Top 10 Skills to be a Successful Freelancer

by Vincy. Last modified on May 25th, 2022.

The world of PHP freelancing is getting crunched day by day. I have been a PHP freelancer for long. Offlate I am seeing a strong emergence and influx of PHP freelancers. Getting ourselves on top of the game will be a stiff challenge.

With an empire on hand to be ruled you’ve got many hats to wear on the go. So far you might not have given much thought to the various by lines of your previous brass but you can’t be so anymore. This is the point where you need to start wielding things single-handedly.

It’s obvious that you could create an alluring site with your technical expertise but you are expected to be a polymath to take your career ahead. Here is a well-pondered list of traits which would make your business go great guns and become a successful freelancer.

If you are planning to become a freelancer and you are new to this race, then check out my earlier article, on how to become a full-time freelance PHP developer and consultant.

1. Introspection

The foremost trait to be picked up is introspection. In this ever widening field of web based and PHP freelance, you need to be on your toes and update yourself with the knowledge of the tools and techniques that pop out then and there.


At times you will have to unlearn certain tools which might have been of great use to you and learn things again with an open mind. Further, you need to try every relevant stuff and find what works and what doesn’t.

This persistent learning would be the greatest investment to your career. Surf and bookmark trustworthy websites. Subscribe to a few high-quality news feeds.

Build a network of skilled personalities to whom you could share and clarify your thoughts and doubts. Enjoy blogging your knowledge and have fun. More than anything all that counts is your mindset to imbibe this trait and carry it along with ease.

2. Organisation

The next trait that demands importance is the organization, which is nothing but a methodical way of doing things. No matter which field of profession you belong to, you are on course for success if you could stay organized.

With freelance web development, you get to work or numerous tiny projects in a short span of period. Most of the work we get are either a repeat or a customization of a work done earlier. Categorizing files, documents and tools could favor you in many ways. Check your computer desktop now. Do you have it clean?

Just imagine the result of your computer being neatly grouped with all the information that you require. You wouldn’t be wasting any time in searching for a document.

No more chaotic screens to put you off. Organizing in the sense at all level like organize your time. Start from your desk. Such a clarity would certainly increase the quality of your work. Success is indeed a dead cert if you could practice this trait even as you start your career.

3. Wording

Then comes wording. The ability to word your imagination is a trait. As a freelancer, we work across regional boundaries. Right wording starts from communication.

English might be your second language, but it is critical to be a successful freelancer. Most of the time, we use offline communication like Email. The wording is important as it represents you and your work. The same way, the wording is important in the out product you develop.


When testing today’s usability of websites, it is obvious that users tend to stay on board longer with sites that are effectively worded than with the ones rich in graphics.

Words are often the most effective tools to reach links, forward steps and so on. More than icons and images words put forth a clear way to navigate within websites with ease. You need not necessarily be a poet to word your work instead, make sure the clarity in your vision gets reflected on the site that you develop.

4. Creativity

Coming up next is creativity. Freelancing and web development is not just writing HTML, CSS or JavaScript rather it’s about performance and placement.

With the world that we live in getting online right away, the scope of our career seems to be pretty awesome, but for it to be successful we ought to go the extra mile and stay unique.

Always bear in mind that there are a million freelancers out there like you ready to grab every chance. This is where creativity gains weight. Creativity is not a lesson to be learned.

On the other hand, it is an inevitable trait. It is not with what you perform but it is the way you perform that makes the difference. Just think and think of it.

5. Communication

Communication turns out to be the next trait on board. Effective communication in freelance is all about understanding. It’s true that you are an expert in crafting websites, creating fantastic PHP web applications, doing awesome UI and it is also true that the ones who come to you are not so as you, which is why they come to you in the first place.

On the other hand, your clients would certainly be the experts in their respective fields and it is quite obvious that you can’t be so.

If this level of mutual understanding is considered, your communication would certainly be effective. In the field of freelance, you are in a position to convince your boss who is sitting miles across.

The importance you give to learning PHP, Java and whatever your language and tools of choice, the same level of importance should be given to hone your skills on communication. If your pleasing demeanor could pull you more clients, why not try it.

6. Planning

One of the requisite traits that are often neglected is planning. It is indeed common to see creative people waiting patiently for a spark to initiate the start.

In the meantime, if you could read through all the information regarding your client’s business, the competence of his competitors, your client’s expectations and so on, the inspiration that you are waiting would certainly reach you earlier and save a lot of time.


Put all your ideas in a paper as and when they pop up, relate everything and then start working when inspiration hits you. There are no managers but you in the world of freelance. You have to be good at planning your day to day affairs to be a successful freelancer.

7. Prudence

Next, comes prudence. Believed to be a problem solver, you are assigned to make things accessible by developing a website or a PHP web application or a Photoshop design, etc.

If you really wish your work to be outstanding, you got to put your work under scrutiny. Pretend to be a devil’s advocate and examine every part of your work from the points of view of your client, his competitor, the target group and so on.

It is quite natural to get harsh criticisms along the way and this is where your soft skills need to position you stable. I’m sure the end product that gets through this vigorous process of examination would be a massive success.

8. Perceptiveness

Perceptiveness is a trait that could either make or break you in the freelance race. Understanding your client is good but make sure it stays that way.

Being judgemental on the other hand would pull your market value down. Listen to your client’s expectation. They might not be technically sound but still, a simple information from them could trigger your imagination. So never underestimate your clients. After all, at the end of the day, it is for them you work.

9. Transparency

To be transparent on the go is a highly expected trait for a freelancer. More than a PHP developer, you are a team player in the mission that is ahead.

Your client provides you with all the information and you make use of those to deliver him the best product. In this joint-venture that demands mutual understanding, you need to keep your client posted.

Make good use of online tools and keep the client apprised as frequent as possible. Explain why and how you are planning to use the chosen tools. This systematic way of doing things would rapidly widen your client circle.

10. Business Acumen

Finally, it’s your business sense that could take you higher. After all that’s why we do freelance. Making value assessments and balancing costs are the key features of the business.

Reading a business daily will help you get accustomed about those jargons. Think wide and analyze the market before making choices. It’s the bigger picture that has to be thought of at all stages. In short, stay hungry but not foolish.

Just hit the freelance road with these traits and go places.

Written by Vincy, a web developer with 15+ years of experience and a Masters degree in Computer Science. She specializes in building modern, lightweight websites using PHP, JavaScript, React, and related technologies. Phppot helps you in mastering web development through over a decade of publishing quality tutorials.

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