Ten Top Tips for Freelancers

Ah, the life of a freelancer. Get up when you want to. Work in your dressing gown (or not). Stay in bed all day with your laptop and your cat.
Yeah right!

If you’re a freelancer, you’ll know that there’s a lot more to work-life than that. Yes, you pretty much get to choose your work hours. You get to go to the supermarket and the gym when they’re empty, and have lunch with your freelancer-friends whenever you like. But there’s a payoff … the work must still get done!

Here are some tips to avoid falling into the downward freelance spiral that could leave you lonely, sad and broke…

1. Get Up!

Get out of bed, get dressed and go to your workspace every day – preferably before lunchtime! Getting into a routine will motivate you to get cracking.

2. Workspace

Your workspace should ideally include a desk. Working in bed, on the couch, in the kitchen or in front of the TV is unhealthy and distracting. Some freelancers can work in their dressing gowns, but for others it’s just a cue to go back to bed. Be honest with yourself. Work out what’s best for you and do it.

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3. Get Going

Often the biggest hurdle is getting started… so just start! Sit down and get going. The rest is just momentum. It really is that simple.

4. Switch Off

Switch off everything for a few hours a day. No email, no internet, no social media, no phone and definitely no TV. Close the door if you can. Make sure it’s just you and your work – and maybe your cat … as long as she doesn’t hijack your keyboard while you’re working.

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5. Process

Make peace with your process. Some people work more quickly than others. Some require more context. Some prefer mornings, some work better at night. Know what works best for you and do it. Trying to change into something you aren’t causes stress and is ultimately unproductive.

6. Happy Clients

Keep your clients up to date on progress. It’s hard, especially if you’re running behind. But ultimately it’s way less stressful to fess up than not to fess up.

7. Reward Yourself

Reward yourself at the end of a job, not the beginning. Promise yourself the latest episode of Madam Secretary or Vikings once you’ve finished. DO NOT promise to do the work as soon as you’ve watched the episode. “I just need to clear my head first” is a lame excuse for procrastinating.

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8. Co Working Space

If you get too distracted working from home, find somewhere else. Virtual or temporary office spaces could be a solution. There are loads of great spaces in SA’s major cities where you can rent an office, even for just a couple of hours a day. Or you might find a coffee shop works best for you. Some freelancers even work out of their clients’ offices for a couple of days a week. Here are some spots to check out…

Johannesburg – The Hub, 4 De Beer Street, Braamfontein

Johannesburg – Awethu Business Hub, Constitution Hill Precinct, 11 Kotze Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2001

Johannesburg – The Office Hub, 49 6th Street Parkhurst Johannesburg, Gauteng

Cape Town – The Inspiration Playground, 11 Roodebloem Road, Woodstock

Cape Town – HubSpace, Unit 102 Old Castle Brewery, 6 Beach Road, Woodstock,

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9. Stay on top of your Admin!

Keep up to date with your admin. A good business admin app could solve your problem. Our software, Simplifyd could help you here – track your leads/sales, send invoices, manage your money, organise your contacts, make a ToDo list or even take notes. Log in regularly – once a day or once a week, depending on your needs – to ensure you don’t fall behind. There’s nothing worse than trying to figure out retrospectively why you don’t have any money! Try it FREE.

10. Stay Motivated

Remember why you’re freelancing in the first place. Considering the alternatives is often all the motivation you need to keep going.

BONUS TIP: Make sure to spend time with people. Working by yourself (kitty aside, of course) can get pretty lonely. Get together with friends and family regularly to keep yourself from going insane. Lonely can lead to sad; sad can lead to demotivated; demotivated can lead to lazy; and lazy can lead to broke. And broke is not a situation you want to be in!


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