So you’ve managed to escape the rat race, become a freelancer and strike out on your own. Congratulations! In many ways, the freelance life can redefine you for the better. In some ways, however, it can be rather detrimental, including having negative effects on your health.
While being a freelancer comes with several unique challenges, you don’t have to let them inhibit you from being happy. With a little effort, you can take steps to ensure your freelance life is as professionally productive and personally rewarding as it should be.
Here are the first four tips to help you on your journey towards being a better and happier freelancer. We’ll post another four in the next few days.
1. Do What You Enjoy
Sounds pretty basic, and it is, but it deserves reminding.
If you’re going to walk the freelance tightrope without a safety net, the only thing that will get you safely to the other side is your passion. Fortunately, self-employed workers tend to be more satisfied with their jobs than regular employees.
According to the Pew Research Center, 39% of self-employed workers say they are ‘completely satisfied’ with their jobs, compared to only 28% of all wage or salaried employees. On the other hand, only 5% of self-employed workers say they are dissatisfied with their situation, whereas about 10% of other workers say the same.
2. Create an ‘Office’ You’d Like to Work At
There is science behind this. Studies have shown that the layout and style of your workspace directly affects your psychology and productivity:
- Rounded furniture triggers more activity in the brain regions associated with reward and aesthetic appreciation.
- Lighting and colour schemes can affect everything from brainstorming, attention to detail and analytical thinking.
- You can never have too many plants. Research has shown that indoor plants can prevent fatigue during attention-demanding work. Indoor plants in a work environment can also boost productivity by as much as 12%, clean the air and even reduce office noise by buffering sounds.
3. Get Dressed
Just because you can work from home in your underwear or bathrobe doesn’t mean you should. There is a direct psychological link between what we wear and how people view us. Just a few of the snap-judgments people make based on first impressions include:
- Social position
- Economic level
- Educational level
- Moral character
Furthermore, how you dress also affects how you feel about yourself. When you dress for success, you’re much more likely to achieve it—even from your den.
4. Choose Your Clients Wisely
When you’re first starting out with your freelance work, there might be a temptation to take any client that comes your way. But unless you’re facing eviction or other financial emergencies, try and resist this urge. The wrong kind of clients can make your life miserable, so it’s crucial that you develop some kind of screening process before ever signing any contracts.
- Are good communicators
- Are committed to quality work and willing to wait for it.
- Know what they want (and articulate it too!)
- Pay on time
- Are disrespectful (don’t respect your business hours)
- Are inconsistent (go days or weeks without responding to calls or emails)
- Don’t know what they want (change their minds halfway through a project and don’t compensate extra for this labour-intensive pivot)
- Don’t pay on time
When you screen clients, make sure you clearly lay down your expectations regarding compensation and communication. If they don’t seem like they share your values, have the courage to ‘Just Say No!’ Keep in mind that when you reject an opportunity, you are making room for a better one.
For the second part of our article, check back to the Small Business in a few days. In the meantime, if you are a freelancer, then why not try QuickBooks Self-Employed? Take your free, 30 day trial (no credit card required).