(by Tawhid Ahmed Shoriful)
Freelance writing is great. The freedom of working from anywhere, creating your own schedule, freedom to pick up everything, and leaving at a moment’s notice — all these are considered a dream life for most freelancers.
Truth be told, one of the reasons I started my freelancing journey was to pursue this dream. And being into this freelancing lifestyle for a year, I can say that this dream is far from reality.
Freelancing as an industry is growing really fast, and staying afloat in this industry is no walk in the park. There is a lot of stress revolve around freelancers’ life. Dealing with multiple clients at the same time, deadlines, working long hours, and marketing yourself on social media takes a considerable amount of your
time and energy.
And it gets really tough to maintain a healthy balance between your personal life and freelance life, especially when things are going well.
Since your income depends on how much work you take up and deliver, it’s tough to stay away from the constant lure…… just one more hour of writing, just one email, just one sleepless night. This kind of attitude will leave you more tired than ever and will disrupt the balance between your profession and personal life.
After a lot of trial and testing, I found a sweet spot for my freelance works, and I’m sharing some of the strategies that helped me to manage my freelancing with my family and friends.
Create a Schedule
The first lesson I learned within my first month in freelancing is how important is it to make a schedule — and sticking to it. Because you are your own boss, and nobody is here to tell you something, its tough to keep track of the time. I usually make a rough schedule for the next 3–4 days in advance. It’s not a strict schedule. I can bend it a little, but having everything organized kicks out the possibility of overworking, and I can give my family enough time.
Don’t Go After Money, Know When to Stop
I’m guilty of this one, and I still go after money sometimes. Being a freelancer, you are working from the comfort of your home, and it’s tough to define when to stop. But this is an essential aspect of freelance life. There are plenty of things besides working for your client. Learning something new, writing some guest posts, reading books, etc. And you can’t do all these if you are bogged down by client work.
So don’t overload. And don’t be afraid to say no to extra work. You started freelancing to make freedom your priority, don’t lose it at any cost. I personally take tasks that I can complete within 20- 25 days a month so that I have plenty of time for myself.
Set Clear Boundaries Between You and Your Client
Communication is the key. If you don’t understand what exactly the client wants, you won’t be able to complete it within the time. Set expectations at the beginning of work. It will save a lot of time both for you and your client.
And most importantly, state your availability time very clearly. You do not want your client to call you in the middle of the night. ( Believe me, happened)
You are a freelance writer in the 21 century. And if you are like me, you probably like “writing” more than other works like finding clients, pitching, making invoices, and marketing yourself. These works can cut back your ‘Me-time” notably.
But, you can make your life easier by automating most of the work like client on-boarding, creating invoices, researching for work, finding work, etc. These will significantly free up your time, and you can invent that time for your family, friends, or your own self.
As a freelancer, you will experience that work often comes on waves- in a when-it-rains-it-pours surge. At this time, it’s better to ask other professionals to help you.
Also, you can hire someone to do household tasks, as those works eat up a lot of your time that you can invest in your business and personal life.
Learn Social Media
Social media is the biggest marketing tool you have. And you can’t afford to lose on it. The more your work is visible onor , the more chances you will have to acquire clients. So, you must understand the social media algorithm to make it work in your favor.
As a freelance writer, taking breaks can be scary. You may feel that if you stop working for some time, you may lose clients. But breaks are necessary for long term health and well-being, especially for freelancers because we stay under stress all the time.
So, take breaks and give that time to your family, friends, or even yourself. You’ll see yourself coming back with more energy and more dedication to your work.
Life is too short to spend doing just work and not enjoying it. Instead, balance your life smartly so that you can complete the most amount of work within the least time and spend the rest of the time relaxing and spending with family.