Working as a freelancer is a good way to earn money using whatever skills you have while also having more control over your working life and the amount of money you make.
Of course, being a freelancer can be stressful too, From not having enough work to having too much and from not having access to paid sick leave to not being able to access various employee benefits like healthcare insurance, there are so many things that can cause you to stress out when you have chosen the freelance life, no matter how good it is for you overall.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most effective things you can do to mage the stress of freelancing right now:
1) Choose Your Projects Wisely
Yes, beggars can’t be choosers, and if you are struggling to finds enough work to pay the bills, you may have to take on any assignments that come your way, but if you are doing okay and you want to stress less as a freelancer, it’s a really good idea to be more choosey about the projects you work on.
If you know that you’ll enjoy every moment of that music magazine graphic design project that pays a bit less than that big corporate design project that will take a lot of hard work, then maybe choose the project you’ll love.
Yes, you might not always make as much money by being more selective, but if you end up stressed and burnt out, you might not be able to make any money at all, so lower your stress levels by doing more projects you will enjoy, while still being able to pay the bills when you can.
2) Say No More Often
One thing that can really stress freelancers out is having lots of work to juggle, tight deadlines to meet, and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. There’s an easy fix for this: stop saying yes to every offer of work.
When you’re a freelancer, it feels wrong to turn down paid work because you want to have as many clients as possible to ensure that you never have any lean periods with little to no work available, but the thing is if you take on too much, not only will you be stressed out, but you will also be required to work long and challenging hours, an and both of these things are likely to result in a poorer standard of work, which is more likely to harm your chances of picking up new clients in the long-term.
If you want to do the work, but you don’t have enough hours in the day, see if the client is willing to work. Tell them that you would love to do the work, and you’re the best person for the job, but you currently have an X turnaround time due to demand, and often they will agree to a long deadline, but if they don’t and it isn’t a really high paying job that will really boost your portfolio consider saying no for the sake of your sanity and the quality of your portfolio.
3) Fake Control
If you are stressed out because you don’t have a diverse enough client base and you’re worried about putting all your eggs in one basket, for example, then instead of worrying, take control and do whatever you can to be proactive about the situation. For example, you could start sending out cold-pitch emails to bring in new clients or you could work on projects that will improve your portfolio in other sectors so you can more effectively sell your skills in the future.
Or, if you’re worried about getting sick and not being able to work, start saving a percentage of your income automatically each month to build up a strong emergency fund that will get you through any lean periods.
4) Make Life Easier with Technology
When you’re a freelancer, you tend to have a lot of balls to juggle from attending meetings with clients to crafting the perfect pitches, doing the work you have been commissioned for to ensuring your accounts are fully up-to-date. So, anything you can do to make life easier for yourself; anything that will help you manage all of those balls more effectively, is something you should grab with both hands.
The good news is, there are lots of tech solutions from appointment reminders for businesses to automated bookkeeping software that will lighten your load a little and make managing your working days so much less stressful than it is unreal.
5) Ensure You Have a Safety Net
When you’re a freelancer, you never know when a client is going to drop you or when work is going to dry up for whatever reason, which is why we touched upon the importance of having an emergency fund above.
As well as having an emergency fund, it is a good idea to have some form of income protection insurance in place too. This means that you will not have to stress bout what will happen if you lose work or you get sick and cannot work all the time like so many freelancers do.
Financial worries are a major stressor for freelancers but income protection insurance and a hefty emergency fund can significantly lessen these worries.
6) Learn to Meditate
Learning to meditate is easy and it is something that every freelancer should do. Why? Because it gives you respite from the thoughts that keep you in a constant state of stress. It helps you to work through your worries and ultimately gives them less weight It can also boot productivity, creativity, and concentration, so it will help you to work better too.
Freelancing is always going to be stressful now and again, but if you use these techniques to help you manage the stress, you will find that you have less stress overall and that your life as a freelancer is even more enjoyable going forward.