I’m just going to put it out there – juggling a full-time job with a freelance career is HARD work. I’ve been there. You want to get a bit of extra cash while doing something you’re good at, but it’s just too risky to leave your secure full-time job. Then, after a while, the projects start rolling in and life becomes a crazy blur of deadlines, saying yes to every job (more on that later) and trying to keep your under-eye bags hidden from your boss.
Yep, freelancing isn’t easy.
But it doesn’t have to stay this way forever. I know what it can be like – tried and tested – so I’ve got a few tips and hints on how to make life easier while you’re transitioning from full-time to working on your own terms with your freelance career.
Stop saying yes to every job
It’s tough. You don’t like letting people down and besides, you want to add new clients to your books. But you need to be realistic with your time. You won’t be able to do everything, especially when you’re putting all your efforts and energies into full-time work, so you’ll need to learn to start saying no. And that’s okay!
If I simply haven’t got the time for a new client, I send them a polite message explaining that I’ve got a bit too much work going on right now to give their project the full attention they deserve. This keeps relations good, and I always invite them to come back to me on their next project so I can free up some time for them. Next time give that a go, and if you know of any other freelancers looking for work – send the client their way. It’s a win-win.
Make time for yourself
It can be too easy to use every single second of your spare time squeezing in new freelance projects. This might be fine at first, but pretty quickly you’ll start to become tired. Really tired. And I bet you’ll feel guilty about going out and having fun instead of working on that upcoming project.
Your mental health is just as important as going outside and getting some fresh air, so make sure you put some time aside from your freelance career every week to just do you. Whether that’s slobbing out on the sofa, hitting the gym or having a well-earned cocktail-night with your friends, put yourself first. You’re worth it.
Trust your gut
It’s great to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things every once in a while. That’s the best way to grow as a writer. But if a project just doesn’t ‘feel’ right, trust your gut and walk away.
There’s a very fine line between doing something new, and doing something that you have no idea about. For example, I’ve recently been asked to do a whole bunch of dating site reviews. At first, I wasn’t sure. I’d never used a dating site before and I just wasn’t convinced I was the right person for the job. But I gave it a go anyway. And you know what, it’s been one of my favourite projects to date.
You know yourself and your skills best, so do what you feel is right.