Living as a freelancer is a dream for many, but it is a dream that may not suit everyone. While life as a freelancer may seem relaxing and fun from the outside, there are plenty of challenges to overcome along the way. You are basically in charge of your entire professional life, and every decision you make will affect your future.
As daunting as it may be, living as a freelancer does have its perks. You get to be more flexible with your time and can choose the projects you want to work on. These tips and tricks will help you prepare the things you need for a better life as a freelancer. Let’s have a look, shall we?
Know Your Emergencies
As a freelancer, you have to rely on yourself when dealing with emergencies. It is entirely up to you to prepare for a medical emergency, a sudden expense, and other emergencies you may come across along the way. More importantly, knowing the emergencies you will face—and preparing for them properly—is crucial.
With health-related emergencies, for instance, you can stop worrying about them when you have good insurance coverage in force. A health insurance policy can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have insurance as a freelancer.
There are options like short-term health insurance to help you get the coverage you need. You just need to learn more about your options before choosing the right policy to use. The same can be said for professional liability insurance and property insurance.
Other emergencies require you to be wiser with money. That brings us to our next set of tips.
Budget Like a Pro
When you live as a freelancer, the items on your priority list are slightly different. At the top of your priority list are savings and emergency funds. These two, when at the right amount, will help you deal with any emergency with ease. Knowing that you have what you need to survive makes living as a freelancer a lot less complicated.
To be able to save money and amass sufficient emergency funds, you need to be smarter with how you use the money you earn. This means knowing how to budget for monthly expenses and how to live within your means.
Ideally, you want to set aside 20 percent of your income for savings. You can split that portion between savings and emergency funds until the latter reaches a certain point that you are comfortable with. The remaining 80 percent of the income can be allocated for repaying loans, covering daily expenses, and investing in things that support your life as a freelancer (i.e. a laptop with better GPU).
Time Is Everything
When I first started freelancing, time management was my biggest hurdle. I was so used to procrastinating that I wasn’t able to manage my time properly as more work came in. It was very predictable; I ended up rushing through my tasks very close to the deadlines and producing sub-par results every time.
Yes, even when you can meet your deadlines, you may still end up with less-than-stellar results when you try to do everything at the last minute. Your brain works better when there is a tight deadline to meet? Yes, that’s the EXCUSE I used when I first started too.
Nothing beats good time management. When you have enough time to work on the tasks you have in hand, you can spend enough time on details and getting them right. When you do, you’ll start seeing clients being happier with your work. Happy clients lead to more work and referrals. Can you see how good time management matters now?
Document What You Do
Your communications with clients, the steps you take and the changes you made (to your codes or designs), and even how you spend your money are among the things you want to document. When you do everything by yourself, it is easy to lose track of things, tasks that need doing, and more. Documenting everything allows you to avoid most of the mistakes you’d make when you try to remember everything.
Even with communications via iMessage, I make it a habit to ask clients for approvals and feedback via email. Emails are searchable and communicating via email makes everything instantly available whenever I need to recall it. This is a habit I picked up from fellow freelancers too, and it is a habit that has saved me countless times.
Documenting everything is also good for personal development. It is much easier to evaluate past projects and learn from the mistakes you made when you have detailed records of those projects. You can find ways to improve your work as a freelancer too.
Lastly, there is a secret that every successful freelancer swears by: create a routine or several routines. What you do in the morning—and throughout the day—matters. You still have complete control over your time, and you can be as flexible as you want with how you use time; adding routines doesn’t mean using all of it either.
Adding a set of things that you do when you wake up in the morning or sticking to a set of things to do before going to bed at night adds a bit of order in a life that can be pretty chaotic. It affects the brain in a peculiar way, allowing you to have a more organized life as a whole.
The morning routine, for example, prepares the mind for the challenges ahead. The evening routine, on the other hand, signals the brain to shut down and relax. Routines you add in between serve specific purposes. The best part is, you can control the routines you add into your life depending on your personal preferences.
These five things will transform your life as a freelancer. Instead of being on edge all the time, you can be more relaxed, more organized, and truer to your objectives when you implement the tips and tricks we covered in this article.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina