Freelancing is one of the most popular job options in today’s society. Freelancing refers to a temporary working arrangement governed by a contract or agreement. Freelancers work from their own location and set their own hours. The flexible working space and flexible working hours are the major advantages of freelancing; due to these advantages, the number of freelancers is increasing every day.
Freelancing is a good job option for both professionals and students. Freelancers are offered a particular project or a list of tasks that they must complete by a specific deadline in return for an agreed-upon amount of money. Therefore, freelancing has host of benefits that can be utilized by people if they successfully manage the perfect professional freelancing life. People can freelance either part or full time. People who prefer working independently from their own comfortable space can take up full-time freelancing. On the other hand, people who want to earn an extra bit of money and have enough time to dedicate in other projects and assignments can take up part-time freelancing.
However freelancing is not as free and easy as it seems. A freelancer needs to manage a host of complexities in order to ensure success as a freelancer. Failing to manage the problems and complexities that come along with freelancing might result in heavy losses. Therefore, a freelancer needs to understand the complexities and manage such challenges to succeed.
As the article title suggests, a freelancer might not always be his or her own boss. To freelance on one’s own terms, one needs to maintain consistency in quality, quantity, and time while maintaining a healthy client–employee relation. This article discusses the complexities that arise in a freelancer’s life and the ways through which one can maintain consistency, manage client pressure, balance playtime and family time, and so on. Addressing these areas will help individuals maintain a balance between freelance work and their personal life, attaining success in both.
Before going through the ways following which one can maintain consistency and manage client pressure without disturbing family and playtime, a freelancer needs to understand the complexities of freelancing. The following points highlight the complexities of a freelancer’s life that might cause problems in working for oneself in a healthy way.
Balancing Work and Life
Balancing work and life is one of the major complexities faced by freelancers. Freelancers work from their homes and at their own flexible working hours, but failing to manage their flexible working hours properly might create an imbalance between work and home life and also might cause them to miss deadlines. Working from home during various hours can cause people to unconsciously mix up their professional life and personal life, which will create an imbalance in both areas. No one likes to deal with work issues during personal time. Similarly, no one desires to bring their personal life into the professional scenario. Therefore, freelancers should be very careful in handling both areas so that they do not overlap. They should manage strict freelancing hours and keep play time distinct so that neither one harms the other.
Meeting Deadlines Without Hampering Quality
The term deadline creates tension and havoc in the minds of every professional, be it a freelancer or regular office employee. However, for freelancers, deadlines are more complex as they monitor their own working hours themselves and might fail to do so perfectly. As a result, they might face great difficulty in meeting deadlines. Freelancers work from their own homes, unlike office staff, whose log in and log out details are recorded along with their work progress by a separate department. Freelancers might take this benefit casually and think that they can finish the job at any time, without scheduling any fixed hours. This is a mistake made by many ineffective freelancers. Without maintaining strict hours, the desired goal cannot be achieved in freelancing. Therefore, freelancers should always maintain strict working hours.
Another major difficulty faced my many freelancers is the need to create paying contacts. Unlike office staff, freelancers are not offered projects or assignments in a queue. They are offered projects as they become available, which might leave them out of work at some times. Therefore, they should always try to improve their contacts so that they can find a constant supply of projects and their earnings are not restricted. Developing contacts and acquiring new projects is not that easy. Freelancers need to brand themselves well and engage in networking. They should always try to be quality conscious when it comes to product delivery because there is nothing better than being in healthy contact with old clients. Therefore, gaining contacts is another important factor for freelancers.
Freelancers also face challenges with maintenance. In offices, any maintenance problem that arises is handled by the organization. Freelancers have to rely on themselves. They need to maintain their system, documents, and other tools at their own expense. Therefore, freelancers might face heavy expenses and huge maintenance problems at times, making their professional life difficult. Therefore, anyone trying their luck in freelancing should be able to accept such risk from the very beginning.
Although most people would like to work from home, the flexibility in time and space can create unique challenges. It might be depressing for some people. Working alone without having anyone around to share thoughts and discuss ideas might not be a healthy idea for everyone. Freelancers miss the fun and playtime of the office as well as the knowledge sharing with colleagues. Therefore, freelancers should always focus on maintaining a healthy atmosphere for work and ensure that they have the time and space for relaxation and entertainment during work breaks.
Factors of Success
Clearly, freelancing requires the ability to address these challenges effectively to be successful. Freelancers must be strict about maintaining their work hours and environment while addressing the other factors in order to ensure a healthy freelancing career. The failure to deal with all of these factors will cause freelancers to question whether they really want to be their own boss, which was one of the many reasons for taking up freelancing as a career. In order to be successful as a freelancer and play the role of boss over one’s freelancing life, it is very important to maintain three factors—quality, quantity, and time—to keep the employer satisfied. Until these three factors are addressed, freelancing cannot be a healthy and successful career. The following bullets discuss these factors in greater detail.
Separating Work and Life
As mentioned earlier, one of the most common problems faced by freelancers is balancing work and personal life. Freelancers work on projects from their own space and on their own time. Such flexibility can make freelancers feel that they can complete their work at any time, without maintaining a strict schedule. They may try to work in between life and manage both work and personal life at the same time. However, such an approach will not lead to success. Freelancers should always realize that they must be equally responsible and dedicated to their work as office staff are. Just because they work from their own space does not give them the ability to lose their focus as this will significantly hamper their professional career, creating sour relations with their clients. Therefore, a priority for freelancers is separating work and personal life.
