Working freelance can be a liberating, rewarding experience. It has many advantages over more traditional forms of employment, with the ability to work where and when you want being chief among them. However, many freelance careers – professional translation, for example – are also rather isolated, with no colleagues around to help buoy you up and maintain your motivation. As such, here are seven top tips for keeping your spirits up while working freelance.
If you don’t know what you need to achieve, how can you know when you’re succeeding? Setting income goals and then monitoring your progress towards them is a great way to keep your motivation up. Just make sure your goals are realistic. If you plan to earn $1 million in the first month of your freelance career, you’ve pretty likely to end up demotivated when you don’t hit your target, rather than happy when you do!
There’s more to working freelance than just focusing on money, so set yourself some lifestyle goals as well. These can be a mix of short and long term goals and can be utterly personalized to you and your dreams. Is your plan to one day buy a home on the beach and do your work from a deckchair on the front porch? That’s probably one for the longer terms goals list. In the short term, why not set a goal of spending an hour a day working in the sunshine in your garden? Make sure your lifestyle goals are things that regular employees can’t do, in order to emphasise the value of your freelance lifestyle.
Other freelancers are perfectly positioned to appreciate the highs and lows of freelance life. Build up your network through social media forums and bolster the confidence of fellow freelancers when they’re lacking in motivation. You’ll quickly find that they are there to do the same for you when you hit a low period. Networking of this nature also brings with it the possibility of other opportunities arising – you never know when a fellow freelancer might be over capacity and want to pay someone to help with a task or project.
Freelance working can be intense. You’re your own boss, which is great, but that also means that you have to deal with everything, from ordering printer paper to keeping track of your finances to doing your marketing – and all on top of the actual work that keeps the money coming in. When you’re feeling demotivated by all of this, be kind to yourself and give yourself a break for a week or two from everything other than your actual work. Leave the marketing tasks for a week and do the bare minimum you need to in order to keep the company accounts in order. Focus on the work that you do instead – after all, isn’t pursuing your passion the reason you became a freelancer in the first place?
Physical and mental health are intrinsically linked, so if you’re struggling with motivation, then why not hit the gym or the local swimming pool for an hour a couple of times a week? Working out will help to boost your mood and improve your resilience when it comes to tackling your work. You can also enjoy feeling smug that you can use your local facilities at quiet times of the day, when most non-freelance workers are stuck at the office.
To keep your spirits up, why not update your website? Your online presence is an important marketing tool, but it’s also a great way to remind yourself of your skills, experience and achievements. As part of the process, be sure to ask your clients for testimonials – hearing how much they value your expertise and commitment is a great way to boost your motivation!
Take advantage of the fact you work freelance to keep your routine varied and avoid boredom setting in. Whether that means heading to a coffee shop to work for a while when then mood takes you, or taking a few hours out on a sunny day to enjoy the great outdoors, be sure to maintain your motivation by taking full advantage of the perks of the freelance lifestyle.
What are your top tips for maintaining your motivation? Do you boost your own motivation or rely on others for support? Share your thoughts via the comments.