When you work on your own and have a control of your time and nobody kicks in to correct you like your supervisor does, you can easily build a bad habit that can become a disease to your freelance business. That's for real! The hard part is, it's sometimes difficult to detect and hard to accept. I know, because I have experienced the same thing in my 4 years of working freelance. Here are a few things to keep watch of, more importantly, to stop and eliminate in your freelance lifestyle.
Working too much and Resting too little
It's good to be diligent, to be hard working and focused. It's bad when all you do is work. Balancing work and rest and recreation is something you need to cultivate early on. Because if you don't, it's not only your business that will suffer from you getting sick, your concentration and overall productivity and eventually your business will crumble for a habit you didn't address. Bear in mind:
- WE should sleep at least 8 hours a day. You can be on time with project submission and still not lose sleep.
- WE should have a rest day, mine is on a Sunday. So, no work on Sunday.
- WE should take 5 or 10 minute breaks to relax our eyes and avoid eye strain.
Spending too quick and saving too slow
Freelance business can give you financial freedom. But wait, there's more. Yes, freedom doesn't mean you can spend and splurge on anything you want. Just because you're earning a good sum today doesn't mean it will be the same tomorrow. Watch out for those impulsive tendencies. If you can stop going to the malls, do so. Temptation to buy a gadget that's on sale is a battle many have failed to conquer. Instead, think of the future. Save something for your kids, for your family, as well as for your equipment. If you happen to encounter computer crashes that needs parts replacement, do you have a ready budget? So before that happens, save. Sooner or later you may need to upgrade to a higher specification computer, an ergonomic office furniture, or a better quality laptop, but all these will only be possible if you have money.
Hasty to close a deal and slow to deliver
We all want to have a steady, continuous work. But always consider the amount of workload that you can handle. I am not a fan of having one client only as many so called outsourcing gurus preach, but I always make sure that I am able to deliver to 2 or 3 clients that I commit to. I believe in the power of delegation. If you can't finish everything on your own, you can always subcontract to reliable freelancers within your circle. It's also important to make sure you always provide the right expectations and deliver what you've agreed on. Break that habit of being hasty to propose on a project that you can't deliver.
Full time at work but part time with family
One thing I have always loved about freelance work is the fact that I don't have to go abroad and leave my family behind just to work. I can see my kids everyday. I can play with them and see them growing. I can bring them to school, walk with them, pray with them and go with them to church. If you are full time with your freelance work, make sure you're not just a part timer with your family. After all, your kids will only be kids for a few years, don't miss that opportunity to experience their growing up years.
Habits are formed. They say, you have do it 21 times before that habit sticks. If you've done the above 20 times already, STOP it. But if you're way beyond 21, There's always a way to reset and restart. You have to make a choice to rest when it's time to rest, to save instead of splurge, to get work that you can deliver with flying colors, and to give time to your family and not just being a part time mom or dad.
What habit are you building up?
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