Achieve the perfect balance

Be the best freelancer

If you think freelancing is cakewalk think again. Have you truly understood the meaning of freelancer?

It’s someone who works independently rather than being employed by a firm or company yet who is not an entrepreneur. What is an entrepreneur then? Well the difference between the two is that an entrepreneur usually has a business through which he sells goods and services while a freelancer is someone who looks for jobs – or one off projects – on websites like Fivver and Upwork. An entrepreneur makes a sale while a freelancer signs a contract.

There’s a difference in the way freelancers and entrepreneurs operate yet a similarity in that they both work for themselves and must scout for customers / clients.

What are the challenges or risks a Freelancer faces?


As a freelancer you might sometimes find yourself overwhelmed with work and other times you may find you are out of work. You have to constantly be on the lookout for work. Because work is uncertain so is payment. This type of uncertainty can be nerve wracking if you don’t know how to deal with it.

You have to be something of a juggler if you want to freelance.

The best solution to this is working with multiple clients. That way not only will you always (well almost) have a project in hand. Of course deadlines can clash and you might end up having more work than you can handle so be prepared – backing out of a commitment is simply not done.

Meeting Deadlines

Freelancing is not a form of passive income but let’s face it, if you are a freelancer people – both at home and at work – expect the moon. Besides, people at home almost never take your work seriously – even when you are devoting several hours a day to it. When your work and social calendar clash or worse when you’re working multiple projects and client deadlines clash it can trigger a storm that will leave you floundering.

If you want to avoid this mess get organized from the get go. Maintain a record of your commitments and assign timelines for work completion. Don’t forget to leave some wiggle space for yourself.

Here are some tips to manage your freelance work

Zero Perks

Employee benefits have gone way beyond TA/DA (Travel and Dearness Allowance) and bonus. There’s a whole lot more that you will miss out on if you are not working regular job. As a freelancer you are your own boss so there’s really nobody to say you’ve excelled, give you a promotion, offer a bonus or pay you out of pocket expenses. So, if you want to stay motivated and afloat you should reward yourself for targets achieved or bonus received – you can define these yourself. And remember to set aside a small amount as pension for when you retire. Don’t forget to revise your rates every so often – once a year is best – and change your job profile too. And after all you are the boss so take a break when you feel like – or need – one.

Knowing how to set boundaries is important for a freelancer

Finding Work

Despite the hype on WFH during the pandemic, freelance work is not easy to find. While outsourcing is gaining traction, individual freelancers still struggle to find work. If this happens to you check to see if you are foregoing opportunities because of your own hesitation. If this is the case perhaps you are not in right niche. You should also check if you are looking for work in the right place. For instance, a site like Fivver is radically different from one like freelancer.com or LinkedIn. Find the site that offers the kind of work you are looking for and then begin scouting opportunities. When you do find a client you can work well with, stay in touch and don’t let them go. Social networking sites like Facebook are now sporting groups that offer opportunities to freelancers. Joining a few such groups can help score a job or two.

Remember to research any client well before you commit.

Financial Peaks and Vales

Given the nature of freelancing work, there may be some months when you do not receive any payment and others when you receive more than your expectations. This can put paid to your fiscals – especially if you are depending on this income for your bread and butter – cake you can always buy tomorrow.

Jokes apart though, this can disrupt your monthly payments and taxation. So if you are seriously into freelancing – or hoping to be a freelancer – it’s important to learn how to manage your finances. Maintain a detailed record of payments due and received. Make sure you follow up on delayed payments and defaults. Ensure that you record each task that you undertook, the agreed price, and the payment received. More importantly, don’t spend every penny that comes in.

Freelancers should remember to save in times of boom so that you can navigate the slack with ease.

Work Life Balance

If you are wondering what work life balance looks like don’t look at freelancers. Freelancers find it harder than regular employees to set and maintain the boundaries between work and home so it is not the best jobs for work life balance. If you want to stay sane set up a schedule, set up a work space, and then stick to them.

It helps to know the type of freelancer you are.

There are a number of time-management apps you can use to trigger alarms for getting to or off work and completing chores. Make sure you take a day off every week. Making this a weekday instead of a weekend has the added benefit that you can complete your “official” tasks like visiting the bank or other offices that are closed on weekends.

Isolation and Boredom

Sounds strange? Well it’s all very well to say you are your own boss but working alone can be boring and you’ll seek company at some point. The best way to overcome this is of course doing something that you are passionate about and which will occupy your mind to the extent that you appreciate the isolation rather than resent it. But yes, that may not always be possible so the next best thing is to join a co-working space where other freelancers like you are working. Other ways to kill boredom is to meet your clients and people in your network whenever you have the opportunity. This will give you a chance to discuss work with likeminded people and dispel some of the boredom. And of course you can always turn to your family for company – but you can’t discuss work.

Hard to please clients

It takes all kinds to make a world – this was perhaps crafted for freelancers and their clients.

As a freelancer you will encounter all manner of clients from the very easy ones who give clear instructions – let you do your magic – and then pay promptly, to the very difficult ones who will be ambiguous, keep looking over your shoulder, and pay late or not at all.

Setting clear boundaries and limits on your work and time schedule will help you deal with such difficult people. Penning (or emailing) down the terms of your relationship is always a good idea. Define the scope of your work and the payment you expect for it before you begin work. Advance payment is rare for freelancers except where the scope of work is huge or you are running an agency – in which case you won’t be categorized as a freelancer.

Ready to go? Check out the types of freelance work you can do.

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