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I’ve been freelance writing/marketing now for about a year and a half on top of being a student, interning, and most recently, moving to Scotland. But today was my first day as a full-time freelancer.
It’s official: I have nearly 30 hours/week of steady freelance work with plenty of extra time to dedicate to this blog, one-time projects, and honestly, doing the laundry (I can hear those towels spinning!).
Being self-employed is so empowering. I was able to move halfway across the globe and still work for the folks “back home.” Now Casey and I have the freedom to study and travel off of my freelancing income. Honestly, it doesn’t get better than that!
If you’ve recently taken the plunge into freelancing or are considering the jump, here are some tips you won’t want to miss.
Three Things Every Freelancer Needs
- To Get Ready
I know, you might be thinking freelancers are like homeschoolers — you can do work in your PJs. It’s not that you can’t, but I don’t recommend it. Before this became my full-time gig, I’d often freelance after I got home from work. I never let myself put on my comfy clothes until I finished the project — Why? Because as soon as I was cuddly, there was no way I could stick in “work mode.”
If you’ve been in a traditional work environment up until now, it’s a good idea to get dressed, brushed, and fed every morning before “going to work.” I’m not saying wear a tie or heels, but try to wear something comfortable you wouldn’t mind wearing out of the house.
For example, on my “first day,” I wore black corduroys, my “referee” blouse, and yes, sparkly pink slippers because hey — I work from home!
- To Make (and stick to) a Schedule
Again, you might want to freelance because it’ll offer you more flexibility — and it will — but that doesn’t mean you won’t have work to do. Instead, it means you have no one to hold you accountable. The only person who can make sure you did your work is you.
So whether it’s Google calendar, and online app, or pen and paper, make yourself a schedule and work to stick to it. I’m blessed that I have some steady hours for both of my main gigs, so I essentially pick a time slot to do one job and then do the next job. But it’s not like that for everyone.
Make sure you have a “start time” and “end time” each day and strive to get your work done in those hours. I’m most productive in the mornings, so I start my work day at 8 a.m. You might be a night-owl, so start later (but remember your clients likely work on a “regular” schedule, so don’t work such strange hours they can’t get in touch with you).
I got the cheapest planner in the local Ryman office supply store in St. Andrews and planned out my week. You can purchase a similar one on Amazon here. (<< Affiliate link. It just means if you buy it from this link, I get a percentage of the purchase price. Yay!)
- To Create a Workspace
Order, especially when you have to be self-disciplined, is paramount. You might be tempted to work from your bed or your favorite comfy chair, but from experience, I know you’ll be drifting off to sleep or flicking over to Facebook when you try to work in your “relaxing” spots.
I live in a one-bedroom apartment, so I don’t have a designated office space. Instead, Casey and I set up work at the kitchen table. I cleared it of all “excess” and we each chose a side. It’s nothing glamorous, but it’s efficient and forces me to stay alert in a way my comfy chair couldn’t.
So there you have it! The three essentials for freelancers.