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What Freelancers Should Know About Time Management

What Freelancers Should Know About Time Management

Most people jump into freelancing because of the time freedom it provides. Or, does it really? Does this mean all freelancers are better off than everyone else? In reality, freelancers don’t enjoy unlimited time freedom. We work on a schedule, too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day to budget.

If you’ve been toying on the idea of freelancing to have more time, here are important facts you should know.

There is no such thing as, “I can work when I want to.”

Freelancing comes with freedom, but with a price tag—responsibility. You can choose to work on your terms and schedule, but you can’t work when you only feel like working. This is business; you have to put in the hours to offer quality work to your clients. Freelancing requires hard work and perseverance. Prepare to work not only when you want to, but more importantly, when you have to.

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“I can work while on vacation.”

First off, vacation is vacation, work is work. Don’t mix the two, otherwise you’ll sacrifice one for the other.

Other people can work while on vacation. But not all people can do that. Determine first if you’re the type of person who can work while on vacation. But don’t confuse yourself by thinking that freelancing can let you have a vacation while working. It really depends on your preference and working habits.

“I can spend more time with family and friends.”

This can be the greatest freelancing benefit that you can have if you plan and manage your time effectively. You have to purposely allot time the time and stick with it. Set a schedule that you can work on so that you can spend meaningful time with your family.

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But if you allow your work to overwhelm you, you might not be able to spend your time with your family. It will turn out that you’re home, but it’s like you’re not there. So learn to budget you time wisely. Other freelancers love working early in the mornings or late at night, when the kids are still in bed, so that by daytime, they can spend the whole day, or most of it, with their family.

It all depends on your priorities and how you manage your time.

You have to be the boss and employee at the same time.

Without someone checking on your work, you have to be responsible enough to finish a job well done. Nobody will check your time in and out. So it’s up to you on how you spend your hours with the Internet or social media.

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Be prepared to be accountable. Other people don’t succeed in freelancing because they don’t have enough accountability.

“I can choose not to work on holidays and weekends.”

True. But with your laptop just around your bedside, this is almost impossible to do. Especially if you love and enjoy your work, it can be hard to pull yourself out of it! The best remedy is to set up a separate home office. Avoid going into your home office during holidays and weekends.

Be firm to clients that you don’t work on weekends. Once you give into a client that you can work for him or her over the weekend, you might be tempted to do it for another client again. And be firm with yourself, too! Make weekends and holidays non-negotiable, non-working days.

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Yes, time freedom is achievable, but only when you know your limits and responsibilities. By keeping these in mind, you’ll be better off with your time management and career as a freelancer.

Featured photo credit: dhester via mrg.bz

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Last Updated on November 19, 2018

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

How to Find a Suitable Professional Mentor

I went through a personal experience that acted as a catalyst for an epiphany. When I got fired from a job, I learned something important about myself and where I was headed with my freelance career. I realized that the most important aspect of that one rather small job was the influence of the company owner. I realized that I wasn’t hurt that the company and I weren’t a perfect match; I was devastated by the stark fact that I needed a mentor and I had almost found one but lost her.

Suddenly, I felt like J.D., the main character in “Scrubs,” chasing Dr. Cox and trying to rip insight and wisdom from someone I respect. The realization that a recognized thought-leader and experienced entrepreneur severed ties with me felt crushing. But, I picked myself back up and thought about five ways to acquire a mentor without having the awkwardness of outright asking.

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1. Remember, a professional mentorship must be mutual.

A professional mentor must agree to engage in a mutual relationship because, as the comedy T.V. series showed us, one simply cannot force someone to tutor us. We have to prove that we are worth the time investment through persistence and dedication to the craft.

2. You have to have common interests with your mentor.

Even if a professional mentor appears at your job or school, realize that unless you and this person have common interests, you won’t find the relationship successful. I’ve been in situations where someone I respected had vastly different ideas about what was important in life or what one should spend his or her free time doing. If these things don’t line up, you may find the relationship won’t be as fruitful, even when the mentor knows a great deal about one industry.

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3. Thought-leaders will respect your passion.

One of the ways you can prove yourself worthy to a professional mentor is through your passion and your dedication. No one wants to spend time grooming and teaching another who will not take advice or put the effort in to improve. When following thought-leaders on Twitter and trying to engage with higher-ups in a work setting, realize that your actions most often speak louder than your words.

4. Before worrying if he respects you, ask if you respect him.

On the other side of the coin, you should seriously reflect on those common interests and make sure you respect your professional mentor. Just because someone holds a title, degree or office does not mean that person is trustworthy or honest. Don’t be swayed by appearances and take the time to find a suitable professional mentor.

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5. Failure is often the best way to learn

I honestly have made more mistakes than I can count. I know I’ve learned a great deal from poorly organized businesses and my own poor choices. The most important quality I’ve developed is an ability to swallow my pride and learn from my mistakes. If life knocks me down nine times, I get back up 10 times. One of the songs Megadeth wrote, “Of Mice and Men,” resonates in my mind when I pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again for a goal I’ve set: “So live your life and live it well. There’s not much left of me to tell. I just got back up each time I fell.” Hopefully, this brief post can act as a professional mentor to you in your quest to find not only a brave leader but also a trusted adviser.

Featured photo credit: morguefile via mrg.bz

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