be able to take control of a situation and do things without being told.

Not only is this about knowing what you are capable of doing, it is also about asking questions when you don't know. If the client is not clear, you have to be able to ask them what they mean and what you are supposed to do.

If no opportunities have presented themselves, you need to be able to find an opportunity. In the freelance world, people are not going to just hand their business over to you. You have to find it and grab it to make it yours! 

Easily Curious

Curiosity is not always something that is sought after in different lines of work, but it certainly is in freelance work. A healthy curious attitude will help you find more opportunities to work and places to learn.

In order to do well, you have to ask questions. You need to talk to clients and get to know more about what they are doing. Understanding the mission, purpose, and general objective is so important for effective work.

Since you will be working with a variety of businesses, you will have to do this multiple times with multiple people! That's okay, however, as long as you are up to the challenge.

Doing your own research is a great idea as well because you can learn even more information that your contact may not tell you. You can ask questions about what you found online and get a better idea of what they expect of you and your work.


Are you a hard worker with good work habits? Do you do things without being told? Are you able to work on things even if you don't really want to?

If the answer is "no" to any of those questions, a freelance career may not be for you. Not having a boss or supervisor around to tell you what you need to be doing is a big part of being an entrepreneur and working on your own. 

You have all of the responsibility. You are part of the solopreneurs and they have their own challenges in this profession.

There are some people that are great at this naturally and others that have to learn it. Regardless, before you consider doing this type of work, you need to know that you can do it well.

Able to Take Feedback and Help

Sometimes, clients don't like what you send them. They want you to edit or start from scratch. 

When this happens, you have to be able to handle it in a professional way and not take it too personally. After all, it is business! The client deserves to get what they paid for and you deserve to have good quality work out there.

If you need help with an assignment or feel like you don't really know what you are doing, you can always ask for help. Reach out to communities that work with freelancers or even find a mentor to help guide you.

Although you don't work in an office setting, that doesn't mean you can't have work colleagues in your own way.

Become a More Effective Entrepreneur

After reading about some of the entrepreneur characteristics you would need, it may be time for you to take the leap and start in this profession.

The good news is that freelance careers are all over the place right now and getting started is as simple as just doing it. Market yourself and get your work out there so that people know you are looking for gigs.

Check out ways to become a better entrepreneur as you start in the freelancing profession to ensure you are successful with your first few projects.