When you think about the possibility of working for yourself, it seems magical. There’s no one telling you what to do. You can work on projects that bring you joy. You determine what you earn. You also have the advantage of working from the comfort of your own home. Though these are all true in the world of freelancing, there’s more to being self-employed than meets the eye.
Essentially, being a freelancer or entrepreneur isn’t for everyone. While some thrive in that dynamic others can travel down a horrible path to destruction. That’s not to say that becoming a freelancer isn’t worth it. It simply means that you need processes in place to overcome these common obstacles.
Too Many Hats
It’s not uncommon for freelancers to do all the work themselves. This is alright in the beginning stages of your business, but, eventually can wear you out. When you’re the web developer, accountant, receptionist, customer service rep, marketing expert, and face of the business, it’s simply too much. This can lead to chronic stress or burnout. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, mental confusion, insomnia, body aches, weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, and in some cases, addiction.
If you've developed any of these symptoms as a freelancer it is imperative to get help from your doctor, therapist, or drug detox program. You also need to reduce your workload. This could mean researching tools and applications that can help to streamline certain processes. It could also mean hiring someone on a contract, part-time, or full-time bases.
Though you hopefully put away a nice nest egg before deciding to ditch your job and become a freelancer, money can still be tight. You can set your own rates, however, if there aren’t enough interested customers or clients providing regular income, this can become a problem.
Don’t let your finances sidetrack your efforts to become a successful freelancer. To overcome this obstacle, it is recommended that you look for other revenue streams. There are hundreds of ways to easily make money online. Having more than one avenue keeps you afloat when your main job isn’t bringing in enough. Also, reducing debts and adjusting your household budget can help you to live within your means.
You might be thrilled that you no longer have to work in a cubicle next to your coworker that slurps on coffee all morning, but working at home can get lonely. You’re glued to your computer for a better part of the day while everyone that you’re used to interacting with is at work or school. This form of isolation isn’t for everyone and can become very depressing.
To get over loneliness as a freelancer you’re going to have to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to take the laptop and go work at the coffee shop or nearby park where you can interact with others. You can also join clubs or organizations within your community. Lastly, schedule quality time with friends, former coworkers, and relatives.
If you thought that finding work-life balance was difficult at your previous job, try talking to a freelancer. What you’ll find is that the lines often get blurred fairly easily. You’re home all day long which means that your personal life can intertwine with your professional life (and vice versa). You’re trying to work on an assignment but can’t help but notice that the house needs to be cleaned and you need more groceries. Or, you’re working 10-hour days and neglecting the household. Either way, it’s a pain.
Finding a balance between your home and work life isn’t easy. You’ll need to assess your routine and make adjustments accordingly. Set solid working hours, set a time for completing household chores, and create a schedule that allows you to spend quality time with loved ones or be there when they need you. You might also ask for support from other relatives, streamline work processes, and/or outsource mundane tasks to free up your plate.
Freelancers spend a better portion of their day indoors in front of a computer screen. This means they’re not getting a lot of sun exposure nor are they getting adequate physical activity. There’s also the added distraction of having tons of food at your fingertips - often food that’s not the best for you. All of this eats away at your health.
Your health needs to remain a priority. Create a schedule that allows you to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week. You should also pencil time away from the screen every day. Go for a walk in the park, treat yourself to a healthy snack, or go prospecting for clients in public. Last, but not least, stock your kitchen with healthy eats and create a meal schedule so you’re not gorging all day on junk.
Being a freelancer is very freeing and it can be a lot of fun. Be that as it may, this lifestyle comes with some obstacles. Heavy workloads, financial struggles, loneliness, work/life balance, and overall health are all matters that can become an issue if you don’t have a plan in place. Utilize the advice above to reduce the stresses of being a freelancer for a more rewarding experience as your own boss.
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