The life of a freelancer is perfect, right? You are free to do whatever you want, when you want. You call the shots, make the rules, and work on your own terms. Unfortunately for many freelancers, there sometimes comes a time when your freelance life just doesn’t feel like it’s even working anymore.
Maybe you have taken on too many clients or you’re overbooked. Maybe your current clients are too demanding of your time. Maybe you didn’t schedule properly and you feel like you’re working all the time but getting very little done.
Maybe you have let something get you down — so you aren’t working as you were before. Maybe you are procrastinating.
If this sounds like what is happening to you, then you might be missing the “free” in freelance.
Here are some things you can do to get it back:
Set a schedule: The first step is to set a schedule and if you already have one, you just need to reevaluate it and possibly create a new one. Adjust your schedule to separate work time and “me time” so you still get a chance each day to relax and unwind. You cannot work 24/7 or you will just burnout anyway.
Control your emails: A trick I use to control my emails is by only checking and answering them once per hour. Some people only check emails at certain times, such as twice a day — at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
If you have not made an actual schedule for email reading and answering, it seems like they are constantly streaming in and this process can be a real distraction.
Reading, answering and sorting emails as a busy freelancer can seem like a full time job itself.
Get picky with your projects: You freelance so you can have the freedom to choose the jobs you want and the clients you want to work with, and those that you don’t. You may need to get picky with your projects — really, you may need to. Don’t feel obligated to take anything and everything that comes along. If you detest a project for any reason, including getting it from someone you don’t want to work with — the likelihood you may fail can happen, but at the very least, you will not enjoy it.
Plan your work day: In addition to setting a schedule, you need to plan each work day according to what you need to have done for each client. You must plan exactly how much time you have to work each day, and what you must accomplish in that time that is set aside.
Planning your work day will help you stay on track, complete tasks and meet goals on time. This frees you up to still have time for other things in your life.
Save all you can: When you are smarter about your spending, you will have a better budget to work with. Save as much money as you can so that you are not desperate to take any and every job that comes along. This habit will help you have the financial confidence to pass on those projects that you really don’t like the sound of, without worrying about losing your house.
Budget your finances: This goes hand in hand with savings. Budget your finances so you are saving a chunk of cash for the lean months when you don’t have enough projects. Also, with a budget you will know what you are spending and when.
Making and keep budgetary controls on oneself will help you know how much money you have to bring in and how much room you have for relaxation time. There will be no surprises to pop up on you and as a freelancer; with a budget you will be able to completely control your income potential.
With these tips, you can learn how to really enjoy your freelance life, which is the whole point of freelancing in the first place.