Sorry. I know you worked really hard to break those first four bad habits. Unfortunately, there are a few more – but then perhaps you’re not guilty of any of them? Get ready to score yourself out of ten against these:
You don’t give it your all
Freelancing isn’t the easy option and if you treat it as though it is, eventually your reputation will suffer and your work will dry up.
Remember: you do have a boss, and that boss is you. Don’t let yourself get away with things you wouldn’t let a paid employee get away with.
Ensure your work is of the same quality as it would be if you were doing it for an employer, and that you’re really putting in the hours you like to think you are!
You forget you’re at work
Freelancing is meant to give you freedom and flexibility, yes – but not the freedom to be lazy and waste hours on the internet.
Don’t kid yourself that you’re working if you’re really wasting time chatting on the phone or on social media. Networking may be essential, but learn to recognise when you’re wandering away from what’s essential for your work.
Don’t schedule appointments or social commitments during your working hours unless you have to – or if you do, ensure you stay on schedule with your work and make up the time later.
Remove distractions – or if you can’t, remove yourself to somewhere where there aren’t any!
You don’t plan or organise
Freelancing of any kind usually means that there are deadlines and expectations you must meet. Unless you plan and prioritise your workload, you’re at risk of not meeting these deadlines or fulfilling your clients’ expectations.
Know what your goals are for your next work session. This means you won’t waste time debating what to start on first.
Keep your physical and digital workspaces well organised and tidy so that you can find things quickly and easily.
Ensure you schedule in time to back up your work, promote your services and do any necessary admin.
Experiment until you find a system for organising and prioritising your work that suits you. It doesn’t matter whether you use a diary, calendar, time or task management app, or a spreadsheet – they can all work if you find them effective and easy to use. Just ensure you don’t spend so much time inputting your tasks into a complex system that you run out of time to actually do the work.
There will always be someone out there offering to do more for less.
Consider your qualifications and experience, your reputation and your ability to deliver work on time and how much you need to earn. Then charge accordingly.
Your costs go up every year. It’s not unreasonable, therefore, to raise your rates accordingly – and you wouldn’t expect to stay in employment for years without getting a pay increase now and then, would you?
How did you do? Do you need to completely change the way you work, or are you sitting there smiling smugly, sure that none of these apply to you?
Hmm. It’s easy to start our careers with good intentions, but then let things slip once there’s work coming in regularly. So don’t rest on your laurels; take the time to do a regular self-audit, so that these bad habits don’t creep into your work life unnoticed!
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