Traits of Successful Freelancers

If you look at the number of contractors listed in either oDesk or Elance, you will be distraught at the sheer number of freelance competitors you are up against. The feeling is similar to hitting an air pocket while soaring at 35,000 ft.

Be strong. Freelancing is not for the meek. It is for the stout-hearted, with dreams bigger than the Alps and the tenacity of honey badger (rated by the Guinness Book of world records as the most fearless and tenacious animal).

Keep in mind the unfailing 80/20 rule. This means that in any group, only 20% are really good while the rest are just getting by. Keep your nose glued to the 20% and emulate them. They are the guys who are regularly keeping PayPal or AleftPay busy

What is the secret of this 20%? What do they have that the others don't?

Well, there is no secret. It's the same old, and overused, "attitude." According to surveys, successful freelancers, assuming writing and technical skills are the same, have these traits not found in others:

They are prolific writers:

Musicians practice even without a concert; athletes practice even if there is no tournament. For obvious reasons, successful freelance writers write even if they are not working on a project. They write everyday. Practice makes perfect.

As a writer, you must constantly evolve into something better. Set no limit to your writing skill and your interests.

You can only hold that star in your hand if you reach out for it.

They are organized:

A cluttered work environment is a product of a cluttered work habits and cluttered work habits, a product of a cluttered mind. And a cluttered mind will show in your writing.

Where would you have your car fixed, in cluttered garage or in a clean and orderly one?

Orderliness always has a positive effect in the way you do things. It gives you pride in yourself, in your work.

They are reliable and consistent:

A freelancer works for a client, which means your time, your output, your quality are not yours to determine but by others. It matters not how good you think you are. What matters is what your clients think of you.

Long term relationships, and earning potential, are built on trust, not by brilliance. Consider that your foremost objective as a freelancer.

They are professional in their dealings:

Remember the saying, "Be honest even if others are not?" Consider that your mantra as a freelancer.

We all want to deal with people who are professional in their business dealings, don't we? Thus we go to our favorite convenience store, our favorite bar, our favorite gas station, confess to our favorite pastor. So why shouldn't you be professional in dealing with your clients?

They think long term:

Except on very rare cases, successful freelancers attained success by treating each writing assignment as a step in a staircase going upwards.

They are writing for a living, not just to satisfy today's hunger. They write for big bucks by accumulating every penny that comes their way each day

They never stop learning:

Writing is creating something from all the things that happened to you, around you, in you, be they people, events, things, experiences, etc., up until the present.

What makes a successful writer is the constant shifting of the word "present," forward. They just don't stop learning.

There are probably countless freelance writers at present. Only a few are making serious money from their efforts. Let that not be an excuse for you to be one of those who are not.

You may have your own game plan of standing on the same stage successful freelancers are standing on. But if things are not going as you expected, when things get tough and you can't seem to make sense of what you are doing, take stock of yourself and compare yourself against these tried and proven traits. I am sure you will find a lot of answers to your questions.

Joseph Dabon,
I am an online entrepreneur, freelance/ghost writer and blogs about motivational and home based business for women at

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