Choosing a career as a freelancer is a great option that can provide a ton of freedom: you can choose your hours, pick the projects you want to work with, and quickly scale the business, all while making money for yourself rather than for someone else. This may come with a lot of disorganization, so a project management app for freelancers can be very beneficial. It also offers a good deal of work/life balance that you can’t get from other jobs.
One of the dangerous parts of being a freelancer and starting out on your own is that you may end up working a lot of hours to get your new career off the ground, primarily if you work this on the side of a traditional job. The result can be dangerous burnout that sidelines your ability to complete projects. In fact, it is estimated that 43% of freelancers are close to burning out from work overload.
If you want to be successful as a freelancer, you will need to consider some of the steps to help you avoid burnout so you can get more work done and satisfy your clients while working hard to grow your freelance business. Here are some methods to help you keep up the workload without overdoing it.
When you are not able to set boundaries on your time, then you will burn out faster than before. While you may make your clients and wallet happier initially, there are only so many hours in the day, and soon you will wear out and not be able to get it all done.
If you plan to stick with freelancing for a long time, you need to give up overworking and find a good work/life balance instead. Come up with a predictable working schedule that allows for some flexibility. This will grant you much-needed time with the family and ensures that you can take a break from work too.
Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
As a freelancer, you must avoid the trap of comparing yourself to how much work others accomplish or their achievement level and competence. This can be a great motivator, but it is all too easy to go too far trying to improve yourself. You may feel let down when others perform better than you, but this is more about their short-term achievements than what they can do over the long term. Just because other freelancers achieve more right away than you, or more in one day, doesn’t mean they will be able to do this forever.
There is no right or wrong way for you to approach some of your work flow. Figure out the best schedule for you and then work with that. Whether you do this part-time to earn extra money or turn it into a full-time job, it is time to stop the comparison games.
Have Clear and Concise Goals
Most freelancers decide to overwork themselves to try to make even more money for themselves. In the beginning, you may be required to work more as you build relationships with clients and grow your business, but this is only sustainable for the short term. In fact, you could be working yourself into burnout, and then you won’t be able to get anything done.
To reduce negative consequences, you need to prioritize your most important work and get that done. Know the goals and your deadlines and work methodically, saving the least important projects for last. Consider how to break down each assignment so that it is easier to check the box when you are done.
Make Free Time
As a freelancer, you may assume that you have to work all day, every day. You are the one in charge of the career, and it can be hard to take a break when you see other projects that need to get done or feel worried that you won’t be able to make enough money along the way. You do need to make some free time for yourself, time that you will not do any work so that you can keep your productivity high by recharging.
Whether this is setting certain hours you work and then ignoring the work otherwise or skipping a day each week and making that the time you spend with family and friends, you will find that this free time adds more flexibility and gives you a chance to rest and recharge, making your business more efficient and avoiding issues with burnout.
Build Long-Term Relationships with Clients
Trying to find new work from one month to the next can be stressful rather than exciting, and this occurrence can be even more challenging as a freelancer. No one else will be worried about whether you make enough to pay your bills except you. This is why you need to take the time to form long-term relationships with your clients rather than changing them all the time.
Some of the ways that you can do this include:
- Reward your clients: This can be as simple as a thank you or offering them some discounts to get them to work with you again.
- Meet your deadlines: Nobody is happy when you turn in the work late. Meet or exceed your deadlines to impress all of the clients.
- Provide some value: Whether you show your quality work or provide extra services to the client, show them that you are valuable and worth their time.
- Communicate: Keep the lines of communication open the whole time. Ask questions and check in with the client to show them that you are there and ready to provide them with the needed assistance.
- See clients as people: Never see your clients as merely a source of income. You need to treat your clients as people and learn more about them too.
The Bottom Line
As a freelancer, you are the one in charge of all your work. This can bring about a lot of freedom, but it is also possible for you to work too hard and not take care of yourself along the way. Having a desk bike at home can be a great way to stay active while taking on your freelance work. By setting feasible goals, working at a measured pace, and building strong bonds with clients, you will make it easier to avoid the dangers of freelancer burnout.
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