Freelancing - it can often sound like the perfect job. Choose your own hours, your preferred services, and only work with people you like…
In reality, freelancing can bring about a whole host of different challenges. To celebrate National Freelancers Day next week, we’ve put together this guide to highlight the best ways to improve your freelance career, and get more out of work and life simultaneously.
1. Set your work boundaries
While many freelancers and entrepreneurs are seen as geniuses of our time, a lot of their success is down to hard work and discipline. Focusing your energies during fixed hours each day, and fixed days each week, is far more productive than trying to work all hours of your waking life. The Economist highlighted a study that even shows how productivity falls over extended working hours - so find a routine that works for you, and stick to it.
Alongside improving productivity, fixed working hours may also reduce stress and prevent burnout.
2. Diversify your offered services
While you may only enjoy one or two aspects in your line of work, it may be worth providing a few different services alongside your passions. A good example of this is photography: while you may prefer portrait photography, photographing weddings may provide a bigger revenue stream that only sticking to portraits.
This is especially true in the early days of freelancing: so make sure to train up in the right areas, and showcase all of your talents, to ensure you’re providing the best service to your clients, and catching as many clients as possible.
3. Find clients through a variety of ways
Alongside diversifying your offered services, you could also consider diversifying where you’re advertising your services. Sure, networking events is the traditional route, but consider stepping up your social media presence, and make sure to register on freelancer websites such as:
In all of these cases, it’s worth creating a digital portfolio where all your marketing efforts will point to. Put your URL on your business card, email applications, and social media profiles. And keep it up to date - especially if you provide your rates and availability upfront.
Finally - if you’re working in a shared office space, have you considered networking with your fellow coworkers?
4. Prioritise your mental health
As a freelancer, your business and your quality of work all lies on you. Following a freelance career path can require strong mental resilience, and it’s a skill that can be learned over time. Whether you’re missing out on all the little wins, or finding it hard to cope during the less busy months, Calmer is here to support you.
We provide support freelancers and solo workers to enable them to make the most of their work, and enjoy the rollercoaster that is freelancing. If you’re new to us, try taking our free e-course on reducing stress and burnout, reading our guide to managing your mental health, or jump right in to our mental resilience video training.
5. Give yourself a break
As we mentioned in our first tip, stick to working hours, and make the most of your downtime. Giving yourself ample time to relax your body and rest your mind is crucial to performing well when tasked with work.
In its most simple sense, getting a good amount of rest and sleep can improve your productivity at work. You will also be more motivated while at work, knowing you have free time to enjoy and work towards.
6. Look back over your progress
In many modern workplaces, it’s essential to reflect on past projects and learn from them. However, as a freelancer, it’s easy to skip over the reflection side of your work (and steamroll into the next project instead!)
We believe it’s worthwhile taking some time to reflect on completed jobs, and work out what went well, and what could be done better next time. It will help you to progress in your work, improve efficiency, and also feel proud of what you’ve achieved. Follow our exercise on reflecting on your entrepreneur journey to get started.
7. Enjoy freelancing
Finally - enjoy yourself! Many people start on the path to freelancing because it’s more appealing than working in a team or organisation, and that’s great. Take some time to return to that same starting place every now and again, and congratulate yourself for making it this far. Choosing to freelance is a brave path, and it isn’t easy at times, but we hope this guide may make things a little easier for you, and a little more rewarding too.