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5 tips to freelance effectively while working a day job

Sanjana Ray
17th Nov 2016
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The thing that no one tells you when you become a salaried person is that you start spending like a salaried person. Freshers entering the rat-race tend to live paycheck to paycheck. Since pride and guilt won’t allow them to make that call home for the extra bucks, most turn towards a more practical option – freelancing.

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You probably did it while you were in college for the extra pocket money, right? However, freelancing when you are a student with no obligations and freelancing when you’re working a day job with fixed hours with bills to pay are understandably different, and the latter more challenging. You have to ensure that neither job gets compromised in effort and productivity before you decide to take on a freelance project. Working a standard nine-to-five may make it challenging to set time aside to complete your freelance work on time, but there are ways to maximise the value of each passing minute. Here are some tips to help you do so:

Fix a schedule

Not like the one you set up for working out, because here skipping projects can get you into legal trouble, which is way scarier than putting on a few extra pounds. If your day job has fixed hours, then make sure to create a schedule around the same. For instance, if you work from 10 am to 6 pm, with a buffer time of an hour each to travel to and fro, then you can still work on your freelance projects from 9 pm to 12 am. You could even divide it through 8pm to 10pm and then the next morning from 6 am to 8 am. Whether at a single stretch or through time divisions, choose the most practical work timings for your freelance projects and stick to them religiously. Before you know it, you’ll fall into a routine, and working those extra hours will come naturally to you.

Take on a reasonable work load

You might tend to overestimate your own capabilities and mental stamina, and take on more freelance work than you can chew because of the money. But you need to realise that there is only so much your mind and body can manage in a day before it starts crying for rest. Working two jobs is stressful enough for your brain, but when you take on work that demands sleepless nights and mornings, chances are that you will mess up both. So stick to a balance, and accept the amount of work you know you will be able to carry on productively.

Take a breather between the two

In an effort to meet the deadlines faster, you might force your brain to go on an overdrive and push your tired body to keep up with it. However, what you don’t realise is that this might cause you to saturate sooner than you expect. Even if you’re working on something, you won’t manage to do your best. It is imperative to give both your brain and body some breathing space after working the whole day before you can jump back on the work-wagon again. Just like a horse needs rest and water before it can run another winning race, you need to rejuvenate before running towards the finish line.

Don’t mix up the two worlds

In most cases, people tend to take up freelancing jobs in the same field in which they work full-time. In such situations, chances of mixing up the two worlds is fairly high, which, in all probability, is a recipe for disaster. Say for instance, you are a writer who works in a media house as your day job. However, if you have also taken up a freelance writing job, then chances of similar content, clients, and writing styles double by the second.

The truth is, even if you are ‘influenced’ by your own writing, it still constitutes as plagiarism because the company you work for full-time owns the rights of the said article, and vice versa. Hence, when you start working on your freelance projects, completely detach it from the professional expertise which you employ throughout the day. Start afresh and come up with new, unique ideas which will work towards differentiating your freelance work from your full-time one.

Learn to prioritise

Your day job and and your freelancing projects will demand excess time on some days. You could be asked to work a few extra paid hours by your company boss, in which case you tend to lose those few hours you may have set aside for your freelance work. In this situation, you need to recognise which aspect you are willing to compromise on and work forwards with that clarity in mind. In this way, you know which one prioritise. So when the occasion arises, you’ll know which one to choose.

Do you believe it’s difficult to freelance while working full-time? If so, let us know in the comments below!

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