Finding Balance in the Freelance Economy

It’s 10 p.m. and here I am, working my freelance job. I’m one of many workers that have recently joined the freelance economy. Why? This is the job that allows me to exercise my passion, helps contribute to the bills, allows my kids to partake in expensive extracurricular activities and gives me a different sense of purpose from my “day” job. Each day, I transition into freelancing after having been on the clock since 6 a.m. working in my day job, and then as a chauffeur, chef, peace-maker and drill sergeant to my three kids. At the end of this long day, I enjoy a nice glass of wine and then begin to focus on my freelance project. A deadline is looming, and I don’t have time to give in to the fatigue.

Why freelancing is worth it

Let’s face it, many of us are spread too thin. But, as a freelance writer, I find energy to keep going when the fumes are low because I love being able to work with clients on various projects to see abstract ideas morph into concrete outcomes. I learn a lot about different industries and can apply the skills I learn on my projects to other projects. And all this while I get to cultivate the passion I have for writing and strategic communication! But that doesn’t mean that sometimes, what with multiple projects, many deadlines and a family on top of it all, I don’t feel run down.

With the freelance economy rapidly growing (a recent article in the Huffington Post mentioned that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors) it is important to stay one step ahead. In the midst of that, an age-old question remains — how do we successfully juggle it all? Over the years I have discovered a few ideas that might help.

A few tips to handle the heat of being a freelancer

Create a plan. I find the most success when I work with clients and have a clear vision and plan for what I am going to do and when I am going to do it. Creating clear deadlines, and understanding exactly what I will be delivering allows me to maximize my time and energy. In addition, a schedule keeps me on task and allows me to create a balance in my life.
Take a break. Speaking of balance, it is also important to schedule in breaks while working. I have found myself knee-deep in a writing project and before I know it, four to five hours has passed. At times, I literally have to schedule in a break to eat a snack, get some fresh air or (let’s be real) fold a load of laundry. These activities can help clear your head with the hope of working more happily and efficiently.
Rekindle your passion. like any relationship, things can get old and stale. The passion and drive you had when you first embarked on the journey as a freelancer may not be the same as the long days go by and the reality of the grind sets in. It’s a good idea to reflect on why you’re doing what you do. Create a list of things you are grateful for in order to re-center your perspective. Seek out experts in the industry and follow them on social media, read their most current blog posts and/or articles to stay savvy. Reread your initial goals and philosophies from the beginning stages of your freelance journey. Many times this is just the encouragement you need to keep pushing through the challenges.

As the idea of the freelance economy becomes more common, there will be more amazing opportunities ahead for those who want to take the leap into freelancing. This is so exciting, but it also means that, like me, more people will keep seeking ways to extend the 24-hour day so that they can get the laundry done and meet deadlines.

Do you have more tips on how to hack it as a freelancer? Tweet us @Sparkingbrands and let us know!

ABOUT Arris Shabaglian

For more than a decade Arris has worked as a freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. She has also taught university level courses on the art of communication, public relations and journalism. Arris is a Pinterest addict who loves a good night’s sleep and a nice cup of coffee. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three kids (hence the need for a nice cup of coffee).