Tips for Freelancing
Many people think of freelancing as a big dive into the deep unknown; a land of freedom, pjs and sleeping in. While all of this can be true, and more, there’s a lot more to freelancing than you can imagine. Juggling various jobs, unrealistic timeframes and always being on the hunt for new work can become tiring. However, for many, working for themselves is worth it for the simple fact you don’t have to deal with office politics. There are different things that freelancers have to deal with and as someone who’s spent almost two years freelancing (in writing) I have a few tips to share with you:
1) Get Organized
Even if you’re currently the least organized person on the planet, if you’re going to survive freelancing you’ll need to get things in order. There’s nothing worse than forgetting you’ve committed to a project then having the client email you asking where it is, because it was due two days ago. I personally find paper lists are the best way for me to keep organized and when a project is completed I simply cross it out. You should also have some sort of bookkeeping system set up. These are usually some form of software coupled with a few tax estimators and calculators. Whatever method works for you is fine, so long as you regularly use it.
2) Be Realistic
You might feel like superman, as if you can plough through three articles and hour for every waking moment of your life. And the truth is, you might be able to even sustain that approach for a few days, but long term it wont work. You’ll need to factor in time for sleeping (yes, really), food, any sports or activities you love and even some free time to spend with those you care about on the weekends.
3) Don’t Live Work
One of the challenges I found hardest about freelance writing was that I became acutely aware of how my income was proportionate to my effort. If I worked 50 hours a week I’d make more money than if I worked 40. Does this mean you should pull 50, 60, 70 hour weeks? No. Not necessarily. It’s important to work enough to fund your lifestyle, make some savings to move forward in life, but it shouldn’t be the sole reason you wake up each day. Be careful to draw boundaries between work and life, and ensure that you allow yourself more than enough time to do things you love.
4) Separate Home from Work
Working from home isn’t actually as great as it sounds. Yes, you avoid the morning commutes, office politics and paying outrageous prices for parking, but the flipside is that you wind up spending so much time at home, it’s no longer the place you can enjoy. It stops being a place of unwinding and you’ll find yourself working from your laptop in bed well past reasonable hours, just cause there’s no barrier between work and life. If you can, set up an office or at least an “office area” in your house and consistently work there. That’ll make it a lot easier to relax when you go to the lounge or bedroom. One of the biggest challenges work-from-home-freelancers will find is the distinction from work and everything else.
Freelancing can be a great career move, a wonderful way to spend more time with your family and even a way to make more money. There are, however, a few things you’ll need to keep in mind as you make this transition from employee to freelancer.
Do you have any tips for freelancing?