Many more people are presently joining the gig economy. Once seen as a “risky business,” freelancing has definitely earned its well-deserved title of a “real job.”
The reason is simple: freelancing leaves the worker with more free time. And is considerably less stressful than the usual hectic office work for a corporation.
However, unlike many people unfamiliar with this way of work think, freelancing is no less demanding or any less serious than any other work. On the contrary, many freelancers need to invest considerable efforts to secure continual projects. In addition, they also need to think of things like insurance because there’s no group option like in the case of freelancers.
As with all work types, there are numerous pros and cons. When it comes to freelancing (or being an independent contractor), there are a couple of tips that are needed by everyone, regardless of their vocation. Let’s take a deeper look into them.
Because many people who have just started freelancing think they can drag out their tasks. This type of work can often prove quite difficult in the beginning. The trick is in realizing that you will have sufficient time for everything – but only if you are disciplined and plan well ahead.
For people with fixed worked hours, the best approach is in making daily schedules and prioritizing tasks. For per-project workers, the trick is in organizing days.
High-priority tasks should always take precedence, just like they do for office workers. In essence, the practice is the same. You should allocate enough time for each task and allow yourself regular breaks. Don’t cut on either of these and be realistic. If you allocate less time than a task calls for, you’ll get frustrated easily and will end up putting on your well-deserved break. Rather than focusing on quantity, focus on quality. That is, after all, how it should always be, no matter where you work from.
And of course, don’t forget about scheduling meetings. Just because you are a freelancer, that doesn’t mean that you still won’t have occasional meetings, usually via Zoom or other methods.
2. Learn to Say No
Not all projects are good projects. Even if you’re a freelancer, you should learn to market your skills and not give in to unreasonable demands and low rates. There are many employers out there who look for a cheap workforce with few benefits to the freelancer.
Therefore, you should set your rate (a reasonable one) and not go below it, no matter how grim the situation.
Treat freelancing as any other work. If the wage is too small or the employer unsatisfactory, decline the offer.
3. Manage Your Time Efficiently
As mentioned above, it is crucial to know how much time you can allocate to each task, but also to leisure activities.
For example, there are many freelancers turned digital nomads. The greatest benefit of being a part of the gig economy is that it allows you to travel, meaning that you only need to mind the time zones.
How do you think people manage it?
First of all, time management is crucial here because the main reason why people prefer freelancing is that it allows them to use their time just as they want it. After the daily tasks have been finished, you can go wherever and enjoy your life to the fullest.
It’s funny that freelancing is the only option for people to be truly “free.” Whatever happened to the mantra that we do our jobs so that we can afford to live how we want?
Overall, the key to being successful when freelancing is in managing your time properly. It’s okay to oversleep once, but make sure to not develop the habit of procrastination, especially if you waste your time browsing your newsfeed and checking emails every two seconds.
4. Be Tech-Savvy
For freelancing, it goes without saying that they should be well-informed about technological developments, particularly about online communication tools and popular freelancing tools (e.g., Trello, Zoom, Asana, Skype, and similar).
Also, freelancers are always on the lookout for a better opportunity, and well they should be. The market is huge, and jobs in demand always offer new opportunities. That’s why it is important to keep working on yourself. Online courses, for example, are especially abundant and quite convenient for tech-savvy freelancers.
5. Master Both Hard and Soft Skills
Some vocations are just perfect for freelancers, and they actually encompass quite a large variety of once traditional office jobs. Common examples of both include virtual assistance services, customer support services, writing, editing, graphic design, web design, consultancy, and teaching.
As mentioned above, polishing your skills is a must but, frankly speaking, that should also be a normal thing for every professional.
When it comes to soft skills, freelancers are somewhat more demanding than traditional office work. Why? Simply because for many freelancers, their daily routine spells contact with international teams, and we all know that different cultures have different sets of values.
Respect should be common sense. Make sure to also learn something about your colleagues’ culture because it will make communication easier. Contrary to popular belief, online communication more often goes astray than eye-to-eye communication simply because not everyone is capable of expressing themselves that easily in written communication (emails), especially communication with potential clients. In the case of the latter, the first impression is also missing because your correspondent won’t see you and your expressions, so have a care. Be literate, concise, and respectful, and keep your messages concise.
As you can see, freelancing is great but also quite demanding. For people interested in freelancing long-term, it is essential to start thinking like a freelancer. Train your brain to avoid distractions, keep learning, and work on your online communication skills.
All of these can be learned, polished, and perfected over time, no matter how clumsy you may or not be in the beginning. Remember that everyone started somewhere. Success comes over time just like in the office setting.
Lastly, never lose sight of your goals. Ultimately, freelancing is all about freedom, so if you feel pressured – look for other opportunities or start your own online business.