Freelancing • Entrepreneurship • Remote Work • Productivity

Essential Soft Skills For Successful Freelancing: Top 6 Skills You Need

In her book, The Hard Truth About Soft Skills, Peggy Klaus states, “75 percent of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25 percent on technical knowledge.” There is a lot of truth to this statement. 

Hard skills or technical skills can be taught. However, while you can learn soft skills, it’s not as easy, and you will need them for success. What are the top soft skills every freelancer needs for success? Keep reading as we explore those skills and how to cultivate them. 

1. Communication

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful freelancer-client relationship. When working remotely, clear and concise communication becomes even more crucial.

It’s not just about being able to express your ideas or thoughts. It’s also about actively listening and understanding what your client needs.

Here are some tips that will help you in communication with clients. 

Set Expectations From the Beginning 

One aspect of communication that freelancers often overlook is setting expectations from the beginning. Clearly define project scope, deadlines, deliverables, and other important details before starting a project. This helps avoid misunderstandings and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Be Flexible

Every client has their preferred method of communication – some may prefer emails, while others might prefer video calls or instant messaging platforms. Being flexible means adjusting your communication style to meet their preferences.

Be Professional and Clear

When communicating with clients, always strive for professionalism and clarity in your messages. Use proper grammar and punctuation, be respectful in tone, and make sure you proofread before hitting send. These small details can make a big difference in how you are perceived as a professional freelancer.

Provide Regular Updates

Don’t underestimate the power of regular updates throughout a project’s progress. Keeping clients informed about milestones reached or challenges faced shows transparency and builds trust between parties. Clients appreciate knowing that their projects are progressing smoothly under your care.

2. Time Management

In freelancing, managing your time efficiently can make or break your career. Without proper time management skills, you may find yourself overwhelmed with deadlines and struggling to meet client expectations.

There are several key aspects of time management you need the ability to juggle. 


As a freelancer, you often have multiple projects on your plate at any given time. Identifying which tasks are most important and allocating your resources accordingly is essential. This means setting clear goals, creating schedules and deadlines, and sticking to them.

Being able to estimate how long certain tasks will take also plays a significant role in effective time management. By accurately estimating the time required for each task or project phase, you can better plan your workload and avoid overcommitting yourself.


Keeping track of deadlines, client requirements, and project details can be challenging when juggling multiple clients and projects simultaneously. Utilizing tools such as project management software or digital calendars can help you stay organized and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Be Proactive

Procrastinating leads to last-minute rushes, increased stress levels, and compromised quality of work. Developing strategies such as breaking down tasks into smaller manageable chunks or using techniques like the Pomodoro technique can help overcome procrastination tendencies.

Minimize Distractions

Social media notifications and email pinging constantly contribute to wasted hours if not appropriately managed. A successful freelancer knows how to minimize distractions by creating dedicated workspaces free from interruptions or implementing productivity techniques like blocking out specific times for focused work.

3. Adaptability 

Adapting to new technologies, trends, and client demands is crucial for staying ahead. To be adaptable as a freelancer, you must embrace change and be open-minded.

This means being willing to learn new skills, explore different industries or niches if needed, and adjust your strategies accordingly. Ultimately, adaptability allows freelancers to thrive in an unpredictable landscape by embracing change instead of resisting it.

Seek Feedback

One way to enhance your adaptability is by seeking feedback from clients or colleagues. Actively listen to their suggestions and use them as opportunities for growth. By constantly evaluating and adjusting your work based on feedback, you can ensure that you are meeting the changing needs of your clients.

Keep Up With News and Trends

Keeping up with industry news and trends will help you stay relevant in an ever-changing market. Stay informed about new tools or techniques that could benefit your work or make processes more efficient.

4. Problem-Solving

As a freelancer, you will inevitably encounter challenges and obstacles. Approaching these problems with a proactive and solution-oriented mindset sets the best freelancers apart.

