Halloooo BGB’ers! 🙂 How’s it shakin’?
This is another post by guest author Chris Hoole and his take on why planning is the shiznel for freelancers.
Diaries, efficiency, breaking up, not down… well, you’ll just have to read it sweetcakes and see what he has to say for yourself.
Now make him feel welcome ya’ll.
You know what to do! (I hope.)
Some people fall into freelance work and others are pushed.
Whichever route you have chosen – or have been forced into – there are a few tips to help make your career as a freelancer successful and enjoyable.
Freelancing can be very rewarding – there are no doubts about that – but it can take a little time to get to the point where you fully appreciate it.
Being a freelancer usually makes you the envy of former colleagues, many friends and even family. You are your own boss, you manage your own time and in many cases you have considerably more control over your income.
What those who remain chained un-gracefully to the nine to five routine don’t see, are the extra hours, the hard work and the commitment you need to make the most of working for yourself.
Working for yourself means just that; you don’t get to surf the net endlessly on your employer’s time; you don’t necessarily get to take advantage of flexible scheduling; and some days when the sun is shining you still get to remain stuck in the office just like any other worker.
A lot of freelancers take the plunge and throw themselves into working for themselves from choice; others find themselves with little option thanks to redundancy, child care or other time commitments. The tips below are aimed more at freelancers from the latter category – AKA those with more than one plate to spin.
Plan your week; this may seem unnecessary in the early days when you have only one or two jobs to deal with. Not so when you have a raft of work to fit in, and other commitments to fulfil.
Planning can be crucial and if you do care for kids, elderly relatives or anybody else, planning your working week is really essential. The first thing to do is to pencil in the unexpected – those familiar with juggling other commitments will already know the unexpected may as well be factored into the diary at the start of the week. It will happen!
It’s also certain little extra chores will eat into your working week, leaving you tearing your hair out in the early hours of the morning, still trying to finish that crucial contract. So plan for them.
Working Nine to Five, or Four to Midnight
You may be a freelancer now who can manage their own time and tear up the office hour schedule – but be wary. Sometimes keeping a strict routine can help to get you settled into your new ‘free’ working life.
Boring, tedious and downright annoying as this may sound, standard office hours are not a bad thing for the online copywriter. I’m not talking nine to five – you can still choose your hours, just stick to them.
They can be four in the afternoon till midnight if you like – and if that’s when you work at your best then you’ll probably find it the best way to go. A routine may not be what you were expecting from freelance work – but writing requires time, space and a lot of concentration. Interruptions can be fatal.
Breaking Up, Not Down
Breaks are important, they’re the times when we refresh ourselves, find some inspiration and just plain relax. They are built in to the non-freelancers lifestyle – and they are also crucial for a freelancer working in any creative field.
Plan time off into your schedule, or you risk burning out. Don’t include time off to catch up on chores, care duties and the like, but good old fashioned ‘me’ time.
Breaks and days off keep you fresh and while you’re out and about enjoying yourself you’ll find some inspiration for an article or blog post while you are at it. Most artists and writers don’t really get time off, we’re always thinking, but this makes it more important than ever to plan some free time into your week. When you’re relaxed you’ll find the ideas start flowing- just keep a notebook handy!
The one side to being a freelancer is that it’s not your only task. Accounting and finances need some attention, along with other administrative tasks.
Maintaining your website and marketing yourself are other jobs you’ll need to keep on top of, so don’t put these tasks off. Nor should you think they can be done in your spare time – you won’t have any if you take that approach.
Again planning them into the working week and having regular slots for the boring but necessary tasks can keep you on top of the chores.
Efficiency is the key to working for yourself (it’s harder than you might think at first) but planning and being strict with yourself can make a serious difference – possibly the difference between success and failure.
Just remember, none of the tips above will work for everyone, but they’re hopefully a good start for those new to freelancing.
Most professional copywriters, designers, artists and freelancers of any kind will need to develop their own way of working, but the secret that the most successful freelancers share is a routine of some sort – even if it’s not apparent from the outside!
See? I always said there is a method to my madness! I feel so validated now.
By working hard and planning ahead, you’ll soon be benefiting from the lifestyle that those left behind in the old office, watching seconds pass by like hours, are so envious of!
Oy! Like this post? Gotta comment or three? Feel a furiously burning urge to share this information with someone you love? DO something about it dammit! Xo! Toodles!