11 signs you’ll make a great freelancer

Thinking of leaving your job to go freelance? Here are 11 signs that you might be able to make a success of working for yourself.

Being your own boss isn’t for everyone. In fact, here at KindredHQ we can spot someone who shouldn’t be freelance a mile off.

But, if you are dreading every Monday morning and you are frustrated with the lack of innovation, motivation and sameness of your working life, there’s a chance that you might be considering working for yourself and wondering if you’ve got what it takes to be successful.

Yes! Yes! That’s me…!

Based on our experience and lots of interviews with independents and freelancers, we know that there are certain characteristics that freelancers share.  If you think that this sounds like you, perhaps you might be ready to take control of your own destiny.

1.     You are a bit of a control freak

If you prefer to develop ideas or projects and nurture them from beginning to end without having to go through the process of getting consensus, and if you don’t feel you need permission at every turn, it’s a sure sign that you’re probably better off working for yourself.

2.     You resent having to do the office hours

To be honest, the idea of forcing people to work 9am to 5pm or more is ridiculous and outmoded.  And yet it still seems to be the only way that employers can keep tabs on their employees.

You will certainly have an amount of flexibility if you go freelance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will work less. It does mean that you can work with your rhythms and norms though, and you gain a couple of hours a day by not commuting.

3.     Your friends and family support you.

Here at KindredHQ we know that working for yourself can sometimes be lonely, and you miss out on the camaraderie of the office. Too often I have seen the subtle pressure that spouses and others have exerted on newbie freelancers, perhaps misplaced.  You can’t underestimate how important this support will be to you as an independent.  If you feel you need to be around people who share your passions, just join in with one of our pop-up coworking groups to meet other people who are working for themselves and can help you.

4.     You are comfortable selling yourself.

Most people I know don’t enjoy networking, but understand that it’s an important part of keeping themselves ‘out there’. Good freelancers manage this well and you need to get good at honing your pitch.

5.     You are a collaborator

You may like working for yourself, but you get the fact that you are better when you open up to collaboration with others.

6.     You pay it forward

You believe in karma and you are happy to help someone else succeed because you know that you will be rewarded in time.

7.     You love what you do.

You may love what you do but find yourself thwarted when you work for someone else. That’s a very good place to start if you want to go freelance, because sometimes you’ll need to draw on your own motivation.

8.     You can set boundaries

You are good at setting out rules which protect your home life and family from the demands of working for yourself especially at the start when you have to do everything for yourself from high level planning to updating your website.  This is easier said than done!

9.     You are comfortable with decision making

You are the boss. When the going gets tough, you can’t shy away from the inevitable.  You need to be able to live with your decisions and accept that you will get it wrong sometimes.

10.  You can live with uncertainty.

It’s the single most frustrating thing about being freelance. You will sometimes have lots of work to do and other times when your pipeline is empty.  Even when you do your best to avoid this, it happens.  To be an effective freelancer you just have to accept this and go with the flow.

11.  You can multi task.

You have to do a bit of everything when you work for yourself. Alongside keeping the business coming in, you also need to multi-task by keeping your finances in order, fixing your laptop when it gives you problems, not to mention getting your clients’ work done.

Does that still sound like you? Then go for it. We’re big fans of the independent life here at KindredHQ and despite all the ups and downs that go with being self employed, we’d still advocate that it’s the best possible way to earn a living.

Let us know how you get on, or share your stories in the comments below.






Who is Alex Butler

Hello, I'm Alex Butler and I founded the KindredHQ community and blog back in 2011 after I re-started a freelance career. I LOVE freelancing and I wouldn't swop the freedom, control and joy of working for myself for anything. But I realised how much I missed the company and energy of other people - of having a team around me. So, I got a few people together one day with our laptops, a jar of coffee and some jelly babies and we sat and worked together one afternoon. We've been doing that every week in London, UK since then! I am still 100% freelance and I like to share the everyday highs and lows of being a freelancer here on the blog.


  1. Marie Milligan Reply →

    You’ve got a great list there Alex, covering the key skills, mindsets and internal/external drivers that most entrepreneurs I’ve ever met, coached or trained personify! I’ve written common values below that your 11 points relate to (in my coaching experience & from using Entrepreneur Scan tool). The values are what the entrepreneur will seek to achieve in their self-employment (even if they need to learn how to give themselves those values, i.e crave freedom but don’t know how to focus to give themselves the freedom…& that’s where a coach steps in!):

    N.B. If anyone is reading this, ask yourself, what value does it represent for you? These are just my suggestions based on experience.
    1. You are a bit of a control freak = Autonomy + Quality
    2. You resent having to do the office hours = Autonomy + Balance + Freedom
    3. Your friends and family support you = Community + Support
    4. You are comfortable selling yourself = Contribution (i.e. to share wisdom)
    5. You are a collaborator = Connection
    6. You pay it forward = Contribution
    7. You love what you do = Passion + Fulfilment + Variety
    8. You can set boundaries = Balance + Focus + Commitment
    9. You are comfortable with decision making = Challenge + Responsibility
    10. You can live with uncertainty = Variety + Flexibility
    11. You can multi task = Challenge + Variety + Responsibility + Learning

    Which values resonate most with you?!


  2. Sarah Browning Reply →

    That’s a relief, those do apply to me! But if you had asked me before I actually starting working freelance, I’m not sure I would have thought they all applied – I’ve definitely learnt a lot about myself over the last few years that I never would have realised when I was someone else’s employee. If even half of these apply, my advice is ‘go for it’!

  3. Nikki Wilson Reply →

    I can tick almost all the boxes with a half tick in some – am just learning the “selling myself” section – it didn’t come naturally at first! It’s difficult though as I do have a part time permanent job which I took after a period of completely doing short contracts – that stream of work that is fully freelance doesn’t yet seem to be coming my way although I’m working hard at it. That said, where I am now as 100 per cent better than 9-5 5 days a week in the same job. I generally never say never but it would have to be a super duper role or my circumstances would need to change substantially so that I had to do it for money reasons for me to go back to that

  4. Sarah Taylor Reply →

    Well I wasn’t expecting to agree with that, but I did. The only thing I would add would be “persistence”. Sometimes a carefully nurtured lead comes to nothing while a casual word leads to a really great assignment. Treat it all the same and keep going. Oh, and being highly organised to keep on top of your taxes.

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