Choosing to become a soloprenuer – a freelancer – is one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made. It’s also been one of the most challenging.
Not only do freelancers fight stigmas and assumptions attached to their careers, but they also face unique complications tied to working from home and making your own schedule. Below, we’re going to discuss six things freelance experts famously fail to mention when explaining the complex work life of a soloprenuer.
Working From Home Requires Immense Willpower
Even if you design your home office with convenience and focus in mind, you’ll forever be tempted to play with your pet, watch your favorite show, visit with friends, or curl up with a decent book. Part of the wonder of being a soloprenuer is the ability to turn off your computer and walk away whenever the urge strikes. It doesn’t matter how motivated you are, how prepared your planner makes you feel, or how many times you’ve promised yourself you won’t leave the office. Inevitably, you will.
There are, of course, certain additions that can keep you in the office for longer sections of time. Adding a comfortable chair or couch, for example, can make it easier to switch your position from time to time – thus removing focus from the discomfort of sitting at your desk for hours on end. Other popular solutions include stand-up desk attachments, unique lighting systems, and multiple monitors.
Still, there’s a more effective (and proven) way to increase your productivity and willpower. Choose two or three days each week that you’ll devote to working at your favorite local coffee shop, park, beach, or library. By taking your workstation on the road, you’ll eliminate the number of temptations at your fingertips. When your environment alternates consistently, you’ll feel a sharper focus when working outside and inside your home.
Your Personal Projects Might Be Forgotten
There’s a harsh reality involved when working creatively for clients: your personal projects often fall by the wayside. At the end of a long workday, many freelancers want nothing more than to shut down and let someone else do the thinking for them. After all, being a soloprenuer is anything but mindless.
In order to keep your personal projects (like novels, blogs, and programs) progressing smoothly, schedule time for the projects that matter most. For example, if you’ve been trying to finish a novel for two years, schedule one or two hours per week to focus solely on writing your manuscript. You won’t be working day and night, but you’ll make progress while reigniting your overall interest (and passion) in the project.
People Will Make Assumptions About Soloprenuer Careers
You’ll hear the popular ones: “When are you going to get a real job?” “What do you call yourself, exactly?” “I’m looking for some easy money – how do I get started?”
All of these questions are inherently offensive. Being a soloprenuer is, without question, a real and demanding career. Working with clients, marketing your services, and meeting deadlines are all time-consuming, talent-focused skills that can’t be completed by just anybody. We aren’t filling out surveys or putting together CD cases for a quick buck. We’re offering a service in high demand.
While you’re intimately familiar with these facts, your friends and family are not. You’ll have to answer inevitable questions about income and motivation without sounding frustrated or taken aback. You’ll feel pressure to “prove” yourself – to justify your career. But you don’t need to justify your career to anyone. Upwork estimates that just under 35 percent of employees will work remotely by 2028. We are the wave of the future.
Your Smartphone Isn’t Your Friend
There are dozens – strike that, hundreds – of applications you can download on your smartphone to improve your focus and productivity. Don’t trust them. These applications, and your smartphone, are designed to glue your eyes to the wrong screen. Spending too much time on your smartphone can divide your focus and lead to (you guessed it) a serious migraine.
Instead of looking at your phone to answer every email, text message, and notification within seconds, turn on the ringer and flip your phone over. Answer phone calls when necessary. Otherwise, go through emails and notifications on your computer sparingly while you work.
Special Glasses and Massages Might Be Necessary
Sitting in front of a screen for the majority of the day isn’t healthy or medically advisable. In order to shield your eyes from serious stain, you may want to invest in a special pair of glasses. A simple search for “computer glasses” on Google, Amazon, or eBay will do the trick. Some freelancers invest in monthly massages to correct the strain placed on their back while using a desk chair. Improving your posture throughout the day – and taking fish oil supplements – are less expensive ways to treat these issues.
Your Sleep Cycle Is Essential
We’ve all read the articles about early morning productivity. This is a load of crap. Your body has a specific sleep cycle that it prefers – and messing with that cycle will do absolutely nothing for your creative flow. We don’t show up half-awake for a retail shift when we miss sleep. We show up half-awake for an important project that requires our full, undivided attention. Seven to nine hours is recommended for adults, and I recommend using every minute of that time for the rest your brain (and body) deserves.
Being a soloprenuer isn’t easy – but it’s worth it.