The Freelancer Mind
Written by Katelyn Regenscheid, St. Olaf intern
Coworking is the solution for many professionals today: people who work from home, who are starting their own businesses, who need a part time office space, and especially for those who do freelance work. Freelancers are their own type of business professionals: they are independent contractors who sell their services to other businesses for a fee. The culture and mindset of a freelancer is unique compared to other business professionals. So, what qualities do freelancers possess?
Because freelancers work within a specific niche, they are expected to be the best at what they do. They have the opportunity to build their experiences to create a skill set specific to their target market. This means each freelancer is a specialized powerhouse of information.
Regarding the creative facet of freelancing, working with a customer can be a communication nightmare. The freelancer is expected to create physical content for a customer’s vague vision, and some find it difficult to set and meet clear expectations for the project. Freelancers must be able to communicate clearly with the client regarding expectations, deliverable goals, and even payment to ensure professional success.
Unlike more traditional businesses, freelancers are every department wrapped in one person. While this means there is no messy communication across departments, it also means all incoming information must be processed and sorted by a single person, which can be overwhelming. Especially when dealing with multiple clients and projects at once, freelancers must be on the ball at all times.
Since most freelancers are start-ups without an established presence in their industry, networking is key. Without a proper professional network, freelancers would struggle to find clients. In addition, freelancers must also specify their networking efforts to find clients whose needs fit their abilities. Though the networking process may change as a freelancer becomes more established, the principle of the act remains constant.
Even with little experience and few connections, a freelancer must exude confidence to assure their clients of their expertise and abilities. Furthermore, freelancers need confidence in themselves. In a profession where work is not ensured every day, and where marketing your company means marketing yourself, freelancers must believe they are doing what they love, and that they are great at doing it. Imagine if you were interviewing for a new job ever week; you would need a little self-pep talk, too.
Finally, the freelancer needs drive. As an individually-operated business, the freelancer must maintain focus and intention to stay above water. For a freelancer, a bad day at the office means a bad day for the entire business. At the end of the day, we take our hats off to you, freelancers. Your dedication to self-creating a career is inspiring.
For more good reads, check out this blog on what to expect as a freelancer.
And for a quick laugh, this Youtube video explains the biggest frustration of freelancers today.