Running a freelance business (and how to get past the small stuff)

wildlife bird crumbs - freelancing - how to get past the small stuff

“Life sometimes gets so bogged down in the details, you forget you are living it. There is always another appointment to be met, another bill to pay, another symptom presenting….. We have synchronized our watches, studied our calendars, existed in minutes, and completely forgotten to step back and see what we’ve accomplished.”  Jodi Picoult, author of “My Sister’s Keeper”

 

No-one enjoys setbacks in life, especially when those setbacks feel as if they’re out of your control.

So when it’s just you running your freelance biz, trying to keep at it day in, day out, at times, the small stuff gets in the way – leaving you exhausted and overwhelmed.

Here are some issues I’ve personally had to contend with and how I’ve overcome them.

I’m sure there will be others that you will have encountered, but perhaps you can identify with some of these:

 

WEARING MULTIPLE HATS

 

Bookkeeping:  For starters, being self-employed often means having to do your own bookkeeping – at least in the early stages. It’s an essential part of your business, yet it can daunting to the extent that you leave your bookkeeping to the end of the month, or worse still, the end of the year when your self-assessment or accounts are due.

How to tackle it:  Having a system in place, right from the very start, will help to alleviate the stress.  So simple things such as sending out invoices promptly, chasing up non-payment promptly and keeping accurate records of your incomings and outgoings.   Keepig on top of everything will prevent you from tackling things in a haphazard manner, saving you time and money in the long run.

 

I.T.  The other bane in your life.  Whether it’s the actual hardware itself, or your website.   Something pesky always happens when you least expect it and then you spend hours trying to fix it yourself.

How to tackle it:  Do yourself a favour from the word go.  Outsource tasks that you can’t do (or don’t enjoy doing) yourself.  If you hire other freelancers, they’ll likely give you a ‘mate rate’, and it’s a great way to develop collaborative partnerships for future projects.

 

Marketing:  You obviously can’t ignore it.  How else will anyone get to know about you, what you do and what you have to offer.

How to tackle it:  Don’t plug into everything that’s going just for the sake of it (unless you’re a marketer, of course).  Social media marketing is a mega time drain (unless you have mega bucks to pay someone to manage it for you). Have a system – whether that means only checking/updating your social media once a day at a certain times of the day, or scheduling things once a week, having a system in place will stop you wasting time dipping into it on an adhoc basis. And ONLY stick to what you enjoy, or what works for your biz. If your prospective clients are never on Facebook, it really doesn’t make much sense wasting time on it.

 

Managing your time:  Overall, this is probably the most important factor to get to grips with when you work for yourself.   Time is a literal asset.   It IS money, so every minute counts.  That means forgetting about the dishwasher, checking your inbox or updating social media every five minutes.  I’ve found that it’s so important to schedule time to catch up with tasks like these, and focus my main efforts on earning money.

 

THE BIG PICTURE

It comes down to having a strong sense of direction. Working on your business to put these systems in place, to make your biz work for you – and not the other way round.

So, is there a direct link between what you’re working on at this moment in time, and a real return on investment?

If not, it’s one of those jobs you need to ditch or outsource, so you can focus on what really matters.

 

I’ve also learned to break each goal into smaller goals, smaller steps, so I don’t feel overwhelmed by the mass of stuff I need to manage.

 

So over to you.  How do you get past the small stuff?

 

 

featured image credit: Unsplash

 

Author:

I’m Mary Cummings, a freelance journalist, author, ghostwriter and online educator. I help creative freelancers find their work sweet spot - that’s work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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