What are the eight achievements successful freelancers sustain?

A guest post by Jason Montoya.


What comes to mind when you hear the word? For some, freelancing means financial freedom and flexibility of time. For others, the promise is not quite that simple. For most, this sought freedom seems to be an elusive vision never coming to fruition.

After eighteen months in,

I had faced numerous obstacles preventing my success as a freelancer. By overcoming each one, I learned how to structure my work so that I could not only survive, but flourish on this independent track. It was here when realized eight vital goals that must be conquered and sustained to succeed as a freelancer.

While freelancing can be difficult, it is also rewarding and fulfilling. In 2016, I logged 1,425 paying hours and generated $115k for the year. My average pay was $81/hour.

The best way to make the most of your freelancing career is to better understand what to expect from the journey and how to prepare for it. Clear financial and personal goals give us an advantage and clarity when we move forward as freelancers.

People in a coffee shop learning to be better freelancers.

How I Became A Freelancer

Let me quickly rewind a moment and share how I ended up as a flourishing freelancer. In 2014, I shutdown my marketing company of seven years. Founders and nonprofit leaders immediately sought me out to help them grow their organization. Within a few months there were eight projects on my plate, and I was in the freelancing business! Since it continued going well eight months later, I fully committed to freelancing and put the pedal to the metal. Now, it was about maximizing my potential to achieve my goals.

Eighteen Months In, And I Finally Hit My Stride

The lessons learned from my experiences helped overcome roadblocks and maximize my opportunities. Out of this success, other freelancers asked for my insight to help them do the same. This was the start of what would become the book, Path Of The Freelancer. This actionable guide on how to flourish in freelancing revolves around the following eight goals every independent contractor needs to sustain.

The Eight Vital Achievements Of Freelancing

  • Fully Committed To Freelance

    For some, freelancing isn’t even on the radar because the focus of life is on survival. Others dream about freelancing while others started and abandoned it because the difficulty that comes with it. It is the few who fully commit pushing beyond these difficulties into a life of flourishing. A quick way to test our own commitment is to ask what we will do when paying projects disappear. Will you look for a job or will you seek out the next project?

  • Offerings In A Compelling Package

    A strong freelancing foundation is built around knowing our financial goals, what solutions we offer and how we’ll work with our customers. Once we know these details, we’ll refine them in the publishing and promotion process. It’s hard for people to hire us when they don’t know how we can help them. Can you concisely communicate this when clients ask?

  • Steady Stream Of Paying Clients

    Finding the first client can feel like a difficult task. Tapping into a constant stream can feel impossible and something we can’t do on our own. It is in this achievement where we must find new work consistently while also building a community of advocates to help share the burden. When the rubber meets the road, do you know how to drum up new paying projects?

  • Maximize Active Clients

    The highest impact least effort activity we can do to increase income is by maximizing the paying work we do with our existing clients. Here we build agenda-free relationships, passive income streams, and ongoing client engagements towards a place where we only work with our sweet spot clients. Are you providing the most value possible to your customers?

  • Escape The Roller Coaster

    Feast and famine is the common occurrence for freelancers, especially in the early years. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can build a system that helps us prevent and respond to the financial and emotional ups and downs that come with freelancing. Are you riding the roller coaster or have you made the wise decision to step off?

  • Wise & Precise Financial Management

    We can quickly go from success to failure with a few bad financial decisions. Independent freelancers need to get legit, track what matters, get paid on-time and proactively manage taxes. Do you have the financial visibility to make wise decisions?

  • Unified Personal and Work Lives

    Our work quickly becomes a burden when it’s no longer enjoyable or lacks meaning. When we’re drained from this burden, it affects our health, family and friends. To sustain our vocation over the long haul, we need to easily adapt, communicate with those we care about while also resting and living a healthy life. It’s not easy to bring our personal and professional lives together, but it’s well worth it. Is freelancing driving you towards or away from your values and goals?

  • Share What We’ve Mastered

    Others benefit from us sharing with them, as it is difficult to do it alone. In our journey we glean wisdom from lessons learned. This is valuable insight to share privately and publicly. It is the process of teaching what we’ve mastered that helps us fully understand what we know and why we know it. It’s the final and most important step in our journey to success. Who are you helping along in their journey?

Mark Your Milestones

Climbing the stairway to becoming a successful freelancer.
These eight reference points act as mile markers on our journey. They provide visibility of our progress as we climb the uphill battle towards what we each define as success. Sometimes it can feel like we’re going in circles or not going anywhere at all. While it may look different for each of us, the general pathway is similar.

When you see the list of eight achievements above, which resonates with you? Where are you in the journey? Which do you sustain and which remain as obstacles to your success? What’s the next step you’ll take to move your freelancing career forward?

Comment below and I’ll share my thoughts and ideas on how you can more effectively achieve your goals.

Now a full time freelancer, Jason Montoya originally moved to Atlanta in 2005 with his wife. He attempted to make an animated feature film, launched a political news website, graduated in 2008 from the Art Institute Of Atlanta, and owned a marketing agency for seven years. Jason lives in Atlanta with his wife and four children and is dedicated to helping freelancers flourish .