The freelance lifestyle has a lot to offer, freedom and flexibility. It also has a lot of stress associated with it. The main reason for this is the fact that you’re at it alone.
You’ve got a whole business with many different aspects for you to manage all by yourself. You’ve got to manage client work, marketing, admin, bookkeeping and accounting all at once. It’s a lot to take on and a lot to learn.
With that in mind, here are ideas to help ease the stress of running your own freelance business.
Look after your health
Make sure you’re actively looking after both your physical and mental health so that you can work to the best of your ability. Get regular exercise, eat well and schedule breaks throughout the day.
We all know that working at a desk all day is bad for your health. However, if you work at home it might end up being worse if you’re never leaving the house.
The good thing about working for yourself at home is that you have the flexibility to get up and go out whenever you like. This makes it easier to get out and exercise during the day if you’ve got the will and the ability to fit it in with all your other work. You could also be making the most of off-peak gym memberships and saving money.
Separate your business from your personal life
Try to keep your personal and professional lives as separate as you can. This is usually difficult if you work from home but it’s all about setting boundaries with yourself. If the two sides bleed into each other, you’ll struggle to switch off. This will affect your concentration and energy levels.
Make time for yourself
Proper rest is essential for working at your best. So make sure you’re finding time to do the things you enjoy that are separate from your business.
The freelance life can also be a lonely one. Avoid isolating yourself working at home and make an effort to get out and see friends or family or network with other freelancers if you can.
One of the most important things you can do for your business is learn how to become efficient and manage your time efficiently, freeing you up to spend more time on client work and therefore earning more money.
This means that you should look to cut down the amount of time you spend on other duties like accounting or admin. One way to do this is to automate as much of your business as you can.
So take a look at automation and apply it to your marketing efforts, social media posts, payments systems and email lists to free up some time.
When you get into the routine of booking clients it can be tempting to take any work that comes your way, thinking that you’ll be able to grow your business faster. The reality is that you’ll probably reach a point where you’ve taken on too much. If you take on too much, your work will end up suffering and you’ll end up with unhappy clients.
Try not to panic when you reach that stage and instead take it as a lesson on your work capacity. If you’re finding that you can’t say no to clients, it might be time to raise your rates so that you don’t lose money doing less work.
Do the work you want to do
Following on from the previous point about only doing the work you can actually do, think about what type of work you want to do.
If you’re providing a couple of services and you hate doing one of them, don’t offer it anymore and refer clients to someone else. You might not want to lose the money but if you end up doing more of the one you actually like doing, you’ll approach your work with more enthusiasm and energy.
Know when to get help
Eventually when business is going well and you can afford to, outsource some of your daily tasks to free up your workload. If you free up your time, you can fit more client work in, time you’re getting paid for. You will probably end up covering your losses from outsourcing that way.
How do you combat stress in your freelance business? What do you think the most stressful part of freelancing is? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.