Let’s be honest now, people don’t go freelance for job security and steady cash flow. In all likelihood, you became a freelancer for the flexibility it gives you and the dream of achieving the mythical work-life balance. Here at Appointedd we think that’s an admirable goal and we want to help you get there, but here’s the unwelcome truth: walking that tightrope can be as scary as, well, walking a tightrope, and to keep your balance takes determination, discipline, and nerves of steel. Here are four fears it’s essential to overcome on the way to the perfect work-life balancing act.
1. Not underselling yourself
One of the biggest pressures when you’re self-employed is the constant uphill battle of landing the next job, and sometimes a big empty space in your diary might be looming and you feel the panic start to set in. At these times, it can be tempting to offer much lower prices than you should really be working for, just in a frenzied attempt to secure work, any work.
But stop right there, pal. You’re a freelancer, not a performing elephant, and you shouldn’t be working for peanuts. Hold your nerve and price the job fairly, because if you don’t you could be setting a dangerous precedent and, ultimately, it does you no good at all to be working if your profit margins are negligible. It’ll just mean you have to play catch up further along the line by taking on extra jobs, and that’s a really inefficient use of your time.
2. Skiving off
Unfortunately, the reality of being self-employed is that you usually end up taking less holiday than other people. When you work for yourself there’s no one to make you take your twenty-eight days a year, and no one to pay you for them either. With this in mind, it can be really beneficial to remind yourself just what being freelance means from time to time – with a spontaneous afternoon off. If it starts to feel like you’re chained to your desk, it might be the ideal moment to push away on the casters of your swivel chair, scoop up your sweetie and head off to somewhere picturesque. Or just potato on the sofa, whatever floats your boat. It might feel wrong and scary to slack off, but it’s a great way to remind yourself that you’re not clocking in and you’re free to shape your own work day.
3. Turning down work
You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating since it’s such a tricky one to master. If you’re being asked to do a job that would cut into your designated off time, you can turn it down, and you should! But you don’t have to just say no outright; you could politely let the client know that you’ll be unavailable at that particular time, but would be happy to take the job at a later date. And if you do feel like you absolutely have to take the job, consider charging more on the basis that you’ll essentially be working overtime.
We know turning down work is a big deal, and it may take a while to become established enough to feel comfortable with it, but if you’re really serious about achieving the perfect work-life balance it’s a key fear to beat!
4. Letting the phone go to voicemail
Something that might not have occurred to most people before going freelance is the guilt that they start to feel whenever they’re not working. When you’re setting your own office hours, you can feel under a lot of pressure to always be reachable, but it’s absolutely vital that you set yourself a going home time and stick to it, even if you already work at home. If you decide you finish difinitively at 5 o’ clock, for example, it will be a lot easier to switch off and relax for the evening than if you have a vague ‘work until the work is done’ policy. Here’s a spoiler for you: it will never be done, and you will always find something else that needs doing, so don’t torture yourself.
This is where having a website where clients can book calls and consultations even when you’re finished for the day becomes a real life-saver. Appointedd offers just such a service, and has loads of time-saving tools that can make your day-to-day organisation, admin, and finances run smoothly without constant supervision. You could take a free trial and see if it can help you.
Freelancing is scary enough as it is, and that work-life balance you dreamt of can seem unattainable, but you can do it as long as you steel yourself and work to overcome these fears.
Does drumming up new business feel like a chore?
Published on 9 December 2015