When you are your own boss, distractions are more likely to appear. You are more easily tempted to spend time with friends and family, have irregular working hours and procrastinate your tasks into late hours. Finding a balance when you work from home is important for your well-being. Separating your work life from your personal one gets tricky, when they both cohabitate under the same roof. In order to work efficiently, you need to be aware of the biggest challenges freelancers face. We have covered 3 of the most common ones, and offered you solutions!
1. Spending time with family and friends
You probably think that, since you are working from home, you might as well babysit or do house chores between your work tasks. It’s time for a wake-up call. Don’t do it – it will become difficult to keep a schedule and you might miss deadlines. Moreover, your loved ones will not understand clearly the line between home office hours and catching up times. If you don’t set these rules from the beginning, you risk getting regularly interrupted, and this decreases your efficiency. It is important to find a balance.
What’s the solution?
You need to try to keep an organized schedule, similar to the one you would have at work. Try to wake up earlier and start with the toughest or most urgent tasks. Like this, you will finish the most important things in the first part of the day, when most of us are most productive. It’s also the times your friends might be at work, and your kids in school. If you are not a morning person, you can try other times of the day, but what is important is to find some quiet hours to get your big tasks done.
Furthermore, set ground rules with your family members, so they don’t interrupt you when you have important work to do. House chores can wait, and so can the phone calls from your friends. Try to stay focused through the working hours, so you can then enjoy more time with your loved ones.
2. Project management
This is another common challenge freelancers have, especially in the beginning. Without a boss to regularly check up on you, this freedom may lead to procrastination. You are now working independently, without a co-worker who might help, and with all the freedom to scroll down on Facebook when you get stuck. Project management skills are very important for a freelancer, in order to get things done in time.
What’s the solution?
Plan everything in advance. Set small goals and stick to them, in order to make sure you’re on the right track, also time-wise. Figure out early on whether you are able to deliver what you’re promising on your own, or you need outside sources or expertise. You might be an awesome writer, but if you’re missing the design skills, you need to find someone who can help with the images. This applied also for potential programming skills or HTML knowledge.
Most of these are small things, but if you are not acquainted with them, it will take time to learn as you go. Therefore, make sure you write this down and set your goals according to the amount of work you need to do.
3. Lack of motivation when it’s difficult to find new projects
We’ve all been there. Sometimes it just goes so well, you need to refuse some projects due to the lack of time. Other times, it’s a dead period. Freelancing is risky and can bring fluctuations in the income from a month to another. The important thing is not to give up hope, and think outside the box. You never know where your new customer can be.
What’s the solution?
Networking is a powerful tool. You can find most of your work online, but use your real connections to promote yourself. Spread the word among your friends about what you do and ask if they know somebody that might need your services. Go to networking fairs, meet new people and find out what they do. You never know who you might bump into.
More to this, focus on establishing a good presence online – not only through your blog or website, but also on forums and discussion boards. Use LinkedIn for answering interesting posts and getting in touch with potential customers. Share your expertise, ask smart questions and be inspired. By getting yourself out there, new connections won’t be long to appear. What is important is not to give up hope, but try to find new ways than those you’ve tried before.
Oana Bondroiu is a blogger writing about working from home, making money online and paid online surveys. For more information, follow her on Twitter: @surveybeeNET.