The Holistic Freelancer

What makes you the freelancer you are? (Hint: it’s NOT what you think it is.)

While it may be tempting to look for a simple, single factor that always leads to freelancing success, the real truth is that all freelance success is due to the sum of many parts.

There’s no single path to freelancing success (and this can be frustrating). As I’ve said before, what works well for one freelancer may totally bomb when another freelancer tries it. That’s because every single freelancer brings something different to the job. Who you are, as a whole, contributes to the freelancer you become.

Holistic means looking at the parts that make up the whole and that’s just what I’ll do in this post. I’ll take a look at the whole freelancer and examine how who you are impacts your freelancing business overall. Here are some of the factors that we freelancers bring with us into our freelancing businesses:


Factor #1. Freelancing Field

What type of freelancer are you?

Your experience as a freelancer will be different, depending upon what type of freelancing you do.

For example, the web is content-hungry. Because of the constant need for content, I’m convinced that freelance writers have an easier time getting repeat business than other freelancers whose clients might only need their services once in a great while.

Also, is your field broad, or are you in a narrow niche? Your answer makes a difference. Being a niche freelancer can be beneficial, but watch out! If your niche is too narrow, you’ll have trouble finding work.

Factor #2. Education

While formal education can help you as a freelancer, it’s not always necessary. At Freelance Folder, we also support those who are self-taught.

Check out these posts to learn more about how to teach yourself about some select fields:

Another aspect of education and learning that impacts who you are as a freelancer is whether you are continuously learning. I definitely recommend that you view learning as a lifelong process.

Factor #3. Past Work Experience

The jobs you’ve held in the past definitely play a part in your present freelancing success.

Oddly enough, you can get skills to take with you into freelancing from nearly any work that you do–not just those jobs in your chosen field.

Check out these real life stories from freelancers with varied backgrounds:

As you can see, your work history plays a big role in who you ultimately become as a freelancer.

Factor #4. Personality

Is there an ideal freelancing personality?

Many, would say “yes.” In fact, the internet is full of courses and ebooks that recommend a “cookie cutter” approach to running your small business. It can be tempting to think that we are all the same with the same personality, needs, and goals. But personally, I don’t think there is just one ideal freelancing personality (although obviously some personality types may struggle with certain aspects of freelancing more than others).

If you really want to freelance, you can adapt it and make it work for you. So, whether you’re naturally shy, outgoing, messy, neat, whatever your personality type–there’s usually a way to make your freelancing fit you.

Factor #5. Values

Another aspect of yourself that you bring into freelancing is your values.

Are you the type of person who takes pride in what they do, or do you like to just do enough to get by? Can you be counted on to meet a deadline, or do you believe deadlines are just guidelines? Do you like people, or find them annoying?

Whatever your values are, they’ll come right along with you into your freelancing business.

Related to values is the question of what drives you (in other words, what is important to you). Are you seeking after life balance? Power? Money?

How you, as an individual freelancer, feel about these questions affects your freelancing business. In the end, that is why your freelancing business will look different from mine, which will look different than Lexi’s freelancing business, which will look different from… Well, you get the picture.

Your Turn

In this post, I attempted to examine the whole freelancer. The key thing is to understand the various aspects of your background and personality and how they affect your freelancing business.

What aspects of yourself have you brought into your freelancing business that are uniquely yours?

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