Taking the leap into the freelance lifestyle is an incredibly exciting time, but one that comes with serious frustrations. Here’s how you can adjust.
Taking the leap into the freelance lifestyle is an incredibly exciting time, but one that comes with serious distractions, temptations, and frustrations. If you’re easily distracted and prone to bouts of laziness, being a freelancer may not be the best lifestyle choice for you.
However, becoming a freelancer can also be extremely rewarding, not just in financial terms, but in the freedom, it affords you to learn, develop and gain confidence from being independent. In order to prevent themselves from getting distracted or stale, many freelancers opt to adjust their lifestyle to suit their new life as a freelancer.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven ways to adjust to becoming a self-employed person.
If you want to work 10 hours a day but over a 24-hour period, you can do so as a freelancer. That’s one of the many pros of going it alone. However, if you’re going to work all over the place in terms of time, you should look to fill your hours in productive ways. For example, instead of sitting in front of the TV or playing around with your smartphone in the mornings, take a walk – nothing too crazy, maybe a mile or two – and get focused for the day ahead.
Make Sure People Get The Message
You might not care what your family and friends think of you and what you do as a freelancer, but their view of you as a serious business person or entrepreneur will definitely take some getting used to as they will no longer see you getting up and heading to the office every morning. Even if you are working just as hard from home as you would elsewhere, people are more likely to assume they can come around and interrupt your workflow if you are home-based. It’s just what people are used to. Make sure they get the message that, despite the more relaxed approach to ‘going to work,’ you are still working hard, and are not to be disturbed.
Build Yourself a Business
Freelancers don’t have the luxury of being able to put up images and videos of their workspaces on Instagram and YouTube because most of the time it’s a desk in the spare room or a laptop on your knee in your living room. By hiring office space, you will have a postcode and mailing address for your freelance business, which will go a long way to show your customers and clients that you’re legitimate and ambitious. Even if you just have a virtual office (a postcode and mailing address but without the office space), you’ll still be showing the world that you’re serious.
Find a Work/Life Balance
The work/life balance is something that everybody strives for, but it’s something that freelancers can adjust to a lot easier if they manage their time properly while they’re at home. The beauty of being a freelancer is that you avoid the commute to work and the nine to five daily grind, so use your time at home wisely, including taking advantage of the ability to take breaks from work and do the things you’re always struggling to fit in around work, e.g. doing the washing, gardening, picking the kids up from school without the need for babysitters and going on the grocery run. You’ll find it a great deal easier to do these tasks if you’re working from home.
One huge advantage that freelancers have over the majority of other workers is that they have access to their own kitchen, rather than having to nip out to the shop or use the vending machine at work. The issue with this is that it can make freelancers snack happy, as the kitchen is too conveniently located to ignore.
If you’re going to adjust your mindset to being a freelancer, you should also concentrate on adjusting your body and eating habits, too. When you do your weekly shop, consider what you want to eat while you’re working, focusing on foods that will keep your energy levels up and keep you productive through the working day. Coffee and biscuits won’t do this, but fruit, vegetables, and nuts will. Eating healthily will also help to keep your stress levels in check when you’re mega busy or going through a dry spell.
The Dry Periods
It’s every freelancer’s worst nightmare, but sadly inevitable that occasionally, clients won’t answer their emails and the work won’t seem to be coming your way. This will happen from time to time, and it can be incredibly stressful. Fortunately, freelancers can adjust to this side of the lifestyle by using the downtime to learn, including attending speaking events, networking opportunities and reading books and articles from the web. You should never stop learning in any career, least of all when you are working for yourself. Once you get used to filling your downtime in a productive manner, you will miss the opportunity to do so when those clients get back in touch with more work for you.
Fill Your Calendar
Freelancers quickly discover that their calendar is their best friend, especially when it comes to finding that all-important work/life balance. You need to be on top of your work and play schedule in order to avoid missing deadlines for work, and important events outside of your career such as birthdays, weddings and coffee with friends. By keeping your calendar updated, you will find that you adjust to the freelance lifestyle a great deal quicker, as you feel less stressed and out of your depth due to being organized in all aspects of your life.
The majority of smartphones will have a calendar built-in, and you can sync this up with your email calendar so that wherever you are, and whatever device you are using, your schedule will be right there in front of you at all times. You can also send invites to your friends, customers or clients via your calendar, which is great for setting up meetings and meet-ups alike.