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7 Realities You Need to Understand Before Working as a Freelancer

7 Realities You Need to Understand Before Working as a Freelancer

The freelancing industry enables talented and hard-working people to cash in their skills and abilities. Nothing similar to it has ever existed. However, people have many misconceptions about what it really is and how it functions. Some believe that it’s a source of quick and easy cash, while others think of it as if it were a promised land for artists. The only way to truly know what’s going on in the world of freelancing is to experience it first hand, but I believe I can get you a bit closer to the truth.

You Won’t Have One Boss, You’ll Have a Ton of Them

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02 Man

    The first and the most popular misconception is that, as a freelancer, you’re your own boss. Technically, this is true, but in reality you need to answer to each one of your clients, because you have a responsibility to deliver a certain amount of material in a previously set time frame. To be precise, you won’t have one boss, you’ll have a ton of them, and each one will require you to be available 24/7, answer absolutely every email, and make as many corrections as they find necessary. Building a professional relationship with that many different people may be tiring at first, but it will help you develop your people skills. The secret is in being persistent and putting your best effort into satisfying your client.

    You Are in Charge of Your Free Time, of Which There Will Be None

    When you’re a freelance newbie, this part can be particularly overwhelming. Sure, you won’t have to mind the clock (except when it comes to deadlines), and you’ll be able to arrange your tasks however you find suitable, but – and this is one big but – this usually leads to doing no or very little work until you really have to. Once you realize that you can pull an all-nighter only so many times, you will either give up being a freelancer, or your organizational skills will go through an amazing change.

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    You’ll Have a Decent Income, but You Need to Get There

    03 Notebook

      You have probably heard or read about those unbelievable successful freelancers that don’t know what to do with their money anymore. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a lie, because finally consolidating your student loans thanks to freelancing, and making some serious money is possible, but not when you’re a clueless beginner. You should allow for a period of adaptation before your master plan of becoming a millionaire can be set in motion.

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      You Only Need a Website, but It Needs to Be Great

      Another misconception about freelancing is that you only need a website and the offers will come flying in. The first part is true – you do need a website, but it needs to be properly maintained, created according to the latest trends, mobile-friendly and updated regularly. Unless you’re a developer, this is going to cost you. All sorts of new age professions, like making a living out of blogging, seem so simple to learn and easy to do, until you actually start doing them. The success rate of online jobs mostly depends on how much you invest in your portfolio, which obviously requires dedication to passion projects, lots of experience and a desire to grow. The fact that you can direct your career by yourself and develop exactly the way you want is liberating, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to work really hard.

      You’ll Do What You Like, but You Won’t Like All of It

      As a freelancer, you can be as selective as you want when it comes to jobs. This obviously means that you can remain strictly in your area of expertise, which is pretty great, but it also means that you will have to deal with a repetitive processes, and similar tasks that simply can’t be avoided. Loving what you do gives you an amazing feeling of fulfillment, but freelancing is based on completing various projects, and all of them have similar stages, so be prepared for a bit of grunt work.

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      You’ll Be a Freelancer, but Also an Accountant, a Lawyer, a Project Manager and a Creative Director

      05 Profit

        Becoming a freelancer differs from everything you did so far. Your job description will include using all your previous knowledge to create some kind of content, but it will also imply that you handle your own transactions, making sure your rights aren’t violated, managing your projects, and being in charge of brainstorming. If you pay attention to unemployment statistics, the fact that one person needs to take on multiple jobs at once during a time when so many can’t even find one may seem daunting, but no one said that freelancing was easy money. Anyway, you better be prepared to do some serious research and expand your knowledge of some areas that you aren’t the least interested in.

        You’ll Be Finally on Your Own, but You’ll Be All Alone

        Being a loner might be fun at first, but once you realize that you didn’t change for the last five days, and that you haven’t talked to a real live person, will come as a shock. When people turn to freelancing, they believe their social life will flourish. We already mentioned how managing your time can be overwhelming at first – have no doubt, it will reflect on the way you spend quality time with your family and friends. Also, that lack of gossiping and annoying colleagues might seem like a great thing at first, but after a while you’ll be surprised with that feeling of nostalgia, which will undoubtedly appear. However, once you get the hang of it and truly start understanding your new job description, I’m sure you’ll get right back on the social track!

        Freelancing comes with many amazing perks, but you’ll encounter more than a few things you didn’t expect. It’s just a matter of practice really – the fact is that you’re changing your lifestyle radically and, consequently, you’ll need time to adopt and accept everything that comes with it. If you don’t give up easily, try really hard to develop your skills and work on your tolerance, you’ll get the hang of it.

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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

        How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

        We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

        So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

        While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

        Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

        What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

        How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

        But what does being productive actually entail?

        Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

        Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

        It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

        Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

        9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

        1. Avoid Multitasking

        Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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        Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

        If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

        2. Turn off Notifications

        According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

        Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

        The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

        Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

        3. Manage Interruptions

        There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

        Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

        If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

        By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

        4. Eat the Frog

        Mark Twain once famously said that:

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        “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

        What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

        We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

        Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

        5. Cut Down on Meetings

        Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

        You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

        The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

        But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

        If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

        6. Utilize Tools

        Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

        If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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        And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

        Some examples of tools that could be used:

        Communication
        • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
        • Samepage for video conference software.
        • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
        Task Management
        • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
        • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
        • Wekan for an open source option.
        Database Management
        Time Tracking
        • Clockify for a free tracker.
        • TMetric for workspace integrations.
        • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

        You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

        7. Declutter and Organize

        Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

        Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

        Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

        Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

        8. Take Breaks

        Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

        As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

        Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

        Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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        9. Drink Water

        Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

        Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

        Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

        A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

        If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

        You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

        The Bottom Line

        The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

        After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

        In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

        A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

        Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

        More About Boosting Productivity

        Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

        Reference

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