Freelancing can be a ton of fun. But so often, when launching your freelance career, it’s common to get overwhelmed with the administrative work needed to build your own business. You become so concerned with finding new clients, meeting deadlines, invoicing, tracking time, etc. that it becomes easy to lose sight of why you took this path in the first place. To lose out on opportunities like schedule flexibility and the ability to work on projects that add value to your life.
Why did you decide to become a freelancer in the first place? Maybe you loved the work you were doing and wanted to focus more on that and less on the politics that can come with working full-time for a company. Or perhaps you wanted to break into a new field. Or, you simply wanted to reclaim fun in your work. If you’re looking for a fresh perspective on your freelance career, here are six ways to have more fun freelancing – proven by our community of freelancers.
1) Reassess your client roster
Take a step back and look at the type of projects you’re working on and what you’re producing. Do they make you happy? Do you enjoy the end result or the process? Or, do you love the people you’re working with? If you find yourself bored with the work you’re doing or not enjoying the client experience, it’s time to switch up your client roster. Yes, it’s ok to “take what you can get” when you first get started freelancing in order to launch your career. But with time, try to shift your mindset from “I need to take this to pay the bills” to “I love this work, and it pays the bills.”
Yes, it’s ok to “take what you can get” when you first get started freelancing in order to launch your career. But with time, try to shift your mindset from “I need to take this to pay the bills” to “I love this work, and it pays the bills.” In our guide to making more money as a freelancer, we share how to productize your services. When you package your services, you can sell those packages for the projects you rather not be hands on for and spend more time working closely on the ones you’re more interested in.
2) Start a passion project or hobby
Side projects are a great creative outlet. If you find that you’re not creatively stimulated with your client work, start a project that’s just for you. In a study of the effects of creative hobbies, San Francisco State psychology professor Dr. Kevin Eschleman and his colleagues found that those with a creative hobby were more likely to be helpful, collaborative and creative with their job performance. Those with a creative hobby were also more likely to feel relaxed and in control when not at work.
By challenging yourself with something different, you’ll earn new skills, processes, lessons and tools that you can apply to your client work – while having fun! In Smashing Magazine, Jon Yablonski put it perfectly when he said, “Side projects afford us the freedom to dig a bit deeper and discover creative solutions we otherwise wouldn’t have found with projects that come with greater constraints. Unlike client projects, whose constraints are beyond our control, the constraints we must contend with in personal initiatives are self-imposed. We can deliberately set these boundaries to spur creative exploration and discovery, which in turn can be leveraged to benefit client projects in the future.”
You don’t have to tackle your side projects alone, either. Consider collaborating with people you have fun with or who you can learn from. Who you surround yourself with can have a big impact on how much fun you’re having.
3) Collaborate with fellow freelancers
You don’t have to start a side project to collaborate with other people. You can collaborate with fellow freelancers on client work. That way, you’re not the only one left with all of the work and can focus on the aspects you truly enjoy. Plus, you have someone to bounce ideas off of and brainstorm with. We often see Peeps hire Peeps to work on client projects together with great success.
Reflecting on her experience in working with fellow Peep Danielle Devereux, Lisa Crocco said, “Being hired as a Peep by a Peep has not only been a great experience, but also a ton of fun. I’m so happy I was hired to collaborate with Danielle on client projects. Being a remote worker can feel lonely, but working with Danielle over Slack, Skype, Trello, etc. has made me feel like I have a coworker sitting in the cubicle next to me always there to chat.”
4) Cowork with people
There’s no doubt that working remotely can feel isolating and lonely at times. We’ve shared several different ways to overcome loneliness as a freelancer before. One of the easiest ways to break through that feeling is to cowork with people! You can join a coworking space, which is a great way to meet fellow freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives. Or, meet up with fellow remote workers at your favorite coffee shop or library. If you prefer to work at home most of the time, make it a treat and cowork with fellow freelancers once a month at a Freelance Friday pop-up.
If there’s not yet a Freelance Friday in your city, become an organizer. It’s an excellent way to meet potential friends, collaborators, and clients!
5) Make the most of remote work and travel
Being a freelancer means that you can make your own schedule and work from wherever you want. That might mean that you have the flexibility to spend more time with family. Or, you can live nomadically and travel while you work. Peep Ashley McGregor Dey suggests working from different cities and/or countries as much as possible. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune to live nomadically. Here are 14 travel hacking tools to help you do it on the cheap.
You also don’t have to travel to make the most of remote work. Peep Sarah Foster said, “I frequently work outdoors. My favorite park has a picnic shelter with an electrical outlet. I can exercise and then get right to work, and I can stay there for hours.”
Peep Marie Knowles added, “Take a break once in a while and remember why you’ve become a freelancer in the first place! Two of the best parts of being a freelancer is that you are free to both choose your clients and choose your own hours. I like that I can cram to get work done so that I have time to take a break during the work week if I want to!”
6) Reward yourself
What’s more fun than rewarding yourself? Leverage your flexible schedule to take a weekday off to go to the beach, for a hike, a fancy meal, a salon day – let your imagination run wild! You work hard as a business owner. It’s only fair that you take advantage of the flexibility to enjoy yourself. Use that time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and why. And when you return to work, you’ll feel lighter and more excited about what you need to tackle!
Ready to have more fun freelancing?
If you’re looking for people to cowork or collaborate with, reach out to fellow freelancers in the CloudPeeps community. You’ll find marketers, writers, designers, developers and more. You’ll meet people who work for themselves and have found unique ways to have fun in their work. If you haven’t already joined the community, we’d love to have you! Join here.
*Photo by Manik Rathee.*
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