Being a freelancer can be tricky. One month it feels like you’re in a rap video, another month you’re facing a drought. Sometimes you like that you’re not a corporate slave, other times, you wish you were on a regular, monthly payroll. But freelancing is a skill in itself. There are habits you’ll need to inculcate to master this skill and to be one of those successful freelancers that just seem to have it all! Good pay, free time, vacation days, and all those other perks you’re jealous of.
If you were working at a corporate office, you’d have a login/logout time. You’d have a set amount of hours per week. As a freelancer, you’re in a way your own boss. No one tells you when to work or how to work, no one’s micromanaging you, and no one’s complaining about your irritating work habits to the HR. But that’s no excuse to slack off. Time management is an essential soft skill you’ll need in this career path, especially because it’s very likely you’d be juggling multiple clients simultaneously. Clear out a schedule every day for all your tasks, assign yourself some time-slots for each of them and make sure you focus on just that. Close the rest of the tabs until it’s their turn or you’d be lagging behind.
Maintain Good Client Relationships
Your clients are how you gain more projects. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool, so it is of utmost importance that you have a hassle-free, praiseworthy relationship with your clients. We get it, clients can be difficult. Vague briefs, multiple changes, late payments, that usual “Can you make the logo bigger” line, it can make your day tough, but it’s all part of the experience. Every freelancer faces these at least once in their career. (And that’s a major understatement). However, having a diplomatic discourse, prioritising their needs, maintaining a friendly bond and delivering your best, can often make them like and recommend you.
If you’re a Premiere Pro editor, start learning the fundamentals of After Effects, if you’re a designer, start a course on branding. If you’re an expert in your field, brush up on your soft skills. Every opportunity you get, seek growth. Try to become a more well-rounded person that brands would love to approach. Not only does this let you grab more opportunities, it also helps you justify an increase in your rates. And forget what they all say but money can sometimes buy happiness!
No one wants to play a game of dice while hiring a freelancer. If you’re not consistent with your work you’re leaving it up to chance. Chances are meant for Monopoly, not for real life. Whether it’s about your work being up to the standard or deadlines or your attitude towards a project, it takes hard work and certain sacrifices to be consistent. A freelancer doesn’t have the luxury of showing their bad days. All the tears, torn pages, half-hearted drafts and rough ideas need to be encapsulated behind a polished, finished result.
Give Yourself That Selfcare Sunday
Burnout is a real thing. You may as a freelancer often find yourself working longer hours, weekends and especially holidays. All work and no play makes Jack a depressed, frustrated, burnt out boy. Once you start to manage your time better, give yourself some “me time”. Treat yourself to a movie or some wine or both! Spend time with family or friends, have a satisfying, guilty lunch, go get a spa treatment, anything! Constantly working can very easily become counterproductive, so give yourself the day you want.