Article provided by Fiona Thomas
Are you sick of the daily grind? Feeling stifled by the traditional 9-5?
With over two million current freelancers in the UK, you’re not the only one. Working from home has become the norm this year and it has divided the nation. If you’ve loved it and want to branch out into the world of freelance, there are a few things you need to know. Here are my top ten freelancing hacks to set you up for success:
Multiple income streams
Never rely on one source of income. You never know when it could dry up. Instead, make a conscious effort to work on multiple projects at once with lots of different clients. This means that if one piece of works comes to an end, you won’t be left scrambling to pay the bills.
Check your finances every month
Make a point of recording your income and expenses in a spreadsheet every month. Not only will it give you a better idea of how well the business is actually doing, but it will make doing your tax return so much easier when the time comes.
Know your worth
It can be really hard to even contemplate asking for money for what you do, especially when you’re first starting out and you’re lacking in confidence (and clients). But you’ve got to believe that what you have is of value to other people and set your prices accordingly. If might be easy for you to design a website, but the reality is that most people haven’t got a clue where to start. People are paying you because things come easy to you, because you have a skill or assets that can help them.
Plan for the future
Boring but necessary. Sort out a separate bank account where you can set aside money to pay the tax man. Get insurance and start paying into a pension, even if it’s just £20 a week. You’ll thank me later!
Have an afternoon shower
Have you ever noticed that all your best ideas come to you when you’re diligently massaging in your Aussie 3-Minute Miracle conditioner? That’s because showers are magic. A hot shower will also increase your dopamine levels, which is helpful, as that’s the neurotransmitter that our brain produces to nudge us into doing stuff’. It’s great in the morning, but why not take advantage of it when you feel yourself careering into that midday period when you can’t think straight?
Give good customer service
Getting regular clients is the secret sauce. Treat every client like your bestie by sending them a thank you note and shouting about them on social media.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
First, you set a timer for twenty-five minutes and work without distractions on the task at hand. Once the timer ends, put a tick on a piece of paper, then take a five-minute break. Go on, pick up your phone and get all that scrolling out of your system. Then reset the timer and repeat until you have four ticks on your paper. Then enjoy an extended break of up to thirty minutes and repeat the whole system. It’s the breaks that give you the mental space to keep working, so make sure you actually use them.
Find a routine that works for you
Not a morning person? Don’t force yourself to become one! The beauty of freelancing is that you can ditch the traditional 9-5 and work hours that suit your lifestyle. I like to workout between 9-10am which means I don’t tend to start work until around midday. The combination of getting enough sleep and those morning exercise endorphins means that I get more work done in the afternoon than I would have done otherwise.
Take a nap
It might seem counterproductive, but a NASA study found that a forty-minute nap improved performance and alertness in military pilots and astronauts (by 34 per cent and 100 per cent respectively). You may not be an astronaut, but you do deserve to be more alert, so try out a wee afternoon nap and see how it makes you feel.
Delete email off your phone
If you find yourself constantly distracted or anxious whenever you pick up your phone its time to ditch the email app on your phone. Removing the temptation to check your inbox out of office hours is a real game-changer and will help you to switch off from work in the evenings.
About the author
Fiona Thomas is author of Out of Office: Ditch the 9-5 And Be Your Own Boss, published by Trigger Publishing, out 1st October 2020, priced, £9.99.
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