Why people skills are a freelancer’s biggest asset

Neil Kokemuller
Neil Kokemuller
March 4, 2018

There is no denying that technical skills are a prerequisite for freelancers, but what about soft skills? In the digital age, a lot of freelancers never stand face-to-face with their clients. Thus, they overlook the role that soft skills play in attracting and retaining key clients.

The following is an overview of primary reasons why people skills are vital to your ability to earn business and retain clients as a freelancer.

Your Clients are People

It may seem obvious, but freelancers sometimes operate as though they work for a virtual being in cyberspace as opposed to a real human. In fact, your clients are real people with real emotions and needs.

Therefore, your ability to connect with people, regardless of distance and communication method is still important. Your clients want to know that they can have confidence in you as a person to satisfy their needs above and beyond delivering technically-sound work.

You are Accountable

Pride, arrogance, and bad attitudes can all get in the way of freelance success. Choosing to utilize your talents to earn income through self-employment suggests confidence. Confidence is a good quality for freelance success.

However, you are also operating a business, and like any other type of business, you need to prioritize a great customer experience. Clients have project specifications and deadlines they need you to meet so they can serve their customers. If you deliver great work but are consistently behind schedule, you are not helping your clients do right by their customers.

If you make an error, own it and correct it. Getting defensive spells trouble because it causes clients to feel that you are unlikely to adjust and that they may be better served by finding a more flexible freelancer.

Trust and Integrity Matter

Accountability is a component of earning trust and integrity, but top freelancers have a broader desire to operate with a client-first approach. You should always treat your clients with the same level of honesty, transparency, and respect that you expect from others.

Freelance integrity includes accurately stating what you can and cannot do, delivering what you promise every time, and doing whatever is necessary to correct any errors on your part.

Communication is Critical

Communication is one of the most impactful soft skills across all industries and careers. People who communicate well routinely achieve more than those who do not. Communication keeps everyone on the same page and moving toward the same objectives.

In the freelance world, you need a system for communicating before, during, and after projects so customers always know what to expect. Uncertainty leads to client frustration and causes you problems in maintaining business.

Stress is Part of the Job

Do not overlook stress management. As a freelancer, you face constant pressure to earn clients, communicate, and perform. Poor stress management impacts your health and your ability to satisfy clients.

A well-defined schedule, strong coping strategies, and intentional relaxation are all components of stress management.


As you can see, there are a lot of soft skills that come into play for freelancers. Possessing these abilities is a big advantage. If you struggle with any of them, focus on self-improvement as a way to optimize your freelance success!


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