Do you have what it takes to be an freelancer? Psychologists may be able to answer that question for you, as they have identified four key traits that are commonly found in successful freelancers. Here is what several psychologists reveal as the top personality traits of great freelancers.

In a 2013 study that included Swiss and German researchers, scientists discovered freelancers are generalists, have a ton of confidence, have no problem disagreeing, and are conscientious.

You don’t have to have all—or any!—of these traits to be a good freelancers. However, it doesn’t hurt.

The “generalist” aspect is simply a matter of logistics. Founders need to be a jack of all trades, master of none in order to tackle the many diverse challenges involved with starting businesses. Specialists, on the other hand, are the experts that entrepreneurs hire to take care of each aspect of the business. According to the researchers Petra Moog and Uschi Backes-Gellner, “The mere social butterflies or the mere computer nerds are not likely to become entrepreneurs because they are both too imbalanced and thereby less likely to be successful as entrepreneurs.”

Can You Fake Entrepreneurial Skills?

In terms of confidence, you can certainly fake this until it becomes a reality. Entrepreneurial ventures are, by nature, very risky and it takes someone with a lot of confidence to undertake them. If you lack the confidence but plunge in anyway, you may be able to fake confidence in order to succeed.

In a study at Purdue University, a shocking 33 percent of 3,000 entrepreneurs surveyed said their business stood a 100 percent chance of success. You wouldn’t find those same figures in a less confident group of people.

Couple confidence with being disagreeable, and you have an entrepreneur in the making. Entrepreneurs take not just business risks, but also social risks. They don’t mind doing things deemed “inappropriate” if it will benefit their venture. Boiled down, entrepreneurs don’t care what people think about them. Plus, disagreeable people are quick to say “no”, which can be crucial when it comes to focusing on what matters.

Plotting and Planning

Having confidence or just being disagreeable, or both, without balance is dangerous. Great entrepreneurs are also conscientious, organized, and responsible. However, being conscientious can serve just about anyone well. A Pennsylvania College of Technology study in 2003 found conscientious people live longer, earn more money, and are generally happier.

Learn and Grow

The good news is that many of these traits can be practiced and adopted no matter where you stand right now. The only caveat is it might be tough to become a generalist, but you can broaden your skills by taking classes, volunteering for projects and learning on the job, or by self-studying at home.

Are there other traits you think great entrepreneurs share? Please share in the comments section!


John Rampton is an Entrepreneur and Connector. John was recently named Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine, Finance Expert by Time and Blogging Expert by Forbes. He is the Founder and CEO of Due.

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