How to Discipline Yourself While Freelancing
The conventional mediums of employment are slowly going obsolete as skilled workers are looking for roles with greater autonomy. They want to cut out the middle man and earn the profit for their work directly from the source. Some people have formed partnerships with resourceful clients to achieve these goals, some have started their own businesses, and many more are freelancing online. When the pandemic started to threaten the employment prospects of corporate workers, many took to freelancing platforms to earn an income. The consumers highly appreciated their talents and skills, and many never looked back on their old jobs. But freelancing can be challenging for beginners who are used to working under a boss. So here are some tips that can help you earn the most from freelance projects.
Tips for Discipline
1. Track Your Time
Not having a fixed work schedule may feel like an advantage, but it can create serious time management issues for a freelancer. This is why every self-employed person should track the amount of time they work per week. Then analyze how much money was earned per hour. This will add structure to your business plan and bring you closer to your financial goals.
2. Dedicated Work Space
Do you work in a different room during each part of the day? Does it delay your schedule and make project closing even more difficult? Then set up a home office for yourself with all the provisions you need. Invest in an ergonomic office chair, a computer office desk, a modern floor lamp, and wall art to put up in your workspace. If you wish to expand your operations in the future, buy a console table with drawers along with the rest of the furniture. This ambiance will push you to do your best each day and bring out the professionalism in you.
3. No Television!
Not having a television in your home office does not mean you can’t watch it during your shift at all. But this setting will reduce the number of distractions in your room, so you don’t delay work. And when you need to take a break, you can go into the living room and watch TV and enjoy all other forms of entertainment with your family. It combines personal time with family time and keeps you on track.
4. Designate a Space for Your Phone
If you do not have to use your phone for work, you should not keep it by your office desk. Choose a corner of your home office to keep your phone when you have to focus on work. You will lose the urge to use your phone when you have to get up from your comfortable office chair to reach it. This technique is just as useful for any other device or object that slows down your productivity.
5. Make Use of Natural Light
Sunlight has been proven to boost productivity incorporate workers, and reduce the chances of errors in complex tasks. A freelancer who works during the day is more likely to be more successful than someone who works past sunset. Your dependence on artificial light will decrease, and you will also save on your energy bill. Additionally, you will be able to connect with your local clients more easily if you start work early. It will leave a good impression on your business partners, and they will trust you and your brand name.
6. Hire a Babysitter
Whether you have to look after a toddler or a ten-year-old, you should consider hiring a sitter during important work hours. When you get away from your office desk for your children, you would probably waste time on your own as well. So plan your kids’ day and guide the sitter to follow along. This way, your children will use their time productively, and you won’t have any guilt about being a working parent.
7. Get a Plant
Taking care of a live being can teach you many important lessons about running a freelance business. You will be obligated to follow a schedule to keep your plants alive. It needs water, sunlight, and care, just like your business needs your dedication and time. Once your plant starts to thrive, you will feel proud of your work and make similar efforts to make your freelancing projects successful.
8. Don’t Hurt Your Eyes
After sitting in front of screens all day, your eyes can get sore or weak. Ensure to incorporate lighting into your workspace whether you work during the day or night. Invest in a modern floor lamp to put beside your work desk. These small elements will significantly impact your mood and encourage you to be productive every day.
9. Set up a Place to Relax
In addition to having a work corner, you should also create a designated space where you can go to relax and unwind. Place your couch in this area and add some throw pillows for the couch for added comfort. Or you can set up some large floor cushions next to your corner office desk. Whichever theme you choose, be sure to use it after each workday, so you don’t carry today’s stress on to tomorrow.
10. Put Your Savings Aside
Most freelancers think of their earnings as a supplementary source of income. This mindset sets them back in terms of productivity and profitability. When you depend on your freelance income to afford living expenses, you will surely give it your best. So don’t use your savings account as a backup and solely focus on your freelance projects to fuel your monthly expenditures.
