It’s been awhile since I wrote about freelancing. It is a subject that is dear and close to my heart since I have been doing it for nearly 2 years now and I have tremendous success as a freelancer. I definitely have evolved from a mere writer to someone who wears plenty of hats and get great jobs that come with regular incomes and rare business opportunities. I love to pay my good fortune forward and here are some life hacks below that have helped me to push my freelance business forward. If I can do it, so can you!
The more efficient you are, the more you produce. The more you produce, the more you earn. This is one golden rule that will prop you to success. This isn’t the only thing you need to control your timing. When you have multiple clients and projects, you need to balance both your client’s and your expectations of the delivery timeline. Clients hate empty promises! If a client rushed you into completion, you either need to manage his expectations or your own time. That means if you can only fulfil 8 hours everyday, don’t pack your tasks up to 8 hours, leave some room for manoeuvre and adjustments.
Plan your day into segments
Have a planned calendar in front of you. Depending on what works for you, either a physical one on the wall, on your desk or an e-calendar that you can sync with your mobile. This will better help you in controlling your time. Do remember that the best part of being a freelancer is that it leaves you time to spend on more important things in life, whether it is your family, your social life or even your studies. Don’t lose track of that or you’ll lose the meaning of freelancing.
Learn to Say No
Managing expectations are the hardest part, second only to managing your time. Not only do you have to say no to your clients, you might have to push away appointments that eat away your time in dedicating to your projects or when you need to rush something in completion for your clients (although that should not happen if you follow the first two hacks). Learn to say no when you felt that you are being exploited by clients. It is one thing to have a mutual agreement on your charges but another thing to ask for a high expectation, fast delivery, perfect work for a mere USD$1 per hour. Come on, there’s no good and cheap lunches in this world.
Use Readily Available Software
If you are taking freelancing seriously as a career, you should use readily available software (free or otherwise). I have Spellcheck and Grammarly for writing. I have Illustrations and Photoshop for graphic designs. I have Skype, Telegram, Slack for client communication. It helps if you learn skills from some of the popular software that your clients use to place you on a much better hiring rate. For example for operation and logistics management, it helps me to be well versed in Shopify, Wix, Zendesk and WooCommerce.
Draft out your work
Everyone has bad days and worst days. When those days come, I don’t go and hide under my blanket (trust me, I really really really want to). Being a freelancer may mean you have flexible timing but that also means you need to be more discipline when comes to sitting down at your desk to complete your job. But having a bad day means you probably won’t able to concentrate on your work to give it your best. In order not to waste time, draft out an outline of your work, throw in some ideas and guidelines or even pick the easier tasks to complete first.
Have different Skype or Chat accounts
When I am “off work”, it means I am ready to switch off. That means my Skype and other chat accounts that my clients have access to is switched off at 6pm sharp every evening for me to concentrate on my family. I keep a separate account for my friends and family to keep in contact. Sometimes it may mean I need to log in and out of my accounts on the same phone or invest in a second mobile phone if you are lazy or want to be reachable by your loved ones all the time. Yes, I have more than one iPhone.
Control Your Environment
Everyone has different productivity output when placed in different environments. As much as I know as a freelancer, I have the freedom to hang out at Starbucks while I work, I actually prefer my own home office. I hate any kind of distractions when I am working so having a proper environment is extremely important to me, otherwise, I’ll get frustrated. I have a little study room set up with adequate sunlight streaming in and with a pleasant garden view. The only folks that are allowed to disturb me and walk (make that pace) across my keyboard are my meows. And they only do that because I’ve been working too hard and missed their meal time by 1 minute. Demanding creatures!
I have more to share in my Part 2 of this article and it is coming right up. If you are thinking of being a freelancer or have been a freelancer for a period without success, I welcome you to drop me an email at kally@MiddleMe.net for a chat.