What Does it Take to Succeed as a Freelancer? Monica Maldonado Williams Knows Firsthand

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Written by Dawn Weathersbee

Monica Maldonado Williams didn’t earn a weekly column in the Austin American-Statesman and a bi-weekly segment on KTBC’s Good Day Austin by accident. That her website GivingCity Austin is a top referring website for many local nonprofits is also not a fluke.

 

Monica has more than 20 years of communications, marketing, journalism, and new media experience. Both a freelancer and one who hires freelancers, she’s observed and reflected on what it takes.

 

Monica has mastered not just surviving as a freelancer, but thriving. In a recent interview with Monica, she detailed the keys to freelancer success.

Successful freelancers must stay curious.

 

“Communicating anything starts with learning about it first. If you’re not curious about it, that can seem like a real chore. You’ll know you’re made for this work if you get excited about new projects in fields you never considered.

 

“The greatest gift this field gives us is the opportunity to constantly learn new things and meet new people. It’s super important to maintain a sense of humility and wonder.”

Successful freelancers have unique challenges.

 

“When you made up your job and the thing that you do, you can’t just rely on a title. Most people can’t wrap their heads around what I’m working on—GivingCity, New Philanthropists, communications consultant, work from home contractor with a desk at a real office, mom, public speaker, etc… it’s a mess.

 

“It’s the people who have also made up unique careers that inspire me to keep doing what I love.”

Successful freelancers choose role models who inspire them to push themselves.

 

“My role model and mentor, Heather McKissick models professionalism and leadership every day.

 

“She’s also been a huge support who has helped me see things in a new light. I’ve watched her take on some extremely intimidating and challenging projects. She shows me that she can continue to stretch herself and grow to meet challenges. She makes me believe maybe I can, too.”

Successful freelancers are unique, and that leads to unique opportunities.

 

“I’ve come to admire freelancers because the best have a few characteristics that are pretty rare.

 

“I’ve also found some of the best business practices of freelancers and the biggest opportunities for freelancers today.”

Successful freelancers grow by staying humble.

 

“I get pitched by too many young professionals who believe they already know everything there is to know. This makes it obvious that they don’t even know what they don’t know.

 

“It’s been 26 years since I left college. In that time I’ve worked for about 17 different employers, interviewed at least 2,500 people, and written hundreds of thousands of words.

 

“Here’s what I know about myself now: I’m an average writer with so much to learn.”

Are you an established freelancer looking to take your business to the next level? Attend WCA’s Get Smart to learn from Monica during her intimate and hands-on Master Class, Next Steps for Freelance Success. She’ll share strategies that distinguish the freelancer who survives from the freelancer who thrives.

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