On paper, working from home or a café sounds like the dream. You get to dictate your working hours, decide where to work from, and enjoy the freedom of travel. The important distinction worth making here, however, is that being a full-time freelancer isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Regardless of what service you provide or what kind of a business you run, the types of problems you might face are similar everywhere – time management, stress, for example, lack of stability, and more. So, to avoid these, here are some 5 tips you might want to take into consideration when pursuing a productive career as a freelancer.
1. Plan ahead
This is probably the most important thing you can do as a freelancer to make it far. Traditionally, we associate freelancing with more freedom, while your typical employees enjoy a more stable life. However, once you grow as a freelancer, and develop your skills, your attitude changes. This is not to say that the road is easy. Rather, you should always plan ahead and prepare for whatever may happen. According to Anthony Teixeira, who offers professional French translation services, “It is a mistake to associate freelance work and lack of job stability. Once you realize you are a business like any other, you organize yourself differently.” In other words, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to look at your freelancing job as a business. You’ll go further this way.
2. Quality over quantity
As a freelancer, you should always prioritize quality over quantity. This means that as you gain more experience, you will want to focus on your quality clients who pay more and that you get along with better. When you start out, you might be tempted to bid on gigs on the lower end of the pay scale because you don’t have as much experience. While it is natural for you to bid on as many projects as possible at first, it’s important to eventually drop that habit. One high-quality gig is more likely to get you the job (compared to many low-quality ones) and pay you more, as well.
3. Don’t be afraid to say “no”
Like the above, this tip can be a hard pill to swallow. Saying no can be hard, especially if you’re low on cash and generous. You don’t want to disappoint people. So, you offer to help as much as you can, not considering the load it’ll put on you. Throughout your career as a freelancer, you’ll learn to turn down work and, ideally, benefit from it as well! When turning down a gig, consider your financial situation, your time, and–most importantly–your mental health and how stressful the project will be. If you’re going to burn yourself out on a project, it’s just not worth it.
4. Track your time
Your time is the most important resource you have as a freelancer. Learn to track it properly. There are countless apps and tools you can use to make sure you don’t get distracted. Some are simpler than others. Therefore, you might want to think about what you want to gain out of it, first. Planning and scheduling are key to succeeding as a freelancer, and the best ways to avoid long nights. You need to know how much time a project will take (on average), as well as how much you can realistically get done in one day. Be sure to utilize your free time when you can by doing the things you like.
5. Take a break
Finally, with all said, don’t forget to take a break every now and then. It’s been proven that going for a walk and getting your mind off of work makes you more productive. If a project is giving you too much trouble or you’ve hit writer’s block, don’t be afraid to take a step back. Once you go for a walk or exercise to get your blood flowing, you’ll definitely feel more productive and prepared to take on the project with a refreshed state of mind.
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