Before taking the plunge and going freelance, you no doubt had an image in your mind of what freelancing would be like. There you would be, in your home office, or a funky co-working space, working on your own terms, with clients you like and feel passionate about.
The stresses of corporate life would be a distant memory, as you enjoyed the freedom to head out for a long lunch, pop to the gym mid-morning, or catch a museum in the afternoon. It would be the ideal lifestyle. But as with any job, freelancing isn’t always perfect. You can get stuck in a rut, bored of the same routine, or bogged down with client issues. And if you’re not careful, you can end up chained to your desk, drowning in admin or struggling to juggle clients and deadlines. If that happens, you might start to wonder if you really made the right decision after all.
That’s why it’s important to take a step back every now and again, to get some perspective on what you want from freelancing and regain control of your lifestyle. Here are seven ways to ensure you don’t lose the ‘free’ in freelancing:
Decide what you want:
People choose to freelance for a variety of reasons, from the desire to spend more time with family, to having the freedom to travel, or simply avoiding office politics and being your own boss. So, if you ever feel frustrated, it’s important to remind yourself why you made the jump, to ensure that freelancing is continuing to meet your objectives. And if you do find yourself working in a way that goes against your principles, do something about it.
Know when to say ‘no’
Be strict with yourself and others about how you want to work, and where your boundaries are. If you don’t want to work certain days, put your ‘out of office’ on and let clients know you can’t answer any emails or calls during those times. And if you only want to work with a certain type of business, or in a certain industry, don’t buckle at the first sign of a well-paid job in another area. It’s often easier said than done, but remember that you chose this lifestyle for a reason and you owe it to yourself to stick to your guns.
Don’t stress about slow spells:
It’s hard to get used to dealing with lulls in your workload, but you have to learn not to panic. Ups and downs are part and parcel of the freelance lifestyle, how to use them to your advantage and stay confident that the work will be flowing again in no time.
Freelancing comes with its fair share of admin, from tracking expenses, to calculating your taxes, trawling through emails and organising your diary. On top of that, you have all your life admin to deal with, not to mention those boring household chores. When you add it all together, it means precious little time for yourself, as well as fewer billable hours for your business - both of which mean more stress for you! So, for your sanity and your career, have a think about where you can outsource, whether that’s finding a personal assistant, cleaner or supermarket delivery service. There’s even evidence that it could make you happier - a recent study found that paying people to do the tasks we don’t like boosts our wellbeing more than buying material possessions.
A change of scenery is sometimes is all you need to give yourself a boost, and freelancing is your chance to mix it up. There are now loads of companies that will help you to travel while working, such as Remote Year and Wilfy Nomads Plus, co-working spaces can be found in all sorts of far-flung locations around the world. And even if a big trip is bit ambitious, why not seek out interesting Wi-Fi cafes or co-working spaces where you can work for a day here and there. Check out our list of the best co-working spaces for freelancers for some ideas.
When you’re working office hours, you’re always moving with the crowd, whether that’s travelling in rush hour, paying for peak hours at the gym, or fighting your way into the latest oversubscribed exhibition. With freelancing, you have much more flexibility, so take advantage of it by organising to do things when everybody else is at work. It could save you cash, while reducing your stress levels at the same time.
Freelancing can be the perfect lifestyle you always dreamed of, but it takes focus and hard work to get there. Just remember not to lose sight of what’s important to you, and don’t let anyone, or anything, throw you off course.
For the latest exciting projects to drive your business and lifestyle in the right direction, visit theworkcrowd.com.If you ever have any queries or questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at here or give us a call on 0203 828 8440.