Transitioning in your freelance business can be difficult. How do you manage your time when you don't seem to have any?
My freelance business is going through something of a transition. I'm shifting my focus toward bigger projects, and trying to get away from having lots of little projects. It's difficult because I'm not much of a risk taker, and I still have to think about providing for my family, but I'm trying to change things up a bit.
As a result, my time is getting harder to manage. I still have to do all the little things, but I also want to establish the larger projects. It's something of a quandary, and I've honestly managed my time very well. The fact that I'm trying to do this during an exceptionally busy and stressful summer has only added to the problems, and I've continued to struggle with just about everything.
But I've decided to move forward with some of the big things anyway. This has meant, unfortunately, that I've pretty much destroyed my reputation as one of the most reliable freelance writers out there. I've been kind of flaky, and even when I do manage to get a little bit ahead, I squander that. But I'm trying to pull it together, and I'm confident I'll manage in the end (especially after next week, when my son heads back to school).
Can You Manage Your Time During a Freelance Business Transition
I've handled this whole thing so badly that I've managed to learn a few things about making a freelance business transition. Here are some things that I've learned from this experience:
- Sometimes you just have to go for it: I've had a book written for a couple of months. But getting things together has been difficult. I know that I want to try self-publishing for this one, but I've found that it's not a good fit for Kickstarter. So I just threw it up on Indiegogo and I'm going for it. It's been a focus of mine for a few weeks, and I've made it a priority, so it's finally up there. Meeting my goal is another issue altogether.
- Get the most important things done first: Throughout all of this, I've been trying to make sure that I get the most important things done first. Unfortunately for some of the smaller blogging clients, “most important” often means “highest paying.” I feel a little bad about that, but deadlines need to be met, and some of these deadlines pay five to 10 times what a smaller individual blog is paying. Which means that some of those blogs get shuffled off a bit.
- Reduce distractions: I've had some distractions (yay summer/husband job search/family issues/and other things) lately, and there are few things that kill productivity. I've tried to manage my time a little better so that I have chunks of distraction-free work time, but it's been harder than I thought. When I do manage to get rid of the distractions, I get a lot more done.
- Sometimes you have to force yourself to keep moving: There are times when I've had to force myself to focus. The extra work I've taken on as part of the transition has been stressful. I have to keep up with the “old” work because I need the money. The “new” work is fulfilling, but the pay off will come later (if it comes at all). Sometimes, you have to force yourself to keep going. Even when you want to stop.
- Sometimes you have to just stop: I also discovered that sometimes I need to just stop, even if something is left undone. You reach the point where you are tired and stressed and your work suffers. Sometimes, it makes sense to stop, and tackle it fresh in the morning, when you are more focused and have a better chance at being more productive.
Image: William Warby via Flickr