Digital nomads, freelancers, and remote workers of all walks — we’re going to have an interesting discussion today. We often talk about a variety of issues involving the ever-changing landscape of the workplace. Even debunking the numerous stereotypes surrounding remote work.
Oh, you haven’t heard?
Everything from ‘remote workers get less done,’ ‘communication suffers with remote workers,’ ‘remote workers are sad and lonely,’ ‘remote workers damage company culture,’ and many other false concepts concerning the emerging freelance and remote work environment are floating around business blogs.
Evidently, some are afraid of change despite the overwhelming data which debunks many of the myths. Especially when considering the Global Workplace Analytics study which shows office workers aren’t at their desks 50-60% of the time they are at work.
We should save a longer discussion about the misconceptions floating around for another time.
Once you establish a stable income, freelancing is one of the most freeing endeavors in the world.
However, there are adjustments everyone who enters freelance needs to learn. The vast majority focus on learning how to budget money.
Which is definitely an important skill for everything transitioning into freelance need to learn. It’s also relevant to almost every other facet of our modern lives.
Instead of entirely focusing on balancing your income, learning how to properly budget time is one of the most important skills necessary for becoming a successful freelancer.
Allow me to begin explaining by first detailing the differences between a traditional office job and that of a freelance who operates using a digital workplace. The former involves almost every aspect of ‘work’ being decided by your employer.
Depending on the specific vertical everything from your work schedule, daily routine, when you take breaks, and the clients you work with will all be decided by a manager.
In some cases, a worker may have little or no say regarding any of the decisions, creating a repetitive and what can be become unfulfilling; yet a structured lifestyle.
On the other hand, freelancers have nearly complete control over their work lives. In most cases, a freelancer will be able to make their work schedule, decide which clients to work with, decide when to take breaks, and have the freedom to make immediate changes to their schedule without consulting with a manager.
Depending on the freelancer, they may also be able to take on different projects in separate verticals to keep their work life from ever becoming repetitive. Although freelancing allows for a freer lifestyle, it can be chaotic for those who aren’t used to managing their work lives.
These two dynamics are at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
Which explains why budgeting time is so important when you enter the world of freelance. Some individuals will either overbook themselves; which can quickly lead to burnout, or not schedule enough work and end up scrambling to replace their old income.
Not to mention beginning a bad habit of falling out of a normal work pattern; making the transition to freelance a far more difficult affair.
Setting a realistic schedule for yourself before beginning to advertise your freelance schedule will make the entire process of filling out your Upwork profile (the best freelance platform), reaching out to clients, and immediately setting expectations helps freelancers avoid pitfalls.
Doing this work prior to speaking with clients will allow freelancers to know exactly how they will need to budget time throughout the week.
So, why is budgeting time just as important as budgeting expenses?
Without properly budgeting time, you won’t have any monetary resources to budget. Is that an oversimplification? Not, really. As mentioned earlier; over and under working yourself will lead to negative consequences.
Burnout is a likely outcome of scheduling yourself too heavily during the entry freelance phase, which could lead to diminished work quality and a loss of clients. Once losing clients on a platform like Upwork, your reputation can take a heavy hit; sometimes unfairly.
Not seeking enough work can lead to missed opportunities, lower income, and creating a working environment which prevents your freelance business from growing.
You could classify a freelance expenses and budgeting time as a correlated relationship, rather than a spurious affair.
So, how does a new freelancer correctly budget time? Is it as simple as just creating a mental image of how your work week will function? Not quite, digital technology plays a pivotal role.
Depending on your specific vertical learning how to utilize various project managing tools, scheduling software, productivity apps and whatever else you may need in order to complete your job in the most efficient manner.
Software like Teamup and Trello aid freelancers in organizing their business, provide a visual of their current tasks, and allow them to see if they have any room for additional projects on their schedule.
Freelancing is extremely rewarding and can rejuvenate how you feel towards work and life in general. Making the effort to budgeting time will allow you to run your operation in an efficient manner with as little stress as possible.
“Once you made your weekly schedule, it’s vital that you stick to it. By doing so, you avoid the risk of rushing your work which could lead to a lower quality standard,”
is something I’ve wrote in the past and stand by now.
Stay true to your schedule and your life as a freelancer be quite fruitful.