Being self-employed is the dream of many people. However, it is far more difficult in many ways. One of these is choosing the hours you work. All too often I come across those who failed working from home simply because they couldn’t keep a profitable schedule. Let’s dive into what you can do to change that.
Choosing the Best Hours You Work
A lot of people have a misconception they can work when they want and still make a living. While this is true in some instances, it’s not always the case. In fact, you could easily damage your potential by keeping this mindset.
What’s Best for the Client
First and foremost, you need to consider what is best for the client. Depending on his or her geographic location, you might have a little bit of freedom. However, don’t assume you can make the client bend to your scheduling will.
Most of my freelance writing clients are businesses based in the United States. This means I need to keep a close schedule according to traditional hours of operation. In other words, I need to be available 9 to 5.
When determining the hours you work, consider the client is the one paying your bills. If you don’t want to work certain times of the day, you will be missing out a variety of opportunities. You’ll be limiting yourself to clients that are usually active the same time you are.
This isn’t saying that you won’t make money working at night or during odd hours. In fact, some clients will work with you if you have a restrictive schedule such as caring for a child.
In my experience, there is more money to be made when quality clients are keeping normal working hours.
What’s Best for You
The reason many people become freelance professionals is because of a flexible schedule. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to be up at 6am to rush to an eight-hour job for minimum wage. Many simply like the idea of being able to work around their lifestyle.
When you set the hours you work, you need to keep in mind the type of client you want to attract. But you also need to consider what will be the less stressful in your situation.
It doesn’t make sense to leave the traditional job because of scheduling issues only to suffer from the same thing while working from home. You need to find a good balance between your needs and the client.
Of course, a lot of this will depend on the type of work you want to do. As a freelance writer, I find it far more profitable to write during the day. You may find work that winds up taking longer to complete, which gives you flexibility.
Scheduling the Hours You Work
Although you can have a certain level of success when working when you want, there is something to be said about having a solid schedule. Here are just some of the things I’ve discovered since I began freelance writing in 2012.
- Client Interaction
Clients appreciate knowing when and how to contact you. If your schedule is too haphazard to follow, the individual will simply look for a new freelancer. And because the online pool is so vast, it’s easy to replace you.
- Planning Out the Day
Scheduling the hours you work every day helps you keep organized. I find I can get far more done throughout the day if I am focused and timely. As a freelancer, productivity is a key to making more money.
- Keeping a Professional Mindset
I like keeping a schedule simply because it keeps my mind in the zone for professionalism. I let everyone know these are the hours I work and it should be respected.
Give Yourself Enough Time
A major problem I’ve had in the past was not giving myself enough time throughout the day. Most jobs pay per completed project, not hourly. This means I need to put in more effort to write to make enough money to replace a full-time income.
Every moment I am not writing content for a client is one that I am not paid. So if I get up to go to the bathroom, that is money taken away from my total for the day. It’s much different from earning an hourly wage at a place of business.
Make sure to give yourself enough hours in the day to get the job done. Don’t expect you can work two hours and make enough to replace a traditional wage. In many instances, it’s just not going to happen.
After five years of freelance writing, I am still easily distracted by YouTube. It’s much better than it was before, but these distractions can quickly sap the day.
When scheduling the hours you work, avoid wasting too much time. If there is a popular show you want to watch, either watch it later or schedule your day around it. Either way, you can’t let distractions overrun your freelance career.
While working from home, you’ll come across a myriad of distractions. Life has a way of happening regardless of what you’re trying to do. This is why a permanent schedule is so vastly important.
Don’t Settle for “Just Getting By”
One thing I am guilty of is doing enough work to simple “just get by.” I can pay my bills, put food on the table and have a few bucks extra each week. However, that’s not really improving much, is it?
Today, I can work for a couple of hours and call it a success as I make a lot of money within 120 minutes. Lately, though, I’ve decided to step it up a bit.
Settling on “just enough money” really doesn’t bode well for your future. For instance, what about medical bills or your retirement fund? Can you fix your computer today should it break down? Are you content with living in a shared house or crappy apartment complex?
Keeping the hours you work has potential to fix a lot of problems if you can put in the effort. Sure, I can be done after two hours and then play games or watch some TV. But I am also missing out on a lot of fun things around town that take money.
Your Income Depends On You
As a freelancer, the hours you work will determine your level of success. Of course if you’re happy with the money you make, then that’s all that really matters. Set the hours you work according to what will benefit you and your family the most, whether it’s finances or happiness.