8 Must Have Characteristics on Being a Successful Freelancer (Part 1)

I’ve been working online since 2009, even way before I finished my degree I’ve been working online and making money online already. So, working online for 5 years with several long term and happy SEO clients, and people asking me how come I’d able to stick working online for years and some even ask me if it’s right for them to work online.

In this post, I’d like to somewhat, kind of, answer their questions, questions that you’d probably ask me about my freelancing career for years. Please take note that this is only basing on my years of working online, years of working with different clients from around the globe have helped me create these list of characteristics you might need for your freelancing career – if you’re planning to join the freelancers.

8 Must Have Characteristics on Being a Successful Freelancer Part 1 by Gay Aida Dumaguing Freelance Cebu SEO Specialist


This is what a lot of online employers want for their virtual assistants, especially the general VAs – since the job scope is larger, there are a lot of tasks involves.

So you must have the initiative to do things on your own, and must be independent. If you’re used with a boss that checks on you every now and then, and prefer it that way then this is not for you. You must take that initiative to do what needs to be done, and delivering the service that is required or expected from you.


In a job, you have a job scope, you have a position, and that involves responsibilities. So take notice of where are your boundaries, what is included in your job, and make sure you notice those areas and check it every now and then so your online employer doesn’t have to check again your work to assure you’ve done what’s expected.

Also, there are situations that you’ll need to decide on your own on things, so you must take actions, be responsible, and assess on things.


There are a lot of areas that I’d like to discuss with you here on professionalism. Areas that a lot of first time freelancers have thought wrong, but can be corrected.
  • Accepting Criticism. Don’t tell me that in your entire life you’ve never been criticized, well at work you should accept this though it’s painful, it’s tough but it’s that, that will help you grow as a freelancer, as a person. If it hurts too much, then cry. Then use that to correct everything that needs to be corrected. So yes, accept it!
  • Informing the Client. Keeping the client informed on what’s going on is very important, and a lot of clients give up on their staff because they’re not informed. So, when you’re not able to show up (online, on Skype, unable to reply within 24hrs to the client) do let them know what’s going on. Make sure it’s a good excuse, not an obviously fake excuse, but of course it’s best to tell the truth because it’s just really hard to lie, especially when your boss caught you lying.

Yes, I do tell my clients that I will be offline for a couple of days because I’ll be travelling, taking a vacation. Get a break, getting a life, and they’re totally cool with it because I still deliver what’s expected. And when I'm back from vacation, I am back and providing my SEO service again with fully charged body, with excitement - and that's why I travel. Recharge!


It’s not online communication skills is the problem, though your communication skills is very important. That’s why I started blogging because I want to improve my writing skills, be able to have the client understand more and easier what I’m trying to say, I even mostly watch American TV shows just to be able to know how to tell them things, or know how they say things, so everything will be easy for us.

Communicating to your client itself is really important. Actually, to be honest I don’t email my clients a lot because they’re business owners, they’re busy, and I’m busy marketing their business online. If I’m too busy emailing or updating them, then that means I’m not busy working, I’m doing my work. But anyway, I do update my clients once a month, but there are clients who wish to be updated once a week, or asks me to be online to talk to me about something. What I do? I just reply immediately, as soon as I read it and able to reply, and they like that, well actually they love that.

If they ask me to show up on Skype, I just ask them to give me a time (if possible the Philippine time) so I’d be able to wake up, stay up late, or make an alarm so I’ll be reminded. Unless, they’re sure I’m up on those hours if they’re that familiar with our time here, I can actually show up right away when ask. Unless there are problems or I’m out paying bills or having the grocery.

This is really important, don’t overlook this. Don’t take this for granted, a lot of my clients stick with me because of this.

Read next part!

Photo Credit: AdamR