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New year, new freelance career? Is your goal to start your own business this year? Then this is the perfect post for you because I’m going to tell you how to survive your frist year as a freelancer.
So not going to lie, my first year was a whirlwind. But that’s the freelance life you’re signing up for. It’s uncertain at times but also rewarding. Which makes it fun yet very stressful as well. To make sure you kind of know what you’re signing yourself up for, I’ve written down 5 personal tips that I’ve discovered after being a freelance brand stylist and social media strategist for 1,5 year.
HAVE A ROUTINE
I can’t stress this enough — mostly because I’m personally bad at it and suffering the consequences — but have a routine. I know it’s repetitive because I already mentioned it in this post. But it’s just important.
Sure you might’ve started a freelance career because you wanted more freedom but having a routine is vital. You can decide for yourself what you want your routine to look like, as long as you have one.
Set an amount of hours a day or a week you want to work and then decide when you work. This could be at 6am till 10am and then you take a three hour break. Whatever works for you! Having a routine will help you stay on track and disciplined. Two things that are important when you work for yourself. You don’t have anyone telling you what to do so you have to hold yourself accountable.
Another benefit is that your body will know when to rest and when to get to work. You need to have a body that’s well rested and ready to tackle your to do list.
PLAN WORK DATES
Another way to survive your first year as a freelancer is to find your local gang. Why? Because it can get really lonely. Everyone I know who works for themselves likes to work together with others every now and again. It’s the best of working in an office — having likeminded people around you to bounce ideas off of — but you pick them yourself while having your own business.
Have one or two days a week to work with another freelancer to bounce ideas off of or just to talk to. I personally have a women’s network meetup group with freelancers with whom I work with every week. It has been a nice way to have likeminded people around me but also to socialize.
So find yourself a local network you can join or maybe you have friends that are also freelancers, and plan to meet up. You could always go to a networking event to meet new people to get to know and meetup with.
RELATED: CREATE YOUR SIGNATURE WORK LOOK
THROW PERFECTION OUT, SETTLE FOR GOOD ENOUGH
I would never suggest to settle in life but when it comes to your work or your own products, settle for good enough. If you’re striving for perfection, than your first year as a freelancer isn’t going to be successful. Make a MVP — Minimum Viable Product — and make it better along the way.
What I’m trying to say is: start! You need to start and figuring things out along the way. Sure you need to know what you do, why you do what you do and who your client is. But you also need to start and not dwell on it.
To survive your first year as a freelancer you need to make miles. The only way to do that is to work work work work work. So settle for good, get started and pivot along the way.
IT’S AN UPHILL BATTLE SOMETIMES
Don’t let the image of freelancing on the internet fool you, it can be an uphill battle. There are a lot of up and downs. It can take time when your business is actual viable enough to live from. You will have to wait on companies paying you. And if you’re like me and focus on branding and social media, you have ton of competition. You have to use your network for projects. You have to go out and network more.
On top of that, you’re the only one responsible of how successful your business is. In the beginning you probably don’t have the funds to have someone help you out so you wear many different hats — social media manager, designer, web designer, online marketeer, etc.
To survive your first year as a freelancer you need to be realistic and you need to do a lot. And be prepared that — as much as you do — sometimes it does not work out. But always keep your eye on big price. You can’t let the negativity to get you down.
TAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF IS IMPORTANT
Yes, you need to hustle and probably going to work more hours than you would do in a normal job. Or on the weekends. But to survive your first year as a freelancer — and the many years to come — you need to rest.
Why? Because If you fall apart, get sick or burn out, you don’t have anything to fall back on. My body is just as important as my laptop for my work. I need to be focused when I design and I need my mind to fully work when I’m writing a strategy. But even If you put that aside, you only have one body and mind. Be mindful with it.
Resting is just as important as hustling for a freelancer. Take care of yourself.