5 things successful freelancers do

Image:  Marcel Caram

1. Accept criticism gracefully

I'm a Leo, and us Leos straight up suck at taking criticism. Before I got into freelancing, my ego made me believe that al my work was top notch, my clients automatically fell head over heels in love with my deliverable, and that my 💩 didn't stink.

You can't think like that in freelancing.

You have to be open to criticism and feedback, and even more so, you have to accept it gracefully.

After all, this person is paying you for a service. Your service has to match their expectations, plain and simple. If not, they've wasted their resources and you're left standing, arms crossed, ego-flaring, with a client you'll never see again. The more open and accepting I became of criticism, and the less defensive I got, the more improvement I saw in every aspect of my offering.

2. Go where the puck is going

I absolutely cling to this cliché coined by the beloved hockey-player Wayne Gretsky. In fact, I once heard this saying from 3 different random people one time over the course of a week. Spooky. But I woke up and paid attention, and here's what I found:

Going where the puck is going, not where the puck is, is a growth mindset. It's this growth mindset that allows you to look ahead and set goals that'll get you there.

Going where the puck is going means taking the time to think about where you want to go, and setting S.M.A.R.T. goals to get you there. Put your blinders and focus, and you will get there. You will.

3. Invest in their business without fear

I was so hesitant to drop $ into my business when first starting out. Upgrade to Premium and spend $200? Uh, no thank you. It wasn't because I was cheap, but because my reason for not investing in my business wasn't good enough. What if I can't pay it back? What if I don't get enough use out of it? Blah-biddy, blah, blah.

Any "what-ifs" around dropping money on my business were just fear-based thoughts that I got sick of holding me back.

Get a business credit card and invest in your business. Conference? Upgraded plan?

As a freelancer, you can't be a slave to money fears. You simply can't.

If you are, you'll chase money out of your life. Invest in your business without hesitation, there is always an ROI. Always.

4. Listen to their natural rhythms

Freelancers have the unique privilege of being able to build a daily routine from scratch based on what works best for you.

How do you best know what will work best for you? Listen to your body's natural rhythms.

Here's an example.

My boyfriend gets up at 7am every morning and gets home from work at 5pm. I was waking up at 7am with him because I felt that because I worked for myself, I should be waking up early and working late (another fear-based thought.) Otherwise, I wouldn't have enough coming in, I wouldn't be able to pay rent, and my life would disintegrate into turmoil.

After banishing that belief, I started experimenting with ideal times to wake up –– where my daily productivity would be best. I found that sleeping until about 8:00am and then getting to work gave me about 2 hours more productivity each day because I wasn't tired and burnt out by 3pm. I was more alert, productive, and energized.

Bottom line, your body has a natural rhythm that guides your daily productivity. Shut up your negative thoughts about what you think you have to do and listen.

5. Make learning a priority

When you first go into freelancing, there's so much to learn. What should my wage be? What tools do I use? What are others who offer my services doing? These are all great questions, and you should continue to ask questions about anything and everything for as long as you can, and of course, seek answers.

The learning never stops in freelancing, and we have the luxury of a wealth of online information.

Literally, there's so much online that can educate you in areas of your freelancing business that can give you a unique edge. You just have to have that thirst for knowledge, and the drive to get your hands on it.

mikaela delia