There are many benefits of being self-employed. For example, you’re completely in control of every aspect of your company, and there’s no ceiling for how much you can make.
However, not everyone can handle being self-employed because they don’t possess the right characteristics.
Can you Learn to be a Successful Self-Employed Person?
Absolutely! No one is born with the qualities to be an outstanding leader, communicator, or team player, but you can learn to become better in these areas. Launching and running a business is a big undertaking, and you’ll need to be well-rounded in multiple disciplines to actually succeed.
Working for yourself can be rewarding, but you have to become self-employed for the right reasons. If you go in with the right mindset and accept that the road ahead will be tough, you’re already on the road to your brand new life. But it’ll take more than that to see the finish line.
12 Traits and Skills You’ll Find in the Successful Self-Employed
Besides the hard skills you’ll need to create products or services for your clients, you also need a fair number of personality traits and soft skills, regardless of what industry you’re a part of.
1. A Forward Thinking Mindset
Business owners set short-term and long-term goals and develop a business plan. However, your business goals will likely change the longer you stick around. A forward-thinking mindset ensures that, despite improvisation and iteration, your business sticks to its original objective.
2. Adaptability and Flexibility
When you’re self-employed, you no longer have clearly defined duties or even a single job. By necessity, freelancers have to handle many responsibilities by themselves, and they need to adjust if something doesn’t work or goes wrong. They need to be flexible during their workday.
3. Self-Starter and Self-Motivated
As a business owner, you don’t answer to anyone. You have a sole responsibility to plan your schedule, market your services, and stay true to your current path.
A lack of responsibility could be your downfall, as you’ll need to do what needs to be done to keep your business running.
4. Can Navigate the Tax System
All self-employed individuals need to have a good command of their finances. Freelancers often pay a significant amount of self-employment taxes, as they don’t have an employer who can pay half of their tax burden. You’ll need to save 25% to 35% of your income just for tax purposes.
5. Smart With General Finances
Since self-employment is often risky, especially when you start, you have to have an emergency fund that covers you financially if work is spare. For this reason, create a realistic budget, get business and liability insurance, and eliminate all of your high-interest debt as soon as possible.
6. Educated and Enjoy Learning
You don’t need a college degree to become a successful entrepreneur, but you do need to know what you’re doing. All great self-employed individuals are driven and motivated enough to keep learning and growing, even while they’re juggling their business, family, and social lives.
7. Willing to Take Smart Risks
No business owner is truly ready to take a risk, even if they have all the pieces in front of them. The truth is, no one really knows how their decisions will pan out, but they can weigh the pros and cons of each choice. If you can’t take a calculated risk, it’ll be difficult to stay competitive.
8. Consistency and Perseverance
Self-employed people have to be fully focused and consistent if they want their business to succeed. They have to be willing to perform similar, often tedious tasks every single day. If they’re able to persevere through the boring parts of running a business, they do just fine.
9. Comfortable With Promotion
Freelancers don’t have to be outgoing to promote themselves and their business, but they’ll need to be comfortable with networking and selling. Self-employed business owners need to know a lot of people to find well-paying clients unless they have prior experience in their field.
10. Not Afraid to Make Mistakes
You’re going to make many mistakes, and you’ll come face to face with failure regularly as a self-employed person. There’s a possibility your first, second, or even third business won’t work out, and you need to be okay with that. Remember: you don’t fail unless you stop trying!
11. Are Ready for Long Hours
Working long hours isn’t fun, but it’s a requirement if you’re starting a business by yourself. If you’re keeping your full-time job while you find your footing, you could be pulling 60 to 80-hour weeks. Unfortunately, these hours don’t get much better for a long time, if they ever do.
12. Complete and Total Passion
Entrepreneurs tend to bring enthusiasm and commitment to their work. When you don’t have a lot of money to fall back on, passion is what will drive you as you’re building your business. It’s essential to use your love for what you do to keep going, even when the going gets tough.