Freelancing has never been a walk in the park. The first couple of years are always tough and giving up on that nomadic dream seems to be the logical alternative.
Being a freelancer allows you the flexibility of setting your own schedule so that you only work when you’re at your sharpest. The holiday season comes with a lot of distractions and it is easy to lose focus on your work.
Switching to freelancing requires a leap of faith and one is never fully settled even if the work is regular. There are tips that may come in handy to keep you sharp and productive during the holiday season.
Develop a doable list
You need to be realistic with what you can do during the holiday season. Set aside time for your family friends. Since freelancing is project-based, you might experience low cash flow during the holiday season. The doable list needs to include how many hours and projects you need to complete.
You also need to ask yourself if the money you make will cover the expenses and the number of days you will not be working during the holiday season.
Streamline and automate the working process
The holidays present an opportunity to streamline your work process. Most freelancers are not organized when it comes to working and it gets difficult to have a work-life balance.
Streamlining will boost your efficiency and you get to do more in less time. You also minimize errors that may occur in your work. There are different ways you can streamline your work process. The approach should be multifaceted and holistic so that it takes care of the important aspects of your work and life.
The holiday season is the perfect time to automate your freelancing life. There are tasks that are repetitive and take up a lot of your time.
If you work involves social media, you can use “IFTTT”. This app uses notification to trigger another app to function. Let’s say you post on Facebook, the IFTTT app will automatically trigger posting on Twitter or on any other platforms you choose.
You can also use software to schedule your work weeks in advance so that you don’t have to work throughout the holiday season. And by automating your calendar you will know what needs to be done every day during the holiday season.
Remember to communicate with clients about your availability during the holiday season in case you have a long-term project.
How do you handle your projects?
Do you have a system in place that tracks the different milestones from when you get the project?
There are freelancers who use email as the main form of communication with their clients. This can be challenging if you want to explain complex projects that require a breakdown. The holiday season comes with a lot of distractions and you might not have a chance to communicate with your client as much as you would wish to.
Having a project management system in place ensures that the client knows the status as far as the project is concerned.Some of the common project and communication management systems include Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and Slack. With a project management system in place, you are able to prioritize your work based on the urgency.
Work can be reassigned or rescheduled on a needs basis. You’ll be better off going for the holidays knowing you’ve taken care of the most important aspects of your work.
Time for reflection
The holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on your achievements both in life and work.
Have you achieved what you set out when the year was starting?
Don’t be hard on yourself if you didn’t reach your goals.Take the failures and setbacks as a learning opportunity.
Take some time off work and interact with your family and friends. Go on that holiday you have been dreaming about all year and forget about work for a moment! A break may be what you need to be rejuvenated and to regain back your focus. Life is too short and should be enjoyed to the fullest.
Update your portfolio and resume
Having a lot of work could leave you with little time to update your portfolio. The holiday season is the perfect time to update your resume. You can also revise your rates provided there is a justification for it.
You can reach out to your old clients if there is a new or improved service offering. You’ll be surprised by the feedback you get if you have a good relationship with them.
Another idea is to reach out to other freelancers for networking opportunities, so that you are able to share the challenges and experiences in your industry.
Work and travel
You don’t have to ditch your work completely during the holiday season. You can work and play at the same time.
Since freelancing is all about setting your own hours, you can decide to work for half of the week and travel the other half. You will still get to enjoy the holiday as everyone else without compromising on your work.
There are people who are full-time digital nomads because of the flexibility that comes with freelancing. You can work from any part of the globe. You’re not tied to a 9-5 and don’t have to commute to work on a daily basis which can be stressful sometimes.
Making the best out of the holiday as a freelancer is all about finding the perfect balance. Planning ahead and automating processes will ensure you don’t lose focus as you enjoy the holidays. Make the most out of the holidays by reflecting on your achievements and come up with strategies to address the shortcomings.
Jasmine Williams is a writer specialised in business and marketing, who loves to cook and dance and you can find her on Twitter @JazzyWilliams88.