An inflexible schedule, daily traffic, and unyielding work circumstances make plenty of people unhappy with their day jobs – but for some reason, most of them still keep theirs. While freelance work is an attractive and almost ideal prospect, some approach it warily due to the fear of an unstable income.
But the truth is you can make just as much (or more) freelancing as you would in a regular day job, and the perks are endless. It’s just that you only earn as much as you put in, without a fixed salary to hold you down. However, this should be seen more as a blessing than as a curse. Increased productivity can boost your income, as much as lazy output results in less revenue.
Now that you’ve pinned down the source of earning well in this unconventional field, the next step is to figure out how to supercharge your productivity. Here’s what these experts have to say on getting your head in the freelance game:
Tip #1: Bite What You Can Chew
It may seem counter intuitive, but not taking on everything at once is one of the golden rules to optimized productivity. The human mind can only focus on one thing at a time in order to function fully. Doing too many things at once might actually hold you back rather than earn you more.
Melissa Kirk, editor at dissertation service Edugeeksclub says,“Take on only what you know you can handle to produce the best output.” A freelancer for five years, Kirk recalls experiences where too much work resulted in delayed deadlines and piled up responsibilities.
With too many things fighting for your attention, leaving one project half-finished just to get started on the next thing on the list will not only confuse and overwhelm you, it also leaves you with several unfinished tasks, rather than one whole, polished product.
Tip #2: Don’t Undersell Yourself
A common mistake freelancers make is taking on things for free so they can get exposure. This can work sometimes, but underselling yourself hurts not only your wallet, but also your self-esteem and motivation. A drop in this crucial factor in self-employment can only lead to a further downward spiral.
On sites like Double Your Freelancing, freelancers like SEO consultant Kai Davis share their own battles with undercharging the client for services that should otherwise come at a reasonable price. Davis writes, “I was stuck in the mindset of focusing on myself and my price…I focused in on the value I could provide to my clients, strategies and tactics that could add $10,000 or $100,000 in revenue to one of my clients' businesses.”
Acknowledging that what you’re doing is an important job, and that your services are valuable, can attract the right people. As long as you give them good output, those who see your worth will definitely make an investment.
Tip #3: Take Action
All that said, in order to be taken seriously in the freelancing world, you need to be serious about what you’re doing as well. It can be tough getting yourself out there in a competitive market, but focusing on the right areas for improvement can make you a serious contender in your chosen field.
Best-selling author Stephen King relates his beginnings as a freelancer in his memoir, On Writing. One of King’s memorable quotes for young writers goes: “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Choosing the freelance track can be daunting at first, but instead of being paralyzed by the anxiety of not being good enough or producing anything that will impress the clients, work on your strengths and weaknesses.
Tip #4: Organize Your Tasks
A well-planned schedule is the key to motivated productivity. Organizing your tasks not only lets you see what you’ve already accomplished for the day, it also helps you keep track of what’s left in store for you.
Freelance copywriter Trevor Dobrygoski gives a rundown on the ways you can make a neater schedule to keep tasks organized. According to Dobrygoski, setting up your Google Calendar, or keeping other apps that keep track and remind you of upcoming tasks can be a great motivator: “The key is to have reminders set so you can feel a little bit of pressure to get the task done.”
Instead of seeing it as a tedious task, take this productivity hack as something to keep you going when times get tough.
The Takeaway: Supercharged Productivity Equals Supercharged Profit
Like any job, freelance requires you to up your ante if you want to get ahead. Productivity and motivation are two of the main requirements for establishing a stable freelance career.
Though it doesn’t come easy, you can start with what you can. Make sure to take on tasks you can definitely finish, sell yourself and your services for what you’re really worth, work on improving yourself, and keep an outline of your schedule for the day.
Finally, don’t lose heart in what you’re doing. Continue to pursue your chosen career path and watch yourself grow. Stopping for idle time is the risk of losing viable opportunities.
About the Author
Naomi Binford is a writer from New York City. She loves gathering tidbits of information on random subjects that fascinate her and sharing those with her readers online. You can connect with her via Twitter @NaomiBinford.