You see it on your Insta feed each and every day: young men and women flamboyantly and freely living the ‘freelance dream’, wining and dining and sunning and cheersing and laughing and flat-laying and actually-laying all over the world. And you sigh in disbelief, because you know the reality: freelancing can be a tough gig. It is time-consuming, self-sacrificial and can be super costly at first as you put your best foot forward and really give it (and your ego) a solid shake. The perils aside, once you’ve set yourself up and built a bit of a name for yourself, freelancing can absolutely be the most rewarding gig out there. Yes, even for you!
We’ve rounded up five healthy habits that promote a successful freelancing career. If you’re just about to take the leap or are considering the plunge, take a squiz:
As tempting as it is to work from your couch or armchair (or god forbid, your bed!) it is super important to create a dedicated workspace that feels professional, work appropriate and inspiring. Depending on what field you work in, create a space that inspires you to kick-butt at whatever it is you do. Are you an artist or designer? Build your own creative sanctuary with all the tools of the trade that you need. Are you an consultant? Seek out a space in your home that feels like a professional environment. By doing this, you will be able to separate your work life from your home life and hopefully avoid both over-working AND distraction (like the laundry, Netflix, the pantry, fridge, ceiling…).
Are you a night owl? An early riser? Do you work like a gun if you have a siesta at 2pm everyday? Well, that’s the beauty of being a freelancer! You can work when you are most productive and form your days around a schedule that not only works for your lifestyle, but promotes an effective working cycle, meaning you are on the clock when you are at your sharpest. A lot of people are not operating at their most productive when working 9-5, so creating your own schedule means that you can work when you know you are going to be at your peak, therefore, getting more done! Once you’ve worked out your ideal schedule, just make sure you stick to it! We’re all professionals here, so discipline is key.
As good as it feels to ‘get in the zone’, try to remember that a good break will rejuvenate you and make you even more productive, and when you’re your own boss, this is of utmost importance. If you’re making the transition from the daily grind to a freelance life, it can be hard to remember to take that lunch break without your colleagues to remind you. Walk out onto your balcony, wander to your local for a pastry, take the dog to the beach, call a fellow freelancer to say hello! Whatever gets you moving, relaxed, and in a refreshed frame of mind.
We know it’s tempting to skip the morning routines that are associated with ‘office life’ when you make the move to freelancing, but we promise that you will feel much more human if you treat your daily commute to desk the same way you would a trip to the office. Dressing the part is all part of maintaining a touch of the professional, even if you are working from home. Establish morning routines, get dressed with purpose and then, come knock off time, you can kick your shoes off and put your robe on. Party time!
Find yourself not leaving your desk for 8 hours straight? That’s probably a really great way to burn out. Get out of the house and take your laptop to your local cafe — a change of scenery can really do wonders. If you realise you’ve not seen another living soul for three days because you’ve been ‘in the zone’, why not invite some other freelance friends over for a working bee? We guarantee that the inspo will flow! Another good way to combat the solitary confinement is to schedule meetings at places that get your out of the house. If you’re meeting clients, suggest a brainstorming session at their office. This can be great to have a little taste of office life, even if it’s only for an hour or two.