Last week, we took you through four of the best ways on how you can become a better freelancer. In the second part of our special post, we look at some of the other ways that you can take advantage, being your own boss, loving what you do and knowing how generate even more clients.
5. Don’t Go It Alone
Many freelancers operate under the misconception that because they are working for themselves, they have to work by themselves. And while you will ultimately be responsible for most of your day-to-day business, the fact remains that no one can do everything all the time. If you know how to be a team player, delegate tasks or even hire help, the better off your business will be.
On top of this, knowing when to ask for help will be crucial to getting through the tough times. Whether it’s a professor from school, a friend or another business owner, being open with the issues you are facing will allow you to grow personally and professionally.
You will also find that most people are happy to help you, especially if they appreciate that you are working for yourself.
This may seem obvious, but the boundaries between ‘work time’ and ‘down time’ may be blurred when you’re a freelancer. Unlike corporate employees who have a regimented routine, you may actually find it harder to set aside time to exercise. But putting in the extra effort is worth it. Exercising has been proven to boost your brainpower and, thus, your productivity.
So whether it’s taking the dog for a walk around the block or striking a few yoga poses, make time in your day to burn a few calories, reduce your stress and stimulate the creative parts of your brain by being active. There are plenty of quick exercises that you can easily work into your day, so you have no excuses!
Many freelancers find themselves holed-up in their home office working around the clock on their clients’ projects. And even if you can be mobile and, say, work from your local coffee shop on your laptop, there is a big difference between being surrounded by people and socialising with them.
There are proven scientific links between having a social life and reinforcing your mental health. Unfortunately, freelancers are prone to be more depressed than the rest of the workforce for a variety of reasons, including:
- The work/home blur
- Financial concerns
- Unpredictable schedule
- Social isolation
So do yourself and your business a favour, and invite a friend out for coffee, lunch, a movie or a party. Get outside. Have a life. Constantly thinking about work is a surefire way of achieving fatigue, not success. And besides, the more you socialise, the more apt you are to meet new potential clients.
8. Organise Your Finances
Make sure to forecast incoming client payments and outgoing expenses every month, including what you pay yourself. This way, you can see what you need to earn each month. Once you reach that number, anything leftover carries into the next month accordingly. Visualising your earnings and expenditures will be like an EKG line for your financial health.
Financially, self-employment isn’t as drastic of a change as you might think it is, but it’s still a change nonetheless. That said, one of the hardest parts of being a freelancer is staying on top of all your accounting, including paying taxes. Therefore, having a system to manage your cash flow and track your spending is crucial to owning your own business.
Remember the Why
When trying to improve your freelance workflow, remember why you set out to work for yourself. It’s all too easy to get caught up with the hard bottom line of your day-to-day business, and anyone who’s tried knows it’s not easy, but it’s crucial to remind yourself to enjoy the path you are on. By following the tips detailed above, you are giving yourself permission to be happy as a freelancer. And at the end of the day, that’s what being your own boss is all about.
For more tips on being an effective freelancer, read our article on what it takes to be your own boss.