To excel in problem-solving, being resourceful and thinking outside the box is essential. Sometimes, finding solutions requires creativity and innovative thinking. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches or seek advice from others who may have faced similar challenges.

Additionally, effective problem-solving involves breaking down complex issues into smaller, manageable tasks. This allows you to tackle each component individually and make progress towards finding a resolution. It’s also essential to remain calm under pressure and not let setbacks discourage you.

Remember that problem-solving is an ongoing process as a freelancer. The ability to adapt your strategies based on feedback and lessons learned will contribute significantly to your success in overcoming future obstacles.

5. Collaboration

Working independently doesn’t mean you have to work in isolation. Collaborating effectively with clients and other professionals can significantly enhance your success as a freelancer.

Effective collaboration involves active listening, clear communication, and the ability to compromise and find common ground. It’s about working together towards a shared goal, leveraging each other’s strengths, and producing high-quality results.

When collaborating with clients, it’s essential to understand their vision and goals for the project. This requires effective communication from both sides to align expectations right from the start. Regular check-ins and updates ensure that everyone is on track and that any issues or concerns can be addressed promptly.

Remember that collaboration isn’t just about getting things done; it’s also about building relationships. Respect others’ opinions, value their expertise, and give credit where credit is due. A good collaborator knows how to bring out the best in others while maintaining a positive working relationship.

6. Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude is vital for every successful freelancer. It impacts your well-being and influences how clients perceive you and the quality of your work. Here are some key aspects of maintaining a positive attitude:

Embrace Challenges

Rather than seeing obstacles as roadblocks, view them as opportunities to learn and grow. A positive mindset allows you to approach difficulties with resilience and determination.

Maintain Professionalism

Even in challenging situations, it’s important to remain professional and composed. Show respect towards clients, colleagues, and collaborators, regardless of any disagreements or setbacks that may arise.

Practice Gratitude

Appreciating the opportunities you have as a freelancer can help foster positivity. Take time each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for in your work and personal life.

Seek Support

Building a network of like-minded freelancers or mentors can provide invaluable support during highs and lows. Surrounding yourself with individuals who uplift and inspire you can contribute to maintaining a positive mindset.

How to Cultivate Soft Skills You Struggle With

Many people say that soft skills can’t be taught or learned. However, you can improve and develop soft skills you struggle with with practice and education about different techniques. 

Identify Areas for Improvement

Take a moment to reflect on your freelance career and think about the areas where you have faced challenges or received feedback for improvement. This self-awareness will help guide your efforts toward developing those particular soft skills.

Find Learning Opportunities

Look for online courses, workshops, or webinars focused on communication, time management, adaptability, problem-solving, collaboration, or any other skill you wish to develop. Investing time and effort into expanding your knowledge base will pay off in the long run.

Practice Consistently

Developing soft skills requires consistent practice, just like building any other skill set. Find ways to incorporate these skills into your daily routine as a freelancer. For example, if you want to improve your communication skills, make an effort to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues through emails, phone calls, or video conferences regularly.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback plays a crucial role in improving soft skills. Reach out to trusted individuals such as mentors or fellow freelancers who can provide constructive criticism regarding your performance in specific areas of focus. Actively listen and be open-minded when receiving feedback – it’s an invaluable opportunity for growth.

Seek Mentorship 

Another method of developing soft skills is seeking guidance from experienced professionals within your field.

A mentor can offer insights based on their own experiences, provide advice on navigating challenging situations, and even offer hands-on coaching to improve your soft skills. Look for mentors through networking opportunities, online communities, or business events.

Bring Your Top Soft Skills to FreeUp

In today’s competitive freelance market, having the right technical skills is essential, but soft skills truly set successful freelancers apart. These top soft skills are crucial for building solid client relationships and consistently delivering high-quality work.

At FreeUp, we pre-vet our freelancers for skills, attitude, and communication. We understand that soft skills are as critical as technical skills. Are you a top freelancer? 

Apply to join the top 1% of freelancers today. 

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