Freelancing is a great way to make a living. From full control over the decision making to flexibility with your time, creativity and clientele, freelancing is a great choice for many designers.
It can get a little hectic, however, as being your own boss also means that you have to do everything in order to stay successful. Whether you have a 9 to 5 job or are a busy mom of three, freelancing on the side can be a little overwhelming.
There will be times when you will question yourself, your career choices and your sanity.
So how to be a successful freelancer and still keep your sanity, find time for your family and enjoy what you are doing?
The trick is to define what’s important to you, learn to say “NO”, become a master at organization, outsource when you can and ultimately find balance.
- Define What’s Important to You
Simply because your resources are limited, it is very important that every job you accept aligns with your goals as a freelancer. Don’t waste time working gigs that don’t interest you, don’t bring enough income or are not fulfilling other needs that you may have. You have to be honest with yourself and truly define what it is that you want out of freelancing. Stay focused and always aim towards your overall goal. The less time you waste, the more of it you will have available for things that are important to you.
- Learn to Say “NO”
Along the same lines, you need to learn to decline work if it doesn’t align with your goals and requirements. Whether it’s because it won’t bring in enough money, the client is problematic or the work doesn’t fall within your skill set, you need to learn how to walk away. This is very hard considering how much effort is put into obtaining clients in the first place but some gigs are not worth your time and effort. Again, you need to learn to categorize work by how well it aligns with your goals as a freelancer and accept or decline jobs accordingly.
- Become a Master at Organization
When you freelance on the side, time becomes your greatest commodity and you have to learn to protect it. Being organized is especially important and your efficiency will be critical to your bottom line. Everything that you do needs to be streamlined, from emailing customers, to project tracking, to billing. There are great online tools available to assist you with repetitive tasks so use them religiously.
- Outsource When You Can
Outsourcing is smart. Why waste time doing tasks that you either don’t enjoy doing or are not good at when you can outsource them to other freelancers or companies. If you are a designer, like I am, you can partner with content writers, programmers, marketers or other professionals who can not only be a lifesaver when you need them but can also subcontract some of their workload to you. As you build volume, they can become a valuable resource and help you generate income in areas outside of your expertise. Using outsources lets you juggle more projects at a time than you could possibly handle yourself, and ultimately will mean that you can make more money and do less work.
- Find Balance
Over time you will learn to balance work and other aspects of your life successfully. Through trial and error, you will figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. You will learn to recognize projects that will not be worth your time and stay focused so that your freelancing will not only be a sidekick but will become a successful career that you can enjoy.
There are many benefits to working a freelance gig on the side. Whether it’s for extra money, doing something creative or testing the waters before starting your own company, freelancing can be a great outlet for your entrepreneurial spirit. If you stay mindful of the 5 steps outlined above, you will be on your way to successful side job and still be able to enjoy time with family, friends and yourself.