The last few years have seen a massive rise in the number of people choosing to freelance or start their own small businesses. In 2021, 51% of people with postgraduate degrees were reported to be working as freelancers, which is a 6% increase from the year before. These percentages are expected to keep rising as more and more people choose to be their own bosses and offer their skills and services to clients on their own terms.
The new generation of the workforce has a motto of working on their own dreams instead of being employed to help somebody else achieve theirs. Hence, with this rise in self-employed individuals and freelancers, the work environment of the US is transforming into a completely new space.
If you are also interested in becoming self-employed or looking for a way to do freelance work for clients, you're on the right path to a successful future! Here are some tips for self-employed people to ensure you do it right and make the most of this opportunity to secure a stable income for yourself in the long run.
A Guide for Freelancers and Self-Employed Professionals
Test and Grow Your Skills
The last few years have decreased the growth and profitability rates of most businesses as they struggle their way through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the decrease in new cases and widespread vaccinations across the globe, things are expected to finally start returning to normal once again.
With this in mind, right now is the best time for you to test your skills and do your best to grow them for your business success. As you continue to work on growing and expanding your business or freelancing services, try to figure out what factors or skills others have that you might be lacking. You can also try to incorporate new skills within your specific niche so your business can stand out amongst the competition.
You can turn to numerous online learning sites and check out tutorials to grow your skillset. Anything new you learn is a direct investment into running your business, so spend your free time smartly and put in your best efforts to grow your skills.
Make a To-Do List Each Day
Without a manager or team leader assigning you daily tasks to accomplish, you will have to rely on yourself to get things done each day. It is human nature to forget and miss out on things, but your clients will not be too willing to accept this excuse. So, it is essential for freelancers to develop a process for themselves that allows them to track and prioritize daily tasks.
Start each day by making a to-do list for yourself that contains everything you have to get done. Use color coding to highlight the level of priority each task falls on and then proceed with your workday accordingly.
Having a to-do list will keep you focused, and trust us, nothing feels as good as checking off each task on the list. It will serve as a little nugget of motivation for you to keep doing your best and accomplishing all of the tasks for the day.
Seek Numerous Income Sources
When you're working as a freelancer or running your own business, you will soon come to realize that the days of receiving a stable monthly salary for you are over. Work and clients ebb and flow in the freelance industry, and you need to be prepared for it to manage your finances well.
One of the best ways to ensure a relatively steady income for yourself is to ensure you have cash inflow from numerous sources. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket and instead try to have numerous regular clients at any time. Reach out to different industries and bring in customers from different bases. This will serve you well should your income sources in a particular industry dry up, and your business can continue to grow long-term without suffering a big loss.
Ease Your Administrative Burden
It will do you well to remember that a significant percentage of a self-employed person's daily tasks are considered unbillable. After all, clients will pay you for the specific service that you are providing, not for the background work that you do to accomplish that service. So, all of the meetings you schedule, emails you answer, and invoices you file are tasks that you aren't directly paid for.
As a freelancer, you should set your charges and delivery dates after considering all of this extra work that you will be handling by yourself. Moreover, consider investing in accounting and project management tools to help ease some of the administrative burdens on you. This will allow you to manage everything seamlessly without compromising the quality of services that you provide.
Follow the 90/20 Rule
Have you heard about the experiment conducted by the US Navy to figure out how to make young individuals more productive? You might not be enlisting in the navy, but the findings will definitely prove beneficial for you too.
In their experiment, the navy concluded that the 90/20 rule works best to promote productivity and improved performance, no matter what kind of work you might be doing. The rule is quite simple; you work for 90 minutes without interruptions and then take a 20-minute break.
As a self-employed individual, you probably lose track of time quite regularly and end up working through your lunch break. This is a recipe for burnout, and you will find yourself getting lesser work done despite the long hours. That is why you need to follow the 90/20 rule whether you work from home or even a co-working space. The rule boosts productivity, allows your mind some breaks to freshen up, and ensures that you stay at peak mental performance. Since our brains are naturally designed to start losing focus after 90 minutes, you might as well enjoy a break then and return to work with renewed energy.
Remember to Switch Off Every Now and Then
Being your own boss might sound like you're getting the best deal for yourself, but remember that it leaves you in charge of EVERYTHING. So, as a self-employed individual or even a freelancer, you should brace yourself for long hours and increased responsibility. After all, you will be managing everything from clients and the actual work to administrative responsibilities and even finances. In the midst of all this, it can be quite easy to lose yourself at work and forget to switch off entirely.
Freelancers often report working through the night, replying to emails even after work hours, and being available to their clients 24/7. It might seem like the right thing to do to ensure the best services, but you are putting yourself on track for a horrible burnout that can set your progress back by weeks, if not longer.
So, do your best to set a time to switch off each day and make sure you don't answer the work phone after that. Spend some time after work to catch up with a friend at the bar, go for a relaxing walk and catch up on your favorite shows. As a self-employed individual, you must remember that the time you spend on yourself is also an indirect investment into your business. After all, your business can only be successful if you are performing at your best!
Be Sure to Stay Active
Exercise doesn't just keep your body in the best condition, but it can also do wonders to improve your mental capacity. Daily workouts, walks, and jogs are some of the best ways to keep yourself productive. Regular exercise helps you focus better and get more done with little distractions, all of which will help you run your business and accomplish your freelancing tasks.
When you decide to exercise, keep in mind that it doesn't have to be anything crazy or more than your body can take. Start slow with 15 to 20 minutes of light exercise to warm your body up before you move on to more extensive workouts. You can even exercise while working! Check out these fitness chairs from FlexiSpot that allow you to exercise while you work.
The Sit2Go 2-in-1 Fitness Chair is the perfect addition to any home office. It comes with a breathable mesh backrest, supportive cushioning on the seats, and a heart adjusting option to offer you maximum back support. This super comfortable fitness chair acts as the best alternative to your office chair, offering you a bike at your feet while you work.
You can easily choose to pedal throughout your workday to break free from the sedentary lifestyle and fix numerous health issues.
Create Your Ergonomic Work Setup with FlexiSpot
FlexiSpot has a wide range of highly ergonomic products to help you create the ideal work environment within the comforts of your home. These products have been carefully designed, keeping in mind the needs of freelancers and self-employed individuals. Whether you're looking for ergonomic office chairs, standing desks, and other essential tools like lamps and storage cabinets, FlexiSpot offers it all at market competitive prices.
Our goal is to help maximize your productivity, keep you healthy and save your time as you run your startup or develop your freelancing business. All of our compact and high-functioning products will help you achieve all of your goals and ensure business success!