One of the key parts of a freelancer’s tool kit is their soft-skills as they can help you to navigate the freelance world safely, collaborate with others and hold onto clients for a long time. Since these social skills have a tendency to degrade over time, the recent pandemic lockdowns have left a lot of us trying to remember how to interact with others again. While you don't need to be a master conversationalist or an organisational guru, there are certain soft-skills that every freelancer should have in their repertoire.


When you’re running your own business, there’s nothing more important than healthy communication. You’re likely dealing with a wide range of clients and collaborators every single day, so being able to communicate openly and clearly is crucial for getting important projects done, especially when dealing with multiple clients.

The initial conversations with a client are fundamental for a good working relationship.You want to find people that you work well with, so make sure to plainly state your expectations and ask the right questions so you have all the key details at the outset. This way you’ll be able to complete every project well ahead of the deadline and to a standard you can be proud of. 

When you can, try to direct your questions to the person with the correct authority and accountability to make decisions as this can minimise the back and forth, allowing you to get on with being creative. However, this is not always possible thanks to the wonders of bureaucracy, so try not to worry too much if it takes several emails to get the information you need.


Every industry has different standards of professionalism, even within the creative sector, so it’s critical that you learn the ones expected in your chosen profession. Even so, a certain level of professionalism is universal. You’ll always need to turn up to jobs on time, meet deadlines and deliver on your promises to clients. It’s generally also assumed that you’ll dress appropriately for each situation, maintain your equipment and use good manners. Professionalism breeds trust and strengthens the relationship you have with your clients.

This professionalism can be also invaluable when handling negative feedback from your clients. Sometimes it’s better to let the client have their way than expend a lot of effort arguing for something small. When you pick your battles and learn how to let little things lie, you’ll be able to safely push back on the things that really matter to you in a way the client will understand.


If you don’t have any passion for your ideas, you’ll often find yourself struggling to find any motivation to complete them. The same goes for your business. While you won’t love every single part of your job, it’s important to enjoy the majority of what you do, or you’ll end up having to force yourself to open the laptop every morning.

There are lots of things that can knock your passion and motivation. Late payments, micro-managing clients, or being forced to take jobs outside of your comfort zone in order to pay the bills can often leave you feeling a little deflated and resentful. Every line of work will have its own unique set of challenges for you to deal with and with that, an opportunity to grow.

Take comfort in knowing that you’ll still be able to learn something new from each and every setback, no matter the size. Sometimes you’ll learn even more than when you succeed, so give yourself the freedom you need to experiment and try new things, even if you think you might fail.

If you’re struggling with your passion, focusing your attention on the parts of your work that you do enjoy can help. Maybe you could tweak the services you offer, adjust your working schedule or find more clients with similar goals to help you rediscover your passion.


Organisation isn’t a choice for freelancers. You can quickly get overwhelmed with all the admin if you don’t have a system and before you know it you haven’t left enough time to eat lunch again. Being well-organised is hard to achieve, especially for those of us with uncooperative brains, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to find a set-up that works for you. 

Personally, I struggle with managing my time effectively when I’m juggling a lot of clients so I use a combination of lists, calendars and dry-erase whiteboards to help me stay on top of all my deadlines. I’m a huge fan of colour coding as it allows me to categorise each client visually on my calendar to make sure I don’t spend too much time on one project and neglect the others.

Whether you need help staying on top of late payments, prioritising your time or keeping your workspace clutter-free, there will be countless organisational systems you can try on for size.


Mastering your soft-skills in business will also benefit your personal life, as these people skills will be advantageous for every relationship in your life. Being a good communicator can help you to make new friends and maintain existing relationships, form lasting bonds and help you to interface with the world around you. Being organised in your work life can help you organise your social events better and have more free time, leading to a less stressful life.

While soft-skills are something every freelancer should have, they’re not something everyone has innately and they degrade over time. Practice makes perfect so give yourself the time and space to improve them, they’ll come with time and use. Check out our 'Essential Soft Skills' Masterclass with Vicki Wallis, founder of Freelancing Simplified to learn more about how you can develop your soft skills to generate more repeat business. 

Photographer Credits:
Preview Photo: Andrea Piacquadio
Image 1: Christina Morillo
Image 2: Fauxels
Image 3: Burst
Image 4: Alexander Suhorucov