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Character Traits of a Freelance Consultant

You need many qualities to be a successful freelance consultant - after all, it requires a lot of hard work and drive to make such a job successful.  So just what are the character traits that will make or break your experience as a freelance consultant?

Delivery-focussed mindset

One thing you will need as a freelance consultant is focus and efficiency. It is best to learn to be efficient early on in the game - especially since your client may well be aware of what she is paying staff members versus what she pays you to get the job done.  There will be many things outside of your control when you are working freelance.  The important thing is that you have the ability to maintain focus and efficiency no matter what is going on around you.  Invest in productivity, project, and time management methodologies to help you stay focused and efficient.

Another thing you need to have as a freelance management consultant is a sense of comfort even when things are out of control or you haven't had a client for a while. Freelancing can be feast or famine sometimes, and you have to be persistent and ride out the dry spells in order to survive. 

Speaking of persistence, you will need lots of it as a freelancer. Aside from having times when you may not have the clients you would like to have, you will be going it alone, without a team. This means that you will have to persist through problems and setbacks you experience as a consultant on your own.

You will also need to be flexible.  There will be times you are at home, alone, doing work, and there will be times when you are working at the offices of various clients.  You need to be ready for either scenario - and you need to be able to have the mindset where this won't bother you.

Business development skills

You also need to be able to devote time to networking and developing your business. Even if you have clients right now, you should still be casting your net out there for the days when a client project ends, a client can no longer afford to keep you on, or you find you have an opening. This needs to be a consistent effort, over time.

You also need to be able to look at things for the long-term. Where do you want your business to be?  Can you overlook the small things with a client in favor of the long-term?  Can you keep in touch, even after a project has been completed?  You will need to - especially since you are representing yourself instead of a company.

Finally, you should understand that not all projects you will work on will be exciting or like the ones that you would have worked on at a consultancy. You may not have the capacity to take on large projects, or you may be limited in the scope and type of projects you work on due to your available resources.

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