1. time management
something that i have found to be wildly important as a freelancer is managing. your. time. it is so easy to get overwhelmed with ideas, to-do lists, jobs, clients, cleaning your kitchen, feeding yourself, getting dressed, having a social life ahhhh the list goes on. if you don’t properly manage your work-life balance, and your work life in general, you’re going to end up sitting at your computer staring blankly into the abyss for hours on end and before you know it, the day will be over. trust me, i’ve been here many, many times. so my solution for this is — get into a routine. know what you have outlined for the day, know when you start working, when you stop, etc. most importantly, have a chat with yourself to think about how many hours in the day you want to be putting into your craft, whatever that may be! for myself i know that in my days of being single, i put in way more hours than i do now that i’m in a relationship. it’s all about balance and where you’re at in life. all to say, there isn’t a right or wrong answer here. every person is different and has different lives and schedules that dictate how much we are able and willing to put in. so map it out and you’ll be on your way!
time management: what it actually looks like
going along with what i mentioned in the paragraph above, planning is such a great way to stay organized in your life and in your business. my biggest tip here would be to be realistic with your time and how much you can handle putting on your plate. don’t plan to be at two meetings an hour apart when you know they’re on opposite sides of the city. be kind to yourself and those you’re committing to and plan some extra time for yourself in between. enough time to get lunch, find parking, prepare notes, answer an email, etc. the way i like to do this on a daily basis is by physically writing out in my planner my top FIVE things to do for the day. it can be something as big as, shoot and edit a whole session or something as small as take my car to the carwash. whatever it is, i make sure that i only write down five things. no more, no less. i typically do this at the start of every day, or if i’m feelin’ fancy, the night before. this way when i sit down at my desk i know everything that needs to get done and don’t end up sitting on my phone scrolling instagram because i don’t know what to do. have a plan and stick to it!
boundaries are tough. in life, in work, in just about everything! but fortunately i won’t be lecturing you on social boundaries, cause that’d be weird :P however, i want to chat about setting boundaries for yourself in your work life, so you can make sure to have a social life too. it is far too easy to sit down at your desk at 1pm to work on a project and before you know it, it’s 9:30pm, you’re super hungry, tired, and haven’t put any focus on the “living” aspect of life. i’ve experienced this first hand and i get it. as a freelancer, the minute you stop working, your career stops moving forward, and that can definitely be scary sometimes! but rest assured, your projects and emails and all that fun stuff will still be awaiting you come 9am tomorrow morning. i used to struggle a lot with this, but the past year or so i have found a lot of stress relief in setting “work hours” for myself. this helps not only to have a work-life balance, but also to make sure i stay focused during those hours i have set for myself. for me, this looks like working from around 10am-6pm every day. after 6pm, i shut my computer, don’t check my emails anymore, and generally don’t do anything work related until the next day. this allows me time to unwind, be a human, eat dinner, spend time with my fiancé, watch netflix, etc. it also helps in making sure i’m not sitting in bed in the dark working at 1am. that said, it’s super important to keep the separation of work and rest. if you keep your laptop/phone/whatever you use to work and create out of your bedroom, you will soon start to see the difference in how your mind responds to being in a “work place” vs a “rest place”. so go set some boundaries for yourself! after all, you are your own boss.
4. staying inspired & motivated
this is one of my favorite parts about this wonderful job we get to have as freelancers. not only are we our own bosses and employees, but we’re also our own encouragers and supporters. let’s face it, working a freelance job can be extremely lonely. for me, most days look like sitting at my desk in my home office all alone until around 6pm when i get to go interact with other human beings. as i’m sure you have encountered or can imagine, that lifestyle can get pretty boring and un-motivating. but fear not! over the past two and a half years of freelancing, i’ve found some pretty awesome tips to help keep me on top of my game every day. first things first, you must work in a bright space. i cannot even begin to stress how working in a bright, clean space can impact your mind, mood, creativity, and productivity. i recently moved into an office with natural window light and it has made all the difference! along with that, try your best to keep your space clean. a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind in my book…but maybe that’s just my OCD talking. some other alternatives are trying out different coffee shops to work in, or a local park. being in a bustling space surrounded by other people doing their own things can be wildly helpful in focusing! i think everyone works a little better when out of their own home. some other things that i’ve found to help keep me inspired and motivated are to go on walks throughout the day and take little breaks to do other human things like make a sandwich or facetime my mom! speaking of facetiming, what’s even better is face to face…in real life. having a support system of likeminded individuals is so so SO important. getting together with a friend to have a smoothie and work separately on your own projects, together, can be wonderful. having someone to bounce ideas off of or to hold you accountable are both great ways to help keep the motivation on track! if you don’t have other creative or freelance friends, check out a co-working space like WeWork. i used to work at one these spaces and it was so fun! ok, i’ll stop rambling now because i could go on forever about this! go outside, listen to music, eat some fruit, talk to a stranger. i promise, you’ll feel alive.
5. put it into practice
this might seem obvious, to actually do your work, but often times as creative entrepreneurs such as ourselves, we have tons of ideas in many different mediums, can spend so much time focusing on having the right equipment or workspace, or planning out our to-do lists that we forget to actually do the work we’ve been called to do: create and run our businesses! this can be super difficult for me because i’ll want to plan out the color scheme of a shoot, pick a nice location, get the outfits for it, plan out a day, a time, write a blog post about planning out a shoot, make sure to post an instagram photo about the blog post, scroll pinterest to get ideas for shoot and before i know it, it’s been multiple days and i haven’t actually done the shoot. i think we often times self sabotage a bit by procrastinating the important work. it can seem daunting to put ourselves out there all alone, but once we actually take the leap, shoot that photo, launch that website, open for business, the whole workflow becomes a little bit easier. i want to encourage you guys to take those baby steps, giant steps, whatever it is you need to take in your businesses, because that’s the only way to get the ball rolling. if you ever feel like you don’t have someone there to push you, remember, you’re a girl boss, boy boss, entrepreneur boss of your own business and life, so you and only you can move those mountains in between you and your definition of success. you are only confined by the walls you build yourself. also, the great steve jobs once said, "remembering you’re going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose”. so what are you waiting for? you got this.
thank you so much for reading, i hope this post encouraged you in some way! i’m so excited to know that there are so many of us out here chasing our own individual dreams, and i’m so encouraged by the fact that we get to chase them together. before i go, i have one more bonus tip to keep in mind. freelance does not mean free. know your value, know your worth, and stand firm in what you believe your products, creations, ideas, and brilliant minds are worth. it is the most difficult thing i’ve ever had to learn, and i hope it comes easier to all of you! if you’d be interested in a post/youtube video/some other weird creation about my thoughts on value and pricing and all that fun stuff, drop me a note on instagram or twitter and let me know!
until next time,