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Being a freelancer is an excellent option if you want to work from home, follow your own goals, and as it is said a lot: be your own boss.
Currently, freelancers are 35% of the global workforce, and year after year more people decide to leave their traditional work life and start working independently.
However, being a freelancer and working from home is not as simple as it seems, since like all other jobs it has challenges that you must face. These tips will help you stay positive and achieve your goals.
1. Prepare An Economic Support
Many freelancers begin to offer services in a somewhat improvised way because the first clients usually arrive by recommendation and often without having a clear intention of starting a business.
But if this is not a simple extra work that you do in your free time and you want to become a freelancer online, you need an economic forecast to be able to maintain yourself in the medium and long term, even in times of few projects.
That is why it is advisable to have saved about 6-12 months of expenses to survive, which will help you to face any unforeseen or shortage of clients.
If you do not have this, you might as well save or work part-time elsewhere until you can start your freelance career and make the full transition from employee to entrepreneur.
Analyze what your professional and personal expenses will be and do your best to save that monthly sum multiplied by 6 (or by 12 or whatever figure you think will give you security), before starting. Also, minimize your expenses as much as possible.
Recommended course: Master Personal Finance: Build Wealth, Save & Invest Money
2. Create Your Workspace
Creating a workspace to do your activities will help you stay focused. This space should inspire and encourage you, as you will be spending a lot of time here.
At home, you can set up and condition a room to become your office. This space must be illuminated and must have electrical outlets.
If you do not have this room, designate a place in your house that allows you to work quietly and without distractions.
Prepare your work area and locate the required furniture. Use a good desk or table, a comfortable and ergonomic chair (your back will thank you), shelves to store your folders and documents and if you can, have a billboard to write down your earrings and have your planning in view.
Conditioning your workspace is important because in that space you will spend a large part of your day.
If possible, invest in a comfortable chair, so that your back does not suffer, and do not be afraid to decorate that space to your liking. It should become a place where you really want to be.
3. Have A Work Attitude
You must put a chip in your head that when you get up in the morning you go to your workplace.
At first, it is difficult but you have to create the habit. Take a shower every morning, take off your pajamas, and get dressed. This does not mean that you dress in office clothes but with comfortable clothes, this in order to psychologically place you in the correct mentality for work.
You will also be ready to handle any type of video chat or communicate with a client. You will be ready to get the job done and you will be mentally and physically prepared for the day.
Make your coffee and breakfast, and you can even pack your lunch. Perform the same routines that you would do as if you had to leave home to go to your workplace.
Like a structured day in an office setting, learn to structure your day similarly at home.
Having this attitude will help you take your job seriously and have a professional mindset since if you worked in an office you would never go to work in your pajamas.
There will always be a day where you can make an exception with this issue because after all flexibility is one of the characteristics of freelance work, but do not let it become a habit.
Organize your daily tasks as soon as the day begins and you will see how everything flows better.
Recommended course: Work Smarter Not Harder: Productive Time Management
4. Establish Working Hours
It is recommended that you stick to a routine and establish specific work hours to be more focused, more alert, and more productive.
When you decided to freelance, you probably did it to have flexibility in your work hours. Even so, and to be more productive and have a moment to yourself, you must schedule your time.
It is important that you respect your work hours, avoid leaving things for later or for the hours that you can dedicate for yourself or your family.
So when the end of the work hour comes, do that. Disconnect, turn off your computer, fix and save your papers, leave your “office” and come “home” to rest. Otherwise, you will work until midnight and feel exhausted the next day.
You must also respect your lunch hour, take this time to eat, and rest for a while until you start the day again. You can use an online tool as an alarm clock to alert you to your lunch break and job completion time.
Respecting your own work schedule will also make your clients respect your hours of rest and that they do not write to you at inappropriate times or days off.
Having a work schedule may also improve your performance since each day you will work knowing what the limits are, what time you should have your tasks ready, and when you will have free time to rest.
Recommended course: Time Block Your Schedule: To Get More Done
Price: $8 monthly subscription.
5. Plan And Get Organized
By planning you will minimize distractions and be more productive, which is necessary to meet the requirements to become a (successful) freelancer.
You already know what you are going to do during the week and during each day, so focus on it, organize, create a file system, schedules for each activity, and to-do lists.
To do this, start your day by reviewing the priorities of the day. Make your to-do list each morning and stick to it. Set goals and time limits for each activity.
