For those who want more balance in their lives, the call to freelancing can be incredibly strong. This way of working is a wonderful way to cultivate more flexibility and freedom, and can open up many exciting and lucrative opportunities.
If you’re looking to embark on a freelancing career, then you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of doing so very carefully. You’ll also want to know how to get started with your best foot forward. Luckily for you, you’ve landed in the right place, so read on for all you need to know!
Pros of Freelancing
A better work-life balance and a flexible schedule are just two of the countless benefits of working in this way. These are among the most common reasons cited for breaking away from office monotony.
People who are inspired by the freelance way of life are also drawn to the freedom to choose their own projects, select their own clients, and the potential to work from anywhere in the world. Being able to do your job in your pajamas every day is an added bonus for many homebodies, too.
Cons of Freelancing
Although there are many wonderful reasons to reject the nine till five, there are also plenty of possible challenges. One of the biggest disadvantages to being a freelancer is having to figure out paying your own taxes. This can be a daunting task and will usually require the assistance of a professional accountant.
Another problem that you may encounter is getting the hang of managing and maximizing your time. When you operate as a freelancer, then you’re generally only accountable to yourself. Depending on how naturally productive and motivated you are, it could be hard to maintain your focus, and this could have a knock-on effect on your profits and your reputation.
In order to succeed at your freelancing ventures, you’ll need to find effective ways to maximize your time. If you’re not sure how to do this, then don’t worry, the following advice will inspire and empower you!
Create a Work Schedule
If you primarily became a freelancer for the flexibility, then creating a work schedule might not sound very appealing—but bear with me!
There are countless benefits to having a structured day. This can ensure you’re putting the work in where necessary, while also enjoying an appropriate amount of downtime, too.
Within your schedule, allocate periods of time to tasks that you know you need to get done, and also allow some time for miscellaneous moments, such as replying to emails and taking calls. You never know what each day is going to bring, so plan to be prepared.
When you create a work schedule to stick to, you can of course allow yourself some wiggle room—you’re the boss after all.
Getting distracted is natural and it’s never going to be possible to totally train your brain to overcome this.
A small distraction can be a welcome and pleasant break from your work, but problems will present when distractions are prolonged or frequent.
Freelancer time tracking tools can be invaluable in overcoming this. These tools are predominantly used to track billable hours so you know exactly how much time you’ve spent on a project. However, using one of these tools can also ensure that you stay focused and that you don’t deviate from the work.
When you have to turn your time tracker on and off so you can scroll through Instagram, then you’ll surely be less likely to give in to temptation.
A Word About Social Media
Social media is arguably the biggest modern-day cause of distraction, and the urge to check our messages, likes, and comments, can literally be overpowering.
When you have a cheeky glance at social media in an office job, you might feel like you’ve gotten away with something naughty—a free 10-minute Twitter break that your boss will never know about. But when you work for yourself, you’re basically throwing money away when you do this.
Turning notifications off from all of your social platforms, or using a social media blocker, can help you to overcome this problem. Also, you can try rewarding yourself— how does ten minutes of social media joy for every hour of uninterrupted work sound?
Never Stop Learning
If you’re to be successful in your chosen field as a freelancer, then you’ll need to consistently make time to learn new things and keep up with industry trends.
Although this may sound quite time-consuming, doing this in small, regular bursts will actually help you to maximize your time in the long-run. This is because you’ll always have the skills you need to complete your work professionally and effectively.
Regardless of the industry that you work in, there are countless online resources that you’ll want to know about. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, then you’ll want to keep up with Creative Bloq, or if you work in local marketing, then Bright Ideas is the place to be.
Become a Great Communicator
Strong communication skills will get you far in many different areas of your life—and your work is no exception.
When you know how to communicate well with your clients, then you can build strong working relationships and maximize the time that you put in to your interactions. Knowing how to get straight to the point and stay on topic will mean that you save time, both your own and your clients—which they will surely be grateful for. After all, who wants to spend an hour on a call that only needs to take 20 minutes?
The secrets to becoming a great communicator are to:
- Listen more than you speak
- Make an effort to truly understand what people are saying to you
- Acknowledge the potential for misunderstandings
- Understand the importance of non-verbal communication
- Only talk with authority about things you completely understand
When you’ve mastered these concepts, you’ll be able to easily and efficiently navigate conversations with clients. This will not only help you to maximize your time, but will also ensure your past, present, and future clients see you as an expert in your field.
The ways in which you communicate with your clients can also help or hinder your efforts. These days, online video calls are the preferred mode of talking to clients, so you should always be prepared to ditch your phone and turn your camera on!
Choose Your Work Environment Wisely
The past few years pandemic chaos have revealed that working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. After many months of holding meetings in bed and giving presentations from the sofa, the downsides of working and living in the same environment became apparent to many.
If you’re going to work from home, then it truly pays to have a dedicated workspace. This ideally needs to be a separate area of your home that is strictly for work and without distraction.
If it’s financially feasible for you, then paying for access to a co-working space can be a brilliant decision. Leaving home to go to this space can help to create a distinction between your leisure time and your work time. It can help you get into productivity mode and can seriously increase your output during the day.
If renting a co-working space doesn't seem realistic to you and your budget, then simply going out to a quiet cafe for a couple of hours can be a good alternative.
Being a Successful Freelancer
With the right amount of dedication, perseverance, and knowledge, being a successful freelancer is within your reach.
The key to accomplishing your goals is to stay in control of your time, acknowledge any mistakes, and to always adjust your approach as you learn.
About The Author
Alix Coe is the Content Marketing Manager at BrightLocal. Prior to this role, Alix worked as a freelance digital marketer for seven years, managing projects for a wide range of clients around the world.