11. Ask Your Clients for Deadlines
If your clients allow you to work at your own pace, you might be inclined to procrastinate and finish work at the last moment. To avoid wasting valuable time, ask your clients about their favorable submission time upfront. When your week is filled with milestones in the form of deadlines, you will make better decisions and aim for higher productivity.
12. Make Use of a Co-Working Space
When you get tired of working from home, you can visit a co-working place in your area. These spaces are designed to block out external noise and help you get work done in time. You will be able to interact with other freelancers and use them as a source of motivation for your own goals. This habit is also useful for building a resourceful business network that will further improve your career prospects.
Tips for Success
Once you have learned to discipline yourself, you can aim for bigger targets in your freelancing career. Now you can work your way up to brand recognition by building a wide network of regular clients. Here are some tips that can make this journey easier for you!
1. Share Samples
Working for free may seem like a bad deal to any freelancer, but it is the only way to attract the right customers. If you wish to work with any desirable clients, share your samples without them asking. If they get impressed by your work, they will contact you directly, and there won’t be any need for middle party interference.
2. Take the Help of Agencies
If you are new to freelancing, local agencies can help you connect with many clients in your region. This strategy is just as effective for experienced, skilled professionals looking for new business opportunities.
3. Use Personal Social Media
You don’t have to restrict your marketing activities to your LinkedIn profile, and you can use your personal Twitter or Facebook accounts to reach out to potential clients. This will amplify your chances of finding lucrative projects online.
4. Use Positive Feedback as Testimonies
A new client may not trust your claims unless you have any evidence to support them. Ask your loyal customers for testimonies and share them on your website or LinkedIn profile. This will gradually expand your network and eliminate risks for your new customers.
5. Project an ROI
When you propose your services to a new client, draw up projections for return on their investments. Use definitive figures and facts to prove how you can offer them a better offer than their existing business partners. These projections will work as an incentive for new customers to trust your skills and brand name.
6. Evaluate Your Reputation
If you have been working as a freelancer for a while, there must be a reputation associated with your name. Keep track of what your clients are saying about you. When you find positive feedback, display them on your work profile. And when you come across any negative reports, address these issues and strive for improvement.
7. Be Prepared for Meetings
A freelancer who offers to attend video meetings instead of phone calls comes off as more professional and dedicated. Set up a corner in your home office for meetings, so you won’t have to clean up every time a client asks to talk. All you need is a small office desk and a leather office chair to design the perfect space for meetings. Add a large round mirror or put up wall art in the living room for an aesthetic background.
8. Specialize in a Niche
By learning a diverse set of skills, you can cater to a large number of clients, but it won’t improve your profit potential. On most freelance platforms, clients are looking for people who are the experts in their niche. So if you want to capitalize on the most valuable business opportunities in your industry, always target a niche market segment.
9. Update Your Portfolio
Make a habit of updating your freelance portfolio every week. Mention every small and big project you have worked on and the ones in progress. When potential clients notice recent work on your resume, they will deem you more qualified.
10. Offer Detailed Consultation
If a customer doesn’t understand your services or products, they will doubt its benefits. This is why you should offer consultation services to current and potential business partners. Explain the application of your services in detail and clear their confusion.
11. Form a Team
Teamwork can be just as useful for a freelancer as it is for any corporate employee. You can look for freelancers whose skills complement yours and share your business network with them. Forming a team will reduce the chances of errors for all parties and add value to your individual services.
12. Invest in Advertisements
Targeted ads can help you reach out to both local and international customers. Use your creativity and professional skills to design ads that make your service offerings stand out amongst your competitors. But make sure the initial cost of these ads fits your limited budget, or you would have to deplete your savings to afford them.
13. Build Personal Connections
A simple greeting or a few words of goodwill go a long way when building a business network from scratch. Make your clients feel seen and appreciated by wishing them their birthdays and sharing customized holiday greetings.
14. Adjust Your Price
Always ask your clients about their expectations and affordability when proposing a price for your services. This strategy will boost the volume of your work and help you gain the confidence of existing clients quickly.
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