The 6 Traits of Successful Self-Employed People

Oct 07, 2021 5 Min Read
a woman reading a book and surrounded by her organised assorted mess

Photo by Go to Christina

Build good habits, you will feel successful every day.

Thanks to the many perks it comes with, self-employment is highly coveted by many people. You have a higher chance of earning more when self-employed than working for another person or company. There is more control and fewer restrictions, plus you won’t have anyone breathing down your neck to accomplish tasks.

However, the fruits of self-employment are only sweet if you are successful. Many small businesses start energetically, only to shut down in two to five years. Still, a good fifty percent of self-employed ventures will grow, experience business expansion, and achieve success. Some even become a household name in their industry over time.

So how exactly do they do it? What sets these entrepreneurs apart from ordinary business owners? To answer this, below are six traits of successful self-employed people you can borrow.

This may interest you: Five Advancement Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Trait One: Defining Success

To achieve success in anything, you need to have a vision and goals that propel you and fuel. This is among the most common traits of self-employed entrepreneurs who achieve ultimate success. They have their own specific definition of what it means to be successful, and perhaps achieve what is known as self-actualisation.

Once you define success, it is easier to know where to put most of your focus and develop ways to achieve it. Working towards this vision will probably take a long time, perhaps many years. All in all, it is the little and dedicated efforts you put in each day, minute, or hour that count the most.

Trait Two: Choosing the Right Business Model

As a self-employed individual, you could be a professional in a certain area, or you could be offering certain unique services. In most cases, you will be paid directly by your clients. Therefore, self-employed people are also referred to as independent contractors. The successful ones in any industry will always advise you to choose the appropriate business model when getting started.

While you can start as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation, LLCs tend to have more perks for the self-employed. It allows you to pay yourself a salary, for instance, so you can be taxed as an individual and avoid double taxation.

In this respect, many independent contractors and freelancers form an LLC and pay themselves a salary. Many of them use a pay stub creator to generate payslips they can use as proof of income. This is an example of highly successful thinking portrayed by prosperous self-employed guys.

Trait Three: Being Committed

Highly successful individuals are aggressively committed to whatever they do. They know that failure is a possibility, but they do not bow down to fear. They are consistent in navigating challenges and moving forward regardless of the obstacles they find on the way. They keep their eyes on the prize as they enjoy the benefits of being self-employed. They know that their earnings and success are out there somewhere, and all they need to do is to get up and go get it!

Trait Four: Spending Time to Strategise

This one is somewhat obvious. Successful self-employed people are not only strategic thinkers, but they spend time in research, learn, improvise, and choose the right strategies for their ventures. This is mostly seen in branding and marketing, along with other areas like customer service and workforce management. Each and every aspect of business basically requires the right strategy when chasing success.

This may interest you:

Trait Five: Building a Good Network

As long as you’re in the world of business, very few things are more important than networking. This means going out of your comfort zone and connecting with like-minded people as well as entrepreneurs beyond your level of prosperity. Build a solid network of people with who you can share ideas and learn from each other.

Moreover, you can turn to these networks for support, plus they go a long way in preventing chronic loneliness when working solo. There’s a big chance that some of your contacts will help elevate you and even mentor you towards success. This is another common trait displayed by successful self-employees. 

Read more:


Trait Six: Focusing on Personal Development

Finally, sometimes being an entrepreneur requires you to wear lots of different hats. It requires developing yourself as a person and learning new things whenever you can. As much as you could be an expert, highly experienced in your industry, times are evolving, and new things are always being discovered. Successful independent contractors are always on their toes looking for something new to learn – and become their best selves – from within and without their business areas. This is also among the ways new business opportunities come by. 

Read more: Personal Development 

This may interest you:


To sum it up, successful independent workers possess some extraordinary qualities. They are consistent success-driven individuals who take time to strategise and map their success journey. They know the importance of networking and develop themselves continually. Thankfully, anyone can possess these traits and practice them to maximise their chances of success in this highly competitive business space. 

Self-employment is all fun and games, but staying consistent and continuous exploration can be vital in ensuring longevity. Take a look at this engaging and super insightful podcast on some of the reasons why self-employment has become a huge trend:

Before you go and venture into the possibilities going into self-employment, check out this brilliant app offered by Leaderonomics called Necole. If you desire to accelerate your growth, Necole might be the one for you. Necole is a state of the art learning platform that curates personalised learning just for you. To find out more about necole, click here or email


Share This


This article is published by the editors of with the consent of the guest author. 


You May Also Like


5 Keys to Managing Your Cash Flow So You Don’t “Grow Broke”

I know that when a company is growing quickly, like Uber, it faces an incredible drain on cash. So one of the first things you should do is make sure you have a handle on your cash flow situation.

Nov 20, 2023 5 Min Read


Raising The Bar Of The HR Profession

In our efforts to address the talent needs of leading employers in order to attract, develop, retain the top talent required for Malaysia to reach her ambition of a developed economy by 2020, it is imperative that we raise the bar of the HR profession to improve the workplace practices and talent management initiatives in their organisations.

Aug 24, 2014 4 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader