Over the course of a year, the Freelancer Club will appear in print, exhibitions, industry talks, panels, radio interviews, university lectures and everything else in between. The topics range from The Truth Behind Freelancing to Making Money with Twitter. Time and time again, the number one question we're asked across the board is:


What's the one piece of advice you'd give a freelancer starting out?

The answer? Mindset.

Freelancing is not for everyone. It takes a certain type of individual to make it work, handle the highs and lows, spot opportunity and self motivate. Some people are born with the right mindset whilst others have to work on it. Don't worry if you don't tick all of the boxes below, it's very possible to change your mindset and become in tune to the ways of the freelancer. 


Stereotype alert! Creative minds tend to have 100's of ideas a day, little to no organisational skills and be easily distracted. When reading up on how the creative mind operates one would think we're gnats buzzing around in circles. We do get things done too you know!!! It's true that as humans we tend to get easily distracted and now that we're surrounded by devices, tools, alerts and pop-ups to 'make our lives easier', we're constantly swatting away distractions when it's time to focus. 

One practical solution that doesn't involve downloading yet another App is to declutter. Whilst writing this blog, I have over 12 tabs open in my browser, 3 of them have notifications showing that I've unread Tweets, Facebook messages and new email, the Slack App (WhatsApp for businesses) notifying me of 3 more instant messages I've to tackle and my phone has pinged twice, rang once and chimed to let me know I've a calendar notification to 'write a blog on mindset'. A lesson I've learned the hard way is to shut everything else down when you're working on something that requires concentration. The tweets will unlikely be life changing and you'd be amazed at what can be achieved with 20 minutes of silence. 

Trait #1 - Master the art of self discipline



Not a million miles from the ability to concentrate is organisation. A freelancer's life is so chaotic due to last minute call outs, random jobs and a lack of consistency that structure can often be difficult to implement. This does not mean that your business should be run on the fly. Do you wake up in the morning and think 'what should I do today?'. If you do, it's time to change. 

Set up a calendar (Google Cal or iCal are good) and populate it with tasks to do each week or each month if you're adventurous enough. The trick here is to open that calendar tab every morning until it becomes a habit. Should you have weekly tasks such as 'organise my receipts' then set this task on weekly repeat. You can also set up notifications to remind you (although be careful not to add to the notification overload - see above) and link the calendar to your phone as let's be honest, freelancers do more work on public transport than in the office.

Trait #2 - Develop organisational skills


Spot Opportunity.

This may be the most difficult trait to acquire as it's something quite instinctive but it can be done. The ability to spot an opportunity tends to develop as you grow as a freelancer. When a friend proudly tells you about his new born baby and you reply with "I could shoot some pics if you'd like - mates rates", you've probably got the gift. You may also be a social pariah however. 

Freelancers can spot opportunity in every scenario whether chatting online or shopping in the local market. Ask yourself 'how can I provide my service to this situation?'. The approach is as important as the concept and simply launching into a sales pitch rarely results in much. 

Trait #3 - Learn to hustle, approach and sell like a champ



It's a hard knock life as a freelancer. We're the punching bags of the employment world and constantly interviewing. Many new freelancers who are making the transition from full time employment find it hard to accept the amount of rejection that comes with the territory. It's normal. Unlike a conventional 9 to 5 job, you may 'interview' for a role every day and not hear 'yes' for weeks. 

Separate your business from your emotions when it comes to rejection. Try not to get deflated as your energy is paramount for this to work. Harness the rejection to push you on. Should you be hearing no a lot and feel that its hopeless, it may be time to look at why. It's not always because you were too late applying for the job, your latest work isn't quite retouched yet or the person who got the job is probably the employers cousin. Excuses get us nowhere. Look inward and make changes. This may be to do with brand, approach or price. Try to figure out WHY you're hearing no a lot and adjust. 

Trait #4 - Develop a thick skin



What an underrated trait this is and it may be constantly brushed aside as we hear it so much in the context of interviews. "I've excellent communication skills". What does that really mean? You've the ability to talk to another human being? You speak the same language? In the freelance world communication is paramount. From the employers perspective it's starts with your application email, letting them know what they can expect from the job, replying to a question quickly or letting them know if there's a problem. 

How you communicate is as important as when you communicate. Be professional, avoid business jargon, be clear and precise. Set up ways to communicate with the employer such as email, text or calls. Whatever works for both of you, works - there is no one way when it comes to good communication. 

Trait #5 - Improve your communication skills for freelancing

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