On Knowing Your Limitations as a Freelancer

Do you know your limitations as a freelancer? Sometimes, you need to take a step back and get realistic about what you can do.

Every year since 2011, I've attended FinCon. I attend two or three conferences over the course of most years, since it is a good way to network and get to know potential clients.

But FinCon is by far my favorite conference. It's interesting and helpful. And all my friends are there. The PF community is where I've made my home, and I love seeing everyone when I attend FinCon.

As I've prepared to attend, I've thought about the realities of getting my work done as a freelancer. This year, I'm finally ready to face the facts and understand that I will not get anything done while at FinCon.

This realization has me pondering my other limitations as a freelancer — something that I hope will result in an improvement in my overall ability to better manage my workload and my business.

"She is Working, I am Procrastinating"

Be Realistic About How You Use Your Time

In the past, I've told myself that I will do work while I'm away. And, in some cases, I have, in fact, managed to get one or two things done. But most of the time I find myself surprised that nothing is getting done while I'm away.

I've finally faced up to my limitations when it comes to attending FinCon, and accepted that I will not use my time to work. Even when I manage to snatch a few minutes of downtime, I'm really just going to nap — not do anything productive.

So, since I'm being realistic about my time use, I've worked ahead. I wrapped up everything that needs to be done, and I'm even scheduling a few social media postings. Because I don't trust myself to do it effectively later.

This doesn't just apply when you're going on a trip, though. As a freelancer, you need to be realistic about other time use issues in your life.

  • How much can you really expect to get done while your child is taking a nap or at school?
  • If you blow off work this morning, will you truly make up for it this afternoon? (I know I won't. If it's not written before lunch, it's probably not getting written that day.)
  • Do you really have as much time to finish that project as you think you do?

Consider the demands on your time, and be realistic about the way you use it. Pay attention to your habits. While it's best to change bad habits and replace them with good habits, the reality is that sometimes it just doesn't work that way. Do your best to make the most of your time, and then be realistic about what you will accomplish. If you know something is coming up that will limit your ability to get things done, create a schedule to tackle your most important tasks ahead of time, and don't tell yourself you'll have time later.

As a Freelancer, Do You Have the Knowledge or Expertise for That Project?

It can be hard to say no as a freelancer. However, sometimes you need to take a step back and pass on something. And not just because you're limited on time.

I'm comfortable writing about most money-related subjects, and I don't mind writing about a number of other non-money topics, either. However, it's important to be realistic about what you can accomplish, and what you can do well.

There have been times when I haven't felt like the most qualified person to write about something. Yes, you can interview an expert or perform some research so that you are up to scratch. But you need to make sure you factor that into your workload. In some cases, it might not be worth it to gather the information needed to properly cover a subject you don't know about.

Carefully weigh your options, and determine whether or not you can truly handle what you are doing. You don't want to burn out, and you want to make sure you don't push yourself beyond the breaking point.

0 thoughts on “On Knowing Your Limitations as a Freelancer”

  1. Great article!

    I’m like you, if I don’t write it early… it mayyy not happen. 🙂

    Seems congruent with the PF community in general. I see a lot of activity early in the AM until 3-4 CST and then it kinda dies until late evening.

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