After completing each task, cross it off the list. This simple technique is effective and satisfying. To make lists of tasks get into the habit of using a calendar or planner.
For example, if you work from home on some days but are on the road on others, make a habit of using a planner to write down and keep track of deadlines, appointments, and meetings.
Making a to-do list will keep you motivated since you can see your progress, check off the tasks you complete and evaluate how you progress, if there are things that take you more time than others or if you should reorganize some tasks.
Being organized is part of treating your own work with more professionalism and seriousness, very important aspects if you want to grow professionally.
Recommended course: Project Organization (A To Do List That Works)
Price: $8 monthly subscription.
6. Separate Your Work From Your Home
Working from home can invade your personal life, just as your home life can invade your professional activity.
For this reason, it is important that if you establish a schedule you do not do housework, do not start cooking or cleaning. If you have to do that, do it when your work schedule ends.
Also, do not forget to tell your clients your hours of operation and always tell them that you work in an office. If they know that you work from home, you will have to get used to calling late at night to make a request.
Respecting the limits of home and work will improve your productivity and allow you to enjoy each activity more.
Keeping your mind scattered between various occupations can affect your work performance, so it is better to keep yourself busy with only one thing at a time.
Recommended course: Work from Home – Work Life Balance and Time Management
7. Recognize And Avoid Distractions
Identify those elements and people that can distract you and steal your time. Tell your family, children, friends, and neighbors that yes, you are at home; but you are working and will not be available for a period of time.
Ask them to respect your work schedule and not be a cause for interruption and distraction.
Likewise, avoid turning on the television or looking at the cell phone all the time to see if you have any notifications.
Reduce your use of social media and email considerably, and never be tempted to watch Netflix for a little while.
These distractions can take your focus away and prevent you from being productive. Put all your attention and focus on your planning and the tasks that you have to do during the day.
Recommended course: How To Stop Procrastination And Double Your Productivity
Price: $8 monthly subscription.
8. Identify Your Productive Hours
Generally, everyone knows what hours they are most productive. For example, some are more productive in the afternoons and carry out activities related to creativity and intellectual development.
Already in the morning, they can dedicate themselves to investigating and doing routine work. Using a time tracking app will help you see your productivity levels each day and week.
Not only will this give you information on when you are most productive during the day, but it will also show you how much time you spend on each task.
If you are spending too much time on repetitive tasks, it may be time to look into some automation solutions for even greater productivity.
Many freelancers are likely to consider themselves productive at night, but they need to consider whether this is a routine that suits them.
Because although you can be productive during the night, that will make you stay up late and the next day you will not feel very well physically or emotionally. Over time, that routine could affect your health.
9. Take Short Breaks
To stay motivated, you can plan small breaks every time you finish a task or every so often.
Try to allocate rest times of at least 5 minutes in your work schedule. You can do this as a reward for having completed a task, and these breaks can increase productivity and creativity levels.
Get up, stretch, look out the window, have a coffee. Go for a walk. Just relax. This short period of rest will help you both physically and mentally. Your body and mind will thank you. During breaks, do not start doing housework (unless of course it’s really your thing).
This way you will stay focused on your tasks but you can entertain yourself from time to time. Respect your work schedule and breaks, so you will not procrastinate or get distracted by unnecessary things.
10. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
Working at home tends to lend itself to a sedentary lifestyle. Make sure you schedule a regular exercise time, keep healthy snacks around the house, and drink plenty of water.
Remember to feed yourself. Sometimes freelancers get so into work that they forget to eat. Set your lunch schedule and strictly adhere to it. With a full stomach, you will produce more and you will be more focused.
Eat snacks; buy fruits, granola, nuts like peanuts or almonds for a snack. Because yes, there are times when the dynamics of work make you anxious, and the only thing you will want to do is eating.
So to avoid any health issues, do not buy chocolates and candy as snacks. Also, try to leave the house from time to time, take a little walk, stretch your legs, breathe fresh air, distract your mind.
Recommended course: Create Healthy Habits: How to Transform Your Health & Wellness
Price: $8 monthly subscription.
11. Invest In Good Equipment And Quality Technology
If you work at home you need to have a computer or laptop. In addition, you must invest in other complementary equipment that will help you carry out your activities such as a tablet, mobile phone, printer, router with high-performance Wi-Fi, and a backup system.
