The freelance lifestyle looks pretty fun and easy from the outside, doesn’t it? You wake up when you want, you work from wherever and whenever you please, you travel a lot or spend time on hobbies more than any of your friends, you have plenty of money to secure your financial future and satisfy every crazy idea or craving you have, a dream life really.
But what many starting freelancers or outsiders don’t know is that achieving and maintaining such a lifestyle takes good organization and hard work!
Here are five things you should do to truly live your dream life as you wish.
Change your perception and attitude toward work
Long gone are the days when your boss told you what to do, how to do it, and took responsibility for your mistakes. You are your own boss now. Learn some basic differences between being a freelancer and someone’s employee and act accordingly.
Don’t sit around, waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself. Put yourself on the market and charm your prospective clients. Create opportunities. Only if you believe in yourself, you will succeed. Adopt the proper state of mind for freelance success.
To succeed as a freelancer, you need to realize that you set the rules of the game and it’s your responsibility to play by them.
Hone your time management skills
You already know when you are most productive during the day or night? Good – set your working hours and tell your clients when they can find you online. This is the first step to proper time management. It’s crucial for your freelance success that you bring your time management skills up a notch. Poor time management leads to missed deadlines and hurt reputation.
Start by setting up your Google Calendar and learning how to use it effectively. Here’s a guide – this approach has helped me through the years to never miss a deadline.
If you’re serious about your time management skills (and you should be!), start by adopting these six simple but very effective practices. You can apply them right away in addition to using Google Calendar properly.
And finally, be sure to value your time. Whether you work by the hour or on fixed-price projects, your time is your most valuable resource. To enjoy a dream life, you should learn how to fit in your calendar all activities – work and play alike. Stop thinking about having or not having time for something. Learn how to make time for everything.
Develop key personal traits to succeed
Honing your time management skills is easier said than done, I know. I used to be one of those people who are always late for a meeting, procrastinating important tasks, never leaving enough time to complete a project … Is this you, I am describing?
No worries! You can develop some personal traits and skills to counter your natural proneness to poor time management and kick ass as a freelancer.
Self-discipline, persistence, professionalism at all times – these are just a few of the personal traits you have to aim to develop and improve continuously. Check out a list of my top nine personal traits you need to possess for freelance success. You can have all of them. Just put your mind to it and purposefully work toward developing them.
Know what you are up against and be prepared
As I said, many people only see how you enjoy your freelance lifestyle, but don’t ever how hard you work to get there.
You have to build a network of connections and database of happy clients, to have a steady workflow and not worry about paying the bills. You have to find like-minded people with whom to mingle in your free time, to counter the potential social isolation the freelance lifestyle brings with it. You have to choose your clients wisely. You have to be careful not to overwork yourself, too.
Freelancers too have occupational hazards. Learn about them and be smart when building your dream life as a freelancer. Planning always pays off – and in this case, the return would be an easy dream life indeed.
Build a work-life balance
How often do you hear that freelancers work 24/7 and don’t really know what vacation is because they always bring their laptops along?
True, there are many freelancers like that out there. Do you want to be one of them?
I don’t. I am not. And I think you should aim at a better life yourself. You didn’t quit your job to work 24/7 now, did you?
The most important part of the freelance lifestyle is the work-life balance. Here are 4 tactics to use and truly enjoy a work-life balance. They may sound like common sense but you’d be surprised how many freelancers fail to do them and pay the price by overworking themselves and still worrying about paying the bills. Don’t be like that. It’s not your dream life.
Most of all – know WHY you are going freelance
Ok, this is not really a skill you need to develop, but it could be helpful to always go back to the beginning. Why did you go freelance? What did you expect of being a freelancer? Are you anywhere near your goal? What do you have to do to get there? It’s particularly useful to revisit your reasons in tough times, when you are in doubt or on the verge of quitting. Remember why you became a freelancer.
See? I told you living your dream life is no joke!
It takes a lot of passion, devotion and true desire to change your life for the better, and for good. Do you have it in you? Do you dare to live your dream life?
Mariken Zuydgeest says
Sound advice as always. I have to say that I am truly enjoying my journey on becoming a ‘successful’ freelancer but will say that it also is one of the most involved jobs I’ve ever had. The amount of things, tactics and skill to learn and actually finding, keeping customers and providing your particular service do take more time than you would think.
Just so happy that people like you have been there, done that and now help us, starting freelancers and spell out some of the things we can do with actionable advice.
Diana Marinova says
My pleasure to be of help, Mariken – and if it’s any help, let me say that you are at the hardest stage of your freelance journey. It doesn’t get easy, per se, but it does get less hard with time and practice and good habits 😉
More power to you!
Another blog post that I can totally relate!
For me, creating a work-life balance is the hardest part.
I can never stop myself from working and get some rest or enjoy family life. This practice has even caused anxiety and hyper tension, as well.
Still, working on it everyday!
Thanks for the tactics to gain that balance I require.
Diana Marinova says
Hi, Unaiza, yes – overworking oneself is an occupational hazard for the freelancer, especially new ones who are so happy of being self-employed that they can’t get enough of it ha-ha. But as every thing in excess, it takes a toll on you. Hope the four tactics I share for achieving work-life balance will bring you one step closer. Do let me know how it goes 😉
I have met so many amazing people who have come online, started doing freelancing and have now gone on to do even more. It was a way for them to support themselves but they are making a full-time income from that and have found other opportunities and have gone on to build successful businesses from this.
I so admire those who have those particular skills, especially writing. One friends is creating a business around teaching others how to do this as well. There are so many companies and people who need services so it’s a great way to hire people to do those types of jobs.
Your suggestions and tips are awesome and I’ll be sure to share this one with my friends as well.
Thank you and enjoy your week.
Diana Marinova says
Thanks for your continuous support, Adrienne 🙂