No doubt about it, freelancing is stressful. Sure, it is rewarding and pays more than a regular day job; but the stress that comes along with it is also arguably more than you would encounter in a 9-5 job.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. There are steps that you can do in order for you to avoid stress. Let’s identify the stressors and how we can overcome them.
- You don’t have enough clients or projects – One of the most stressful part of freelancing involves finances. Specifically, tight finances. If you are a freelancer who works for clients on a per project basis, there will be times when you will have no work and you will find the need to apply and bid for new jobs every few weeks. This is very stressful because one, you are not earning any income and two, having to go through the application process every so often will take its toll on you.
What you need to do is to try and find a long-term job online. There are a lot of them posted here on EasyOutsource. While a long-term job pays a little bit lower than a project-based one, the security of having a regular paycheck is a worthy trade off.
- You have too many projects going on at the same time – I have said this before: with freelancing, do not bite off more than you can chew. The prospect of earning a lot by working for a lot of clients may be very tempting, but you have to consider that there are only 24 hours in a day of which only about half of that can be spent working. You are not superman. You cannot defy nature just for the sake of earning money. If you do, you will only be able to sustain it for a while.
You should only take in enough clients that you know you can handle effectively. Divide your time equally among them and according to what is expected of you. If you constantly deliver outstanding work, you will surely get a pay increase and in time, you will reach your target income that you were aiming for. Always remember: patience is a virtue.
- You work in an environment that constantly interferes with your work – Most freelancers work from home. When you work at home there are a lot of distractions. Your kids could be home and they are screaming for you or trying to hoard your attention in whatever way they can, and you also have household chores to attend to. This is a difficult situation to be in an one that is not conducive for work.
What you can do is to try and organize your schedule. Set aside time to do the chores and be with your kids. Talk to them and explain to them that when it is time for you to work, they shouldn’t disturb you unless it is very important. When it is time for their nap, do as much work as you can. Set aside weekends for your family. Do not work on these days as much as possible. Make this a time to unwind and recover from the week’s stress.
- Deadlines set by your clients is too close for comfort – Sometimes, clients may set unreasonable deadlines and demand that you meet them. If you are not careful and do not think ahead, you may find yourself losing sleep just to complete a project. When a client gives you a deadline for a project, plan your workflow before accepting and committing to it. Make sure that you can meet them, without sacrificing the quality of your output. If you feel that the deadline given is too close, you can always politely decline the project or request for a deadline extension.
- You have a difficult client – There are a wide variety of clients and some are very difficult to handle. If you encounter one that gives you too much stress, you have to assess if the income you’re earning from him is worth your trouble.
- You are sick – With freelancing, you don’t automatically get paid sick days in a calendar year. But, we are just people and we do get sick once in a while. If you are, don’t hesitate to inform your clients and ask for a day off to rest or a deadline extension. The most important thing is that you inform them. If you are too sick to get out of bed and on to your work station to send an email to your clients, or too weak to power up your laptops, use your cellphone. Send an instant message or a short email informing them of your sickness or text a colleague and ask them to inform your client for you.
Stress is never good for us. You may not realize it now, but stress does take a toll on your health. So, as much as possible make it such that you anticipate stressors and try to avoid them even before they happen to you.