There’s much to love about being a freelancer. You’re able to pick the projects you want to work on, and in many cases, you’re able to charge more than you would if you were a regular old employee. Plus, there’s much to be said for the autonomy that it brings to your life. However, it’s not as if a freelance life is always a walk in the park. It can be difficult. There are challenges involved in this way of doing things that traditional employees don’t have to deal with.
There are things you can do to make things more straightforward, however. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at a series of tips that’ll help you to deliver your best work, and ultimately make your career a successful one.
Find Your Space
There are advantages of being a regular employee that many of us overlook. For instance, the company you work for will provide a space for you to work, and not just any old space, but one that has been optimized for productive work. When you’re a freelancer, you won’t automatically have a space like this. You’ll need to create one for yourself. The kitchen table can be used for occasional work, but shouldn’t be a long-term solution. You’ll find that it’s much easier to get work done if you have an office in your home. Alternatively, if you’re one of those people that likes to leave the house to go to work, then consider signing up for a coworking space — they can be worth their weight in gold.
Optimal Working Times
Of course, one of the downsides of being a regular employee is that you (usually) have to be at the office when your boss tells you to be there. When you’re a freelancer, you’ll have much more freedom as to when you work. There’ll of course be times when you have to meet with a client at one particular time, but in general, you’ll decide when to work. And there’s a lot of power in this. It could be that you don’t work all that well first thing in the morning, but do work well in mid-afternoon and into the evening. It’s well worth taking the time to figure out your optimal working times. It won’t just make the process of working more straightforward, but you’ll also find that you’re working better too.
Freelancers who are new to the game soon find out that there’s much more to freelancing than just putting your talents to work. Much more, in fact. You have to deal with clients, conduct research, talk with suppliers, things like that. These tasks aren’t difficult, necessarily, but they do need to be managed. As such, it’s important that you get organized, so that you’re able to stay on top of everything. How you do this will be up to you; everyone has their preferred methods, after all. The key thing is that you have a space to jot down all of your tasks, so that nothing gets left behind.
You’ve got to spend money to make money. You may already have a laptop, but is it as good as it could be? It’s sometimes investing in a more powerful model, especially since it can have such an impact on your productivity. Nobody wants to waste time waiting for their computer to power up, when they should be getting down to work. Those small delays can seem unimportant, but they do add up to a considerable amount of time, especially when multiplied over the course of a year. And not only that, but they can also cause you to lose any momentum you’ve built with your work.
Get the Tools
As we said earlier: there are a lot of different tasks that have to be managed when you’re freelancing. It’s not just your primary duties, but also all the other tasks around it. Fortunately, in this day and age, there are plenty of tools that’ll help you to make managing these other tasks as straightforward as possible. There are apps that help you to manage your invoices, that’ll ensure that you’re paid on time. Taking care of invoices and getting paid can induce many headaches in freelancers, especially since it can take up so much of their time! But with a good app by your side, this problem will be removed. There are also apps and software that’ll help with your taxes and other important tasks, too.
If you find that you’re really overwhelmed with all that you have to do as a freelancer, or that you’re spending too much time doing tasks other than what you’re trained to do, then you could also consider working with other companies. Outsourcing jobs is one of the best ways to reclaim some of your time. The tasks that you outsource will depend on what you specifically require help with. Many people decide to hand over the responsibility of marketing and their IT needs to other companies, for example. You’ll find that your workload is much lighter once you’ve taken those tasks off your plate.
Productivity is an issue that most people face. While it’s important to remember that you’ll never hit 100% productivity (because you’re a human, and not a robot), there are things you can do that’ll increase your output. Perhaps the first task is to look at what’s draining your productivity in the first place. To do this, take a snapshot of your day, including what you were doing, where you were doing it, things like that. You’ll probably notice the things that interrupted your flow of work. It could be that you were distracted by people around you, or that you were having internet problems, or whatever. Once you know what’s killing your productivity, you’ll be able to move forward.
Charge More Money
The thing that rightly scares people the most about turning freelance is the money situation. When you’re a regular employee, you’ll know that you’re getting the same amount of money each month. If nothing else, there’s stability, and that’s something that shouldn’t be diminished. When you’re a freelancer, you’ll have to contend with fluctuating payments. And that can be a cause of stress. While there are many ways to make yourself more financially secure as a freelancer, one recommended — and often underused — method is to simply charge more money. Some people undersell themselves, and only charge the minimum. But perception is everything. If you’re good at what you do, then charge more money. If you believe in yourself, then people will pay it. And over time, you’ll find that you’re much more financially secure.
You want any stress that you’re put under to be work-related. Well, ideally, you’d have no stress at all — but if there is something, it should be connected to your profession. You don’t want it to be related to the law. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to just jump into freelancing. You’ll need to make sure that you’re legally watertight. That means ensuring you have the right to do your job, that you’re following safety measures, paying taxes; things like that. It’ll just make everything more straightforward if you know that you’re on the right side of the law. If you don’t know what you need to do, you can discuss things with a lawyer.
Connect With Others
One of the nice things about working for a company is that there are other people around you. You might not love all of your colleagues, but there’ll be plenty that you get along well with, and that can make life really fun — even providing you with a friend group, too. When you’re a freelancer, things will be a little different. You’ll be on your own, for the most part. There are ways to make friends and connect with others, however. One of the best ways is a tip we mentioned earlier: work from a coworking space. You’ll meet like-minded people, and you might also find that it’s good for your professional career, too. Once you get to know people, you’ll find that there are people coming up to you to offer you work, just while you’re having your morning coffee.
You’ll have a lot on your plate when you’re a freelancer. It’s not easy finding clients and performing your role to the highest standard possible. However, if you want to be a freelancer for a long time, then it’s important that you’re taking steps to maintain a healthy work/life balance. While there’ll be days when you have to work more than usual, if that’s happening too regularly, then you’ll need to look at making changes. It’s really important that you’re setting some time aside to do, well, nothing at all — or whatever you want. You’ll find that you’re much more relaxed when your work/life balance is in check, and that you’re able to do your work to an even higher standard, too.