For many, freelancing is synonymous with living the dream. It gives you the flexibility and freedom to work when and where you want. You can improve your work/life balance, make more time to travel and spend more time with your family. It might sound like a foolproof way to reduce stress levels but freelancing comes with its own unique set of stressors.
Studies have shown that 30% of freelancers have experienced mental health issues but making time to prioritise your needs can make all the difference. Here are our tips on managing your mental health as a freelancer and avoiding burnout.
The decision to go freelance in the first place is the most important you’ll ever make. Have you got work lined up? Do you have a cushion of savings in case of a rainy day? Navigate your field and make sure people need your skills. If there isn’t a market demand, you might not be as busy as you’d like.
The main rule of freelancing, is run a tight ship. Planning ahead will save you from a headache further down the line and help you avoid dreaded downtime. Fear of the unknown can lead to anxiety, so make sure you let people know you’re looking for work as soon as possible.
Set tangible goals. Nothing says achievement like a ticked off to do list, and it’s important to see yourself making progress without always having a traditional office structure.
Freelancers often complain about being lonely or feeling isolated. At the end of a job you don’t just leave the work behind, you leave your team. Staying in touch with your contacts is key to building your own community. Attending industry events is a great way to stay in contact with your community and potential employers.
Learn to say no. It can be tempting when freelancing to make hay when the sun shines and take every job that’s offered to you. Turning down work is turning down money after all. This might seem sensible in the short term but in the long term could lead to burn out. And nobody’s making any money when they’re burnt out.
Make sure you take time off. You might have started freelancing with intentions to spend more time on the beach with a cocktail but in reality you’ll end up working more than you think. R and R is as important as a packed schedule. It’s hard to say no to work, but you won’t be at your best when you’re feeling frazzled.
Know your worth. Working out your prices can feel daunting at first but don’t be afraid to charge what you think you deserve. Ask around peers you trust to gauge what you should be charging. Setting the right prices is a form of self-care and is integral to job satisfaction.
Don’t be afraid of self-promotion. You are your own best cheerleader, so shout it from the rooftops when you’re proud of a piece of work.
Make sure you save for a rainy day. 41% of freelancers have an inconsistent cash flow so staying on top of your finances is vital for peace of mind. In an ideal world you’ll always be working but its best to be prepared in case you’re not.
Finally, remember it isn’t all doom and gloom. 93% of self-employed people love being their own boss. As long as you make time for self-care and prioritise yourself you’ll be living the freelance dream in no time.