Even before the pandemic, freelancing has been a preferred route for many professionals who want greater control over their work hours. The convenience of these flexible hours has become more apparent than ever before, as COVID-19 has forced many organizations to take on remote work operations.
According to freelancing platform Upwork, freelance work brings in $1.2 trillion to the United States economy each year. Since more than a third of working Americans are doing some freelance work, the idea that everyone can do it is growing more popular.
However, transitioning from fixed work hours to freelance can be challenging when you are not equipped with the proper tools. Here are some of the best tips to freelance successfully.
Best Tools to Stay on Top of Freelance Jobs
To keep track of your responsibilities, employ the help of some digital tools so that you don’t miss anything on your to-do list.
Have tax computation tools
Tax is one of the least enjoyable parts of being a working adult. Tax-filing season requires a lot of attention to detail, as you have to understand what taxes you have to pay and what tax deductions you qualify for.
The forms and computations can get confusing and overwhelming on your own, so availing of tax preparation assistance services is ideal, especially for newbie freelancers. It is an excellent start to learning how your taxes work.
Use project management software for multiple clients
When you are a freelancer, the idea is that you are your own boss. However, getting so busy and being unable to manage the various tasks on your plate can easily make it feel like you have multiple bosses instead.
Avoid losing track of the deliverables given by your various clients through project management software. This lets you keep tabs on your progress for different projects without mixing anything up.
Some tools also allow you to collaborate with teammates for specific campaigns to update your progress in real-time. Take advantage of the various views that task management apps offer, too, such as timelines, calendars, and kanban boards, to better organize your plans and to-do lists.
A challenge with being in charge of your work hours is having the discipline to start and end work at reasonable times. There are plenty of distractions that can come with a simple Google search to quickly research a topic.
A simple way to prevent this is by timing yourself whenever you are working. The Pomodoro technique recommends taking 25 minutes for work, then a short break that gets work off of your mind for a bit. When you finish four pomodoros (25 minutes of work), the technique suggests taking a longer break of 20 to 30 minutes to refresh your mind.
If necessary, use an app that temporarily blocks distractions along with your timer to spare yourself the precious minutes lost to mindless scrolling on the internet.
Habits to Build for Freelancing
Tools are great assistants to freelance work, but good habits are irreplaceable to be an efficient freelancer.
Get ready for the workday
Freelancing often lets you work from home. However, the danger is that it often makes it difficult to see a clear boundary between your career and personal life. Since there are no strict distinctions between the two at home, you have to set your own.
Firstly, make sure you have a set office space that is not your bedroom or living room. This allows you to get the feeling of “going to work” daily. This conditions you to use this space solely to accomplish work and not anything else. It also keeps your mind off of work when it is time to rest.
It also helps you do your grooming as you would if you need to physically go to the office. Get up early and dress up for work. Being in work attire helps you get into the right mindset. It can even give you greater focus on the work you have to do for the day.
Finally, a significant challenge in working from home, especially during a global pandemic, is finding the motivation to work. There are not always easy solutions for this, but one way is to intentionally motivate yourself.
When you get frustrated and lose inspiration, remind yourself by gathering your thoughts and simply writing down why you work. Take time to notice the things you are grateful for every day, too. You can also reach out to mentors you trust to understand how they keep working.
Remember what caused you to pursue the freelancing lifestyle and take time to appreciate the freedom you have.