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What does success look like to a freelancer?

In the traditional workspace, success isn’t hard to define. In fact, it’s often mapped out very clearly by a manager with dot points, rewards and timelines designed to stimulate purpose and determination. The ladder is right there; all the employee needs to do is climb it. 

For freelancers, success is an independently constructed vision. With typical career perks off the table, defining this vision can be a complex, ever-changing task. Once an annual pay rise, a company car, a change in job title and a fancy office space don’t define your career goals, things start to get interesting. 

Here we take a look at what success might look like to you as a freelancer.

Being creatively challenged.

Although the freelance world isn’t limited to graphic designers and artists, most freelancers would declare themselves creative types and agree that being creatively challenged is important when it comes to work. Responding to a brief with dynamic requests and unusual complexities can be overwhelming. Still, the satisfaction of finding a solution is well worth the effort. The chance to apply your old skills to new tasks gets both the creative juices and the work fulfilment flowing.

Holding a list of brands you feel proud of. 

While the typical employment landscape allows us to narrowly focus our skills and passion on one organisation, freelancing offers the opportunity to work on countless brands in a concise space of time. National Geographic. WWF. Patagonia. Ikea. Ben & Jerry’s. All the greatest names dangle in front of you like cherries, offering inspiration and motivation in your chosen freelance field. 

Working on projects that align with your personal values.

It’s no secret that working freelance can be challenging. Tight deadlines, work shortages, and the inability to truly ‘clock off’; are just some of the challenges faced by those of us not locked into a secure, clearly defined full-time work contract. To make it all worthwhile, freelancers tend to seek out work that aligns with their personal values. Perhaps it’s a charitable organisation working on a cause you believe in. Maybe it’s a start-up reaching for the stars in an industry you feel passionate about. There are infinite opportunities to find personally fulfilling projects.

Being referred to by word-of-mouth.

There is no greater freelance compliment than being passed from one client to another by word-of-mouth. Not only does it take the effort out of looking for work. But it also proves your expertise was so well received the client felt confident to recommend you to someone else. 

Paying the bills. 

The lure of freelance life is typically summed up in one word: freedom. On the other end of the spectrum, the downside is widely accepted as financial security, or lack thereof. Even for the freelancer that’s happily settled on these pros and cons, paying the bills is still essential, even if bathing in cash is not. While it may not be a huge factor in the freelance vision of success, making ends meet will become a factor at some point or another. 

Maintaining freedom in your daily routine.

Though the notion of freedom is tightly linked to the freelance lifestyle. Many projects have unrealistic deadlines that can quickly rob flexibility from your daily routine. And find you more frantic than a full-timer on their morning commute. Setting practical working hours and maintaining rituals for self will ensure your daily routine mirrors the vision you have of success. The free-flowing lifestyle you always dreamed of. 

Acquiring new skills. 

With so many freelance projects taking place remotely, the chance to up-skill and learn from others often dwindles. Whether by signing up for an online course or applying for tasks that are a stretch beyond your usual talents, gaining new skills and accepting big challenges will ensure happiness and contribute to your feelings of career success. 

Being approached by clients. 

Most freelancers out there know the pain of scouting for new work all too well. Sending the cold-call introductory e-mail that’s painfully boastful and cloaked in desperation, only to wait around for a response that never arrives. There’s nothing fun about it. Freelance success means looking for work is the rarity rather than the norm, and opportunities present themselves out of the blue on a regular basis. 

Having a shiny, snazzy digital portfolio.

Between the chaos of numerous incredible projects, what we all hope for is a slither of time to catch our breath. Reflect on our work and splice it onto our website for all to see. There really is no greater satisfaction than working on something you feel proud of and having the digital evidence to show for it. 

Find your next project at Work for Impact

Work for Impact is a freelance platform that connects skilled freelancers with socially, environmentally responsible and nonprofit organisations. If you’re interested in discovering exciting new work opportunities, click here.