Freelance work is something that many professionals turn to when they’re either looking to go out on their own, or looking for a little more flexibility in their work schedules.
For us, the perfect work days are ones that allow us to enjoy the things we love – whether that’s an early morning surf or watching the kids train in the afternoons.
This flexibility is a real privilege but we find people tend to fall short of their own expectations when they lose the routine that comes with 9-5 office work.
It’s one of those business moves that’s daunting to some and a dream for others.
What’s undeniable is that it’s a lot of work to get started and something that takes a lot of organization, dedication and motivation to stay successful. This is why consistency can really help your business find its feet.
CONSISTENT WORK PLACE
When you’re a freelancer you can essentially work from wherever you want. Rent a desk in a shared workspace, take a seat in the corner of a coffee shop or curl up on the couch with your laptop.
Regardless of what environment you choose, it’s important choose one that’s going to boost your productivity rather than one that’s just comfy and convenient.
Home offices are good for some because they allow you to create an environment that specifically caters to your needs as a freelance worker. You decide where your desk is situated, you decide the dress code and you pick your work hours.
Another benefit is the 100% cost reduction in sourcing and utilizing an office space. Renting a traditional office space can take up a big chunk of your weekly wage. Because you work from home, you also eliminate the need to purchase ‘work appropriate clothing’. Not to mention the total reduction of all travel expenses getting to and from work! Then there’s the added benefit of being able to eat lunch at home, and not forking out money for restaurant meals or takeaway lunches.
The downside of home office work is that you need strong self-discipline to remain productive, which is always a struggle. Having the ability to say no to the thousands of distractions that exist at home is hard. Especially when you’re not really being held accountable for your time. Your overall success as a freelance worker rides on your ability to push distractions aside and get your work done.
Another complication comes with the isolating nature of working from home. Many people prefer to be left alone to work. They enjoy the solace of sitting down and getting their work done without distractions. Others struggle to find creativity and motivation when working in a collaborative environment when they’re on their own.
Shared Office/ Co-working Office:
Co-working/shared offices are great for people that lack the discipline needed to stay on task or the creativity to work without collaborating.
They allow you to work in an environment that’s similar to a traditional office, but without the boss and the regulated work hours. What you get instead is the routine of actually going somewhere to work (for those that might need it). Some say it’s the greatest in between you can get as a freelance worker.
The social aspect of some co-working spaces is another draw for many people. Instead of building a community of people within your business, you build one with other tenants sharing the office space.
The obvious downside for many people is having to pay for the rented space. This price will vary dramatically depending on where you’re located and the office size. Though, the contracts and leases are typically flexible and tenants will usually pay daily, weekly or monthly contracts.
Depending on where you’re at in your business, it’s definitely worth considering what you can and can’t afford.
CONSISTENT WORK HOURS
Having flexibility in your working hours is the main appeal of freelance work. This is because of the power you have to shape your working days and weeks in any way you see fit. When that becomes the focus however, it’s easy to lose the results that you could usually achieve with a more robust routine.
But it’s important to try and regulate your days and boost productivity with a schedule.
Some see schedules as something that takes away from this freedom. However, we see it more as something that ensures that you’re working the right amount. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have set 9-5 hours, it just means that you’re not working too little or too much. This happens to everyone – answering calls outside of work hours, replying to emails etc. All of this is fine, as long as it doesn’t become the norm, and as long as other people in your life don’t get too accustomed to it.
Having a schedule tells your clients and customers when you’re available. If you stick to these hours consistently, your customers, friends and family will respect them. (Which means less errands for the parents, and no mid-week play dates!)
Scheduling is also a smart move for those with a lot on their plates. It’s too easy to forget about the little things and neglect others without something or someone reminding you to do it.
Being run down and tired at work is the biggest productivity killer. You will make the most of your days when you’re feeling refreshed and energized – so remember that being busy isn’t a good enough excuse to neglect your breaks.
If you’re working in a job that involves sitting and concentrating for long periods of time, you need to be taking frequent breaks. Even if they are only small ones, they will prevent listlessness which is likely to lead to silly mistakes. (Something freelance workers can’t really afford)
BUT you don’t want them to become disruptive to your work flow either. Set consistent breaks so that that when you take a break, you’re not getting caught up with tempting distractions. This can become especially dangerous if you’re working from home (ie. Laundry, children, perfect swell!)
Freelance sites such as Upwork are a freelance worker’s best friend. Simply create a profile that shows off your experience and qualifications and get bidding.
The sign-up process is simple and you get to choose who you’re working for, and how much you want to be paid.
Some people are willing to pay the big bucks to get quality work done, rather than getting paid next to nothing for a crappy job.
Many of these small tasks will turn into consistent work if you approach it properly too. Use these projects as a chance to build relationships with your clients. If you enjoy working for these people let them know you’re interested in future work with them. Treat them with respect and be courteous when making your offer.
Some projects are even listed as long-term work. Complete some tasks for a few different companies and you’ll build up a comprehensive trove of contacts.
Be aware that these sites are not exactly free services. Almost all of them work by taking a percentage of your cut, so take that into consideration when placing your bid.
It’s best to stick to the more popular freelance sites as they have a larger and more active base of clients.
Networking and Referrals:
Alternately you can do things the old way and work off networking and referrals.
Another great way to source new clients is through networking events. Make sure you keep a calendar of promising events. Introduce yourself to everyone, without being too pushy or available. Bring cards and be well-rehearsed in your spoken resume. Always leave them with something to remember you by.
Referrals are great because next to being paid, it’s the best way you can be rewarded for a job well done. Do a great job for your clients, be courteous with your rates and ask for a referral in exchange.
Create and share original blog content to demonstrate your expertise. Participate in relevant SM conversations and share helpful advice to your followers from industry experts. (This might also work to get you noticed by big industry kahunas!)
It can sometimes feel like things are chaotic and constantly changing when you’re doing freelance work. We believe that all of this can be aided by consistency. Consistency in the work place, consistency in the work hours, consistency in your work load and consistency in breaks.
Garner this routine and stability in your work life and make way for a more consistent income and consistent results. At the end of the day a steady income and client base is what it’s all about and these tips will help you get there.
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