After decades of thinking of work as an industry, professional hierarchy and masses of red tape, the two main attributes of a freelancer have been that you are not as invested as an employee, and that there are enough people willing to do your work for less money. According to the Creative Growth Research Group’s Freelancing in America poll, more than 10% of all workers choose to freeload due to the reduced cost of doing the same work, and for freelancers, this percentage can get even higher.
There is little disagreement among freelancers about their use of technology, which has empowered them more than ever. Most also say there has been a general decrease in the time it takes to complete work in the last year. However, in addition to lower time spent, there is also a less engaging work environment — where freelancers are forced to work on an hourly basis, as opposed to a contract basis, to earn a living.
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As a result, many freelancers are opting to remain non-traditional and try not to take on any other income, as well as save money to invest in their career. But unless you have an edge in a certain field or enough time on your hands, how can you turn these new realities into a successful freelance career? Here are a few tips on how to remain a viable freelance option.
It is easy to turn your freelancing into an “everyday job,” and this doesn’t help your brain relax while you work. Instead, recognize that being on call 24/7 is just another chore that doesn’t affect your bigger projects. Try and stay focused on your big projects, and do a better job to avoid getting stuck on tasks that are never done.
While it will be hard at first, accept that your focus must also be on another activity that keeps you busy and positive.
Eat and sleep well.
As a freelancer, you need to be good about living. If you have a husband and an infant, you need to be good about eating healthy, and if you’re a mom, you should be good about being awake and well rested.
These two areas will help you stay focused on your work and enable you to perform well under high pressure.
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Find a coworking space.
Found-space urban co-working spaces can help you work out of manageable locations and eliminates the public transit costs. If you have clients, however, there’s no substitute for time together. That’s why we often work out of small businesses as an alternative to the large corporate companies that have established office spaces.
Buy stock in the brands you work with.
Stock markets used to be reserved for the wealthy and most people did not have access to them, but with newer investing strategies, it is not as complicated as it once was. Instead of placing money in your general investment account, it’s now possible to pick specific industries that you think will improve your career trajectory, or service a group that you think will grow.
Granted, many of these companies have very unpredictable growth rates, but diversifying gives you higher gains.
Take time out to do other things.
Who doesn’t have some downtime in their hectic schedule? The key is to find activities that you enjoy that don’t have to do with your field. Whether it’s taking a walk or cooking simple meals at home, taking a chance on experiences you enjoy will help your productivity.
Have free time also allows you to meet new people and get to know people that will do great work for you in the future. Whether you’re an urban farmer who gets to work for $50 per hour or a chef working in a fast-casual restaurant, being present has an effect on both your job and your personal growth.
Never become complacent with your work.
Being a freelancer will never be as easy as a traditional job. Even if you have a large portfolio and make $100,000 in the first year, there is always the possibility that your company will shift its resources away from your project and onto something else. You may move to a different part of the country or take on new clients. Freelancers need to always be willing to re-evaluate projects or new clients, and always be adapting their approach for future opportunities.
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