There are hundreds of reasons why working for yourself as a freelancer basis is a wonderful thing, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re going to go ahead and assume that, as you clicked on this, you’re aware of all the benefits and are contemplating or already doing freelance work from home. Love the world of working from your bed at 2 in the morning!
So pushing the benefits to one side; there are plenty of problems that working freelance can create. One of the most difficult to adjust to is the fact that you’re in charge of everything. If your computer crashes, you can’t just call the IT department and sit back while they fix it – that’s on you. If you’re struggling for motivation to complete a project, there’s no boss breathing down your neck to make you do it – you have to fight the procrastination for yourself.
To survive in the cut-throat world of freelance, there are a few things you need to equip yourself with. Is it possible to survive without them? Very probably – but you’re making your working life more difficult than it has to be. Take a jaunt down to an easier way of doing things and introduce the following into your life.
- Spare Everything
You probably have a main computer, all functional and up-to-date in terms of tech. It’s so smooth and runs so well you can’t imagine it would go wrong – and maybe it won’t! But you might knock it off the edge of the table, half an hour before deadline. Clumsiness happens to us all.
Unless you want a list of very annoyed clients, then it makes sense to have a spare for the essentials. They don’t have to be the same spec – a cheap alternative to limp through the rest of the day will suffice.
If you rely on an internet connection, then make sure you have a backup 4G service that you can connect to should your main provider go down. It’s also worth taking out business broadband, as the response times to any faults will be dealt with far sooner than standard residential.
- A List of Essential Sites
You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a project, need a symbol and find yourself having to frantically Google in search of the mathmatical symbols you need. Doing it on the fly slows you down and exerts more stress than it necessarily has to.
To avoid this, create yourself a document of all the websites you might need to utilize. Sites like to-do list managers can be helpful; if you write a lot, then websites which can help notice errors can make you seem more professional. You can look for alternative characters should your keyboard malfunction, or useful keyboard shortcuts when everything is working.
You should then add the spreadsheet file to your browser’s bookmarks bar. Then when you need it, everything is there and ready to go.
- Procrastination Breakers
If you ever find yourself tempted to check Twitter or fall into a Wikipedia click hole, then clearing the temptation will up your productivity. In a workplace these sites are generally restricted so as to keep employees on task; you can do the same thing for your home office computer.
You are also faced with other potential distractions, such as the TV or a bit of cleaning you’ve just noticed you missed. Get a board in your workspace where you can quickly record home-related necessities as they occur to you. You can then do them at the end of the work day, rather than breaking your stride as you just remembered you ran out of milk.
- Blocking Other People
When you work from home, you will have friends and family dropping around and calling at any time. For those who don’t work freelance, it can be hard to grasp that while you’re at home, you’re not free for a chat.
One way to handle this is to switch to voicemail at the start of a work day. Install a business line that you give to clients so you can still be contacted, but switch your personal landline (if you have one) and cellphone off. Add a voicemail message explaining everything is turned off so you can work – otherwise, people may worry as to why you’re out of contact!
Finally, to avoid personal emails clogging up your time and productivity, set a separate filter for personal emails and divert them from your inbox. Then you don’t have to see them during work hours but can check them when the day is done and your time is your own.