Depending on the nature of your work, you could end up spending most of the day video conferencing chatting with a client or your audience.
To ensure the best possible connection, connect your laptop directly to the router with a cable instead of connecting via Wi-Fi. Also, invest in a good pair of quality headphones with a microphone. Noise cancellation features can help improve the clarity of sounds in video conferences.
A reliable phone and a fast internet connection are also essential. However, it is not all about technology but also about elements that will raise the quality of your freelance life, such as a comfortable chair, a large desk, and a mouse that does not cause pain in your hands or wrists.
Remember to invest in everything you need to do your job comfortably and efficiently.
12. Establish Daily Goals
When working from home, you are the one who has the responsibility of supervising that you meet your daily goals.
For this, having some written down can help you not forget them and you can make sure that you comply with them. It can be the simplest like answering emails, even video calling with your client.
Although all goals are important, you have to have priorities, there are some that may take a longer time to meet them and others that do not. It will help to have a list of goals, so you can get the urgent tasks out and without feeling pressured the rest of the day.
To meet your goals, consider doing only one thing at a time, if possible. Answering a call while trying to write an email can distract your attention from the call and you are likely to make some mistakes in your email.
It is better to do one thing at a time so that your brain is fully focused on that task so you can finish it well and faster.
Recommended course: Setting Goals & Getting Organised
Price: $8 monthly subscription.
Working from home does not mean you should isolate yourself or do it all alone. The home office may take away the experience of having co-workers, but that is what networking is for.
Through Facebook groups, LinkedIn, or Twitter you can meet other freelancers who work in the same niche. Interacting with them will allow you to keep abreast of news or useful events to continue growing professionally.
You can also attend events and conferences related to your specialty and entrepreneurship.
It is a good way to meet other professionals and also to attract clients. Get out of your comfort zone and encourage yourself to meet new people, you can find new job offers and collaborations with other freelancers, which will help you grow as a professional and increase your income.
Recommended course: Networking for Business Success
Price: $8 monthly subscription.
14. Manage Your Time Better
You will not dazzle your clients with your skills if you are not able to meet deadlines.
As a freelancer, time is one of your most valuable assets, therefore, being able to manage and organize it properly is one of the most important things when it comes to being a freelancer.
You need to be able to be creative while checking to-do lists, while keeping track of your bills, looking for new work, and more.
A good idea is to explain your calendar to the client. One of the best ways to manage your time (and keep clients happy) is to plan the project in advance, making a summary where you indicate how much time you will spend on it.
Be clear, realistic, and honest with your clients from the beginning of the project.
You should also stop time-consuming clients: Some clients will want to keep in touch with you all the time, even when they do not have to.
If they start to consume a lot of your time, you will need to politely let the client know that their emails or calls are making you unproductive.
So consider implementing time to respond to customers on the schedule and make it clear from the start.
Recommended course: Time Management Mastery: Do More, Stress Less
15. Use Project Management Tools
The productivity you have in your work is what will mark the level of your results, but if you help yourself with tools that facilitate your work, it will be easier to increase the number of tasks completed per day.
Fortunately, there are a large number of tools that make it easier for you to manage projects and your daily tasks, which will make your workflow much faster.
Today you can find many applications to organize your tasks and schedule. This can help you to see your schedules along with your tasks. Some tools that you can use are Google Calendar, Todoist, Slack, and Evernote.
Automating your accounts with the help of tools will help you facilitate daily tasks.
As a freelancer, it is quite likely that you spend a lot of time chasing clients to get paid. It can help to set up automated billing and payment systems, such as Zoho Online Invoicing offers, which will send out regular emails reminding clients and including automatic payment links.
Recommended course: Evernote for Business: Use Evernote in your working life
Discipline Is Key To Work Effectively From Home
One of the main advantages of working from home is the comfort of being at home, you will not waste time in traffic, you will not spend on gas or tickets, you do not have to meet strict schedules and you will be able to give yourself a break when you need it.
But at the same time, it becomes a challenge, you have to deal and talk with those who inhabit the house including children and pets, ignore your bed and the television, and avoid isolating yourself from the outside world.
For this reason, when you work from home, you have to balance work with life at home. Following the tips on this list and being rigorous in your work routine, there should be no inconvenience to working from home.
Many people do it today and without a doubt, the home office is something that will continue to grow in the years to come.