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Those who want to get into freelancing are often guilty of overestimating the value of it. It’s true that there are plenty of great things about this particular way of working: not having a boss to report to directly, being able to choose your own hours, working from home. All of these are great, but they can also be the source of some upset and worry too, and you are going to have to learn how best to deal with them in that light. The truth is that there are plenty of things you might need to focus on in order to make sure that you make the freelancing life work out as well for you as possible. In this article, we are going to look at some of the most important ways in which you can hope to do that so that you can really make the most of this way of working.
Schedule Yourself Well
You are going to have to master the art of time, and that is something that takes most people quite a long time to get right. One of the early hurdles to this is that you don’t yet know for certain how long it will take you to carry out any particular task to the required level of professionalism and completion, and as such you will struggle to schedule out your days and weeks. The only thing you can really do here is to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to begin with at the start of your freelancing career so that you can play around with it and work out what you might need to do later on.
In time, you will discover exactly how much time you need for your most common projects, and you can then start to organize your day a little better. You will probably find that having some kind of a daily schedule helps to keep you on track, and it is definitely worth doing that – ideally with some kind of scheduling software, even if it is as simple as a spreadsheet program. Bear in mind that different people need different amounts of scheduling: you might be someone who works best with just a loose timetable, or you might be much better off with a stricter one. Play around with these and see what works for you.
Work Out Your Rate
A big part of being a freelancer is that you get to set your own rate. This is certainly a perk of the job, but it is also a difficulty and something of a constraint which you are going to have to work on in order to perfect it. Working out what rate you should be charging your clients is a combination of trial and error, research, and personal financial obligations. You need to earn enough to live and to live comfortably, but you will also need to remain competitive if you hope to get enough clients in. Remember too that you are likely going to have to work your way up the ladder. At the beginning, you will only be able to charge a minimum, but after years you can charge more and more as your work improves and your name becomes more trusted. Make sure that you do that, and that you aim for the highest rate you possibly can.
Vary Your Workplace
Of course, you probably have images of working at your desk at home day after day, and for the most part that might well be pretty accurate. But you will also find that it often becomes necessary to vary where you work and how you work, so as to keep things interesting and avoid spending too long in one place. If you work from home too much, you might find that you experience a little loneliness or that you end up going stir-crazy – unless you happen to just love spending time alone for long periods of time. However, most people will find it is necessary to change it up a bit, and there are plenty of ways to do so if you feel the need to do this yourself.
One great way to do that is to seek out a coworking space in your area. These are offices dedicated to people with jobs like yours, where you can work with other people in the same space for a small fee per day. Many of them offer packages where you can buy a certain number of days’ work per month to work there. They always have internet access, and generally some kind of break room with coffee, tea, and facilities for preparing some basic food. This is a great way to work around other people from time to time, and it’s well worth considering.
Alternatively, or on top of that, you can also think about working in cafes and bars from time to time. This is good because you can work with the gentle hum of people going about their business in the background, which a lot of people find is essential to be able to work well. In that sense, it can be much like working in an office. Be careful not to be a bad customer: make sure you keep buying drinks as long as you are working there so that the owners won’t mind you being there for extended periods of time. Do it right, and this is a great way to approach a day of freelancing work.
Give Yourself A Break
Just as with any work, you can definitely make things a lot better on yourself merely by giving yourself a break from time to time. You need a break as much as anyone else, and ensuring that you allow it for yourself is definitely a good idea. Whether that means a week off doing nothing, or a holiday with your loved ones, you are bound to return from such an experience refreshed and able to tackle your work again.