Freelance “Surthrival”

Like full-time employees, freelancers need tools to help them survive—and thrive—in an often-pressured workplace. Freelance gigs come with their own set of challenges, including having to adapt to multiple stakeholders, manage several projects concurrently, and at times deal with the unexpected end to a project.

What can you, as a freelancer, do to keep motivated during stressful times? If you don’t already, I recommend keeping a physical “kudos” folder. This folder contains a record of the times people have complimented you, giving you a virtual pat on the back for a job well done. You can put emails, printouts of voicemails, reviews, and cards in the folder, or anything that reminds you that you met a challenge head on and succeeded.

Don’t limit yourself to just work-related kudos, either. My kudos folder has emails from people with whom I volunteer and associate with outside of work. The more the better!


noun   ku·dos   \  ˈkü-ˌdäs ,  ˈkyü- ,  -ˌdōs \

Definition of kudos

1: praise given for achievement

2: fame and renown resulting from an act or achievement: prestige*


How can a kudos file help you thrive? A kudos file can:

  • Get you through challenging times. Usually kudos come from people who realize that you’ve done amazing work on a not-so-easy job. If you’re dealing with a frustrating project and facing difficult deadlines, reviewing your kudos file can remind you that yes, you have made it through tough projects in the past—and people noticed.
  • Increase your LinkedIn recommendations. Those who have written kudos about you are the perfect people to ask. You’ve already impressed them, so go ahead and ask them to write a LinkedIn recommendation for you. Don’t forget to consider writing one for them as well.
  • Expand your connections. Sometimes, kudos come from stakeholders or co-workers that you don’t know that well, but they’ve been involved with your project. Connecting with them on LinkedIn is an easy way enlarge your professional network.
  • Create a more complete resume. As a freelancer, you can work on numerous projects that may fade from memory over the years. Your kudos file can refresh your memory of that challenging project that you accomplished, providing data that can add depth to your work history.

In today’s world of rapid information exchange, it’s easy to overlook the feedback you get from others—moving it to the Deleted file in email or to a folder where you may not find it again. Consider printing out these compliments and storing them in your own kudos file folder to help you do more than just “survive” as a freelancer.

One of my favorite ways to network and learn is LinkedIn Groups where you can find others who have the same interests and employment experiences. It’s a great way to make business contacts and contribute to your industry. Check out to get started.

Want to connect or learn more about my experience as a freelancer, reach out to me on LinkedIn!

*Merriam Webster dictionary