There should be separate time for work and play that should be strictly followed. Working for 2 hours and then taking a break sounds fun, but it is really not. If a freelancer works for 8 hours a day, he or she should either work those eight hours all at once, whether in the morning or afternoon. Although they should definitely take breaks within those hours, the breaks should not be so long as to create a deviation in their work. In addition, they should be very strict about maintaining their freelancing schedule; otherwise they might fail to meet a deadline and might disturb their consistency and client satisfaction. Moreover, freelancers who work for more than one project and assignment should make sure that they divide separate working hours for each to be followed strictly. They should always inform their clients about their work hours so that they do not see any sort of disturbance from clients’ end in their personal life. The same applies to personal life invading work hours. It is likely that, due to the flexibility in timing and space, family and friends perceive freelancing as less serious work. Freelancers need to make them understand the seriousness of their work and inform them of their working hours so that they avoid getting calls to go shopping or to a movie in the middle of their work day. In this way, freelancers can keep distinct hours for work and personal life in order to maintain a balance between the two.
Managing Client Pressure
Another major requirement facing freelancers is the need to manage pressure from clients. Freelancing sounds free and easy, but it is not always so. At times it might be difficult to manage pressure from clients and satisfy their needs. One way to do so is committing time wisely. Freelancers should be very careful about committing time. Over-committing themselves is a common mistake among new freelancers and should always be avoided. It is important to be able to determine an accurate time estimate for the particular work or set of tasks so that they can commit themselves wisely. They should also be frank and direct in communicating timelines with their clients. Over-promising and then failing to achieve the agreed-upon deadline creates a bad impression on the client. Therefore, freelancers should always be sure that the deadline they offer is achievable. When determining a deadline, freelancers should include a little extra time to deal with any emergencies or issues might arise in the middle of the project. This extra time will also help them complete their work ahead of schedule, while will allow them to conduct a thorough review of their work before returning it to the client.
In addition, some clients might give unrealistic deadlines. In such situations, freelancers should not hesitate to speak up and discuss a more realistic deadline. Another way of managing pressure from clients is by managing clear and healthy contact with the clients to avoid miscommunication and confusion. Freelancers should be clear about their work hours with clients so that they do not get any interference from clients during their personal time. Freelancers can record a voicemail message to inform clients about their current status during personal time. In addition, actively responding to mail, chats, calls, and messages helps clients gain trust in the freelancer. Therefore, freelancers should be honest and clear when dealing with clients in order to manage their pressure.
Maintaining a Proper Workspace
Maintaining a proper workspace for freelancing work is critical. Unlike office workers, freelancers will not be offered a particular place to work along with all the requirements. Freelancers should organize their workspace themselves. To produce creative and good work and deliver quality work, a freelancer needs to put in the required effort, which requires concentration, focus, and a properly organized workspace. Freelancers might think that they can complete their work from any cozy comfortable space in their home, but this is not always true. Interference from family and friends is a major problem for freelancers that hampers quality work. Therefore, freelancers should organize a proper workspace where they can focus on work for long hours without interruption. They should create a workspace with enough space for concentration and focus. The space should be free from the hustle bustle of the house so as not to be interrupted by family and friends. A healthy workspace helps produce quality work. Therefore, an effective workspace is a priority as it will help freelancers maintain their focus and produce quality work.
Maintaining Work Requirements
Maintaining work requirements and organizing workspace with adequate facilities are important tasks for a productive work. To manage their work, freelancers need to certain tools, such as a computer, internet connection, and available phone lines. When working from one’s own space, one needs to take care of one’s own requirements. A proper system and connections are critical. To research effectively and be connected with potential employers, it is important to maintain a proper internet network system. In addition, a phone line will help stay in regular contact with employers. These fundamental tools are necessary for every freelancer’s workspace. In addition, freelancers need a big enough workspace or table to organize their tools while still being able to write something if required. Freelancers should also have a drawer to keep important things and a shelf to arrange external sources and documents. It is also important to have a comfortable chair and a proper lighting system to work effectively without causing any harm to one’s body or eyes. A workspace with the appropriate tools and organization will help ensure that the freelancer can work effectively and maintain consistency and quality.
Ergonomics is another important element for a freelancer to focus on. Through ergonomics, freelancers can enhance their workspace and make it comfortable enough for productive work. Freelancers who work long continuous hours might face certain health issues, like back pain, headaches, and vision problems. To avoid these issues, it is important to maintain good ergonomics. For example, freelancers should use adjustable chairs so they can readjust the sittings as necessary to maintain comfort without stressing their body. They should be aware of the proper sitting positions—straight and composed—to avoid body aches. As mentioned above, a desk that is spacious enough for a computer system and other working requirements should be chosen. Maintaining a proper distance between the desk and chair is important for comfort as well as to relax the eyes. When working on a laptop, using a separate keyboard and mouse helps work faster and more effectively. Other options for working ergonomically include using workout balls and other such equipment to relax the body muscles from the strain of continuous work. Using anti-glare glasses during work, performing eye exercises, and rinsing the eyes with fresh water can reduce eye strain as well.
Organizing and Tracking Time
Freelancers must not only organize their time, but also track it. Although freelancers can work flexible hours, as previously discussed, they should have defined work hours in order to meet their freelancing goals. If a freelancer is working on more than one project, he or she should divide work hours between the two jobs track time on each. It is important to organize work hours to ensure the completion of each project by the stated deadline and meet the employers’ expectations. Organizing schedules for work also helps maintain consistency in work, thereby providing quality work. In addition, freelancers should always track the time spent on every task to ensure that they are putting the correct amount of productive time in for a quality product. Tracking time will help determine the required time necessary to complete specific tasks, which will make freelancers more confident about their commitment in front of their employers.
In these ways, freelancers can enhance their workspace and ensure quality production. Maintaining a proper workspace helps maintain consistency in work; meanwhile, organizing time and engaging in direct communication helps manage pressure from clients. Addressing each of these factors will help freelancers manage pressures while providing quality work to clients. All of these factors together work together to create successful freelancers who are still acting as their own boss.