When people think of an entrepreneur, often they conjure up the founder of a newly launched start-up, a veteran business owner or someone running a franchise. This term is such a broad category people tend to forget the area that takes up most of this entrepreneurial category, the freelancer.

Many entrepreneurs have found success as a freelancer providing various services including designing, producing and writing, to name a few. But to build a successful, prolific freelance career, you need more than luck and access to clients online.

Here are five key skills that will go a long way in helping you find success:


1. Market Yourself

You might have amazing design skills, a knack for writing or coveted coding sills, but without a personal marketing strategy, no one will know you are open for business. All proactive freelancers should have a robust online presence consisting of everything from public social media accounts, to a personal website and a digital portfolio. Creating a well-defined personal brand can go a long way towards boosting your professionalism for both current and future clients.

Tools: Social media management applications such as Bump and Pages Manager help keep your online presence organized and up to date. Custom-built websites are always best for showing yourself off in a unique way, but LinkedIn, About.me and the many others popping up enable you to create a professional online presence in minutes.


2. Create A schedule, Goals & Expectations.

Whether you’re working on a last-minute project or have all the time in the world, it is important for freelancers to establish deadlines and manage expectations with clients. Determining what the final product will look like, when it will be delivered and how it will be done helps freelancers stay on track and allows clients to know what they’re getting. Ensure that both sides are clear on these goals and expectations.


3. Record All Your Great Ideas.

Most of the time you will be working on various projects with various times for completion. Keeping track of all of the ideas and inspirations associated with each one can be tough and top-notch organization skills are a must for any freelancer. Allotting time for each project is crucial in the creative process so that your ideas and inspirations for a specific project can be noted in detail. Mixing up themes and styles can be very easy when working on several projects in one day, that is why keeping them separated is important unless your projects hold some similarity.

Tools: The standard for organization tools and apps is Evernote. Hard to find other ones with as many features, as simple of an interface,or is as easy to use as Evernote.


4. Communicate Effectively.

Communication is the most essential part of life that exist. That is what determines our survival and what truly is our compass for navigating through life! It sounds simple and a bit obvious, but effective communication builds a foundation for success. Going the extra mile to stay on top of communication can help eliminate the physical distance between you and your client and put their minds at ease. Being available via email, over phone and on video chat is a must. Screen sharing apps can be helpful for walking clients through more intricate and detailed work from a distance, making your life easier and theirs.

Tools: The “go-to” app for communication is Skype. Its simplicity is unmatched and universally adored. While Skype offers basic screen sharing, dedicated tools such as Join.me are best for power users.


5. Follow up & Build Your Freelance Network.

You’ve finished a project and sent your invoice to the client. This might seem like the end of you and your client’s working relationship, but it’s not. Follow up with the client a few weeks after the project has been delivered, and ask for feedback. If it’s positive, ask for them to recommend your work to others, endorse you on LinkedIn or provide a short testimonial for your website or portfolio. Always keep the relationship in good standings, considering your line of work most of your clients will need your services again.