Top 5 Tips to Master Freelancing
Imagine being a freelancer, well on top of that a freelance artist, where the creative juices not only flow within your work but flow to even make it all happen. Projects and paychecks are always different and my schedule remains unpredicatble on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. When things are hella busy I'm running around with barely any time to breathe and when things are quiet I feel like I have too much time on my hands and sometimes not even sure of what to do with myself. I've learned that I have to cease these moments and maximize my time because being a freelancer is an art within itself that can be mastered with time and patience. Now almost 8 years in the game, I've found some tips to keep myself on top of my game.
Location, Location, Location
As freelancers, we can have a tendency of staying in really comfy spots, most notably our own homes. Yeah yeah you might have a dope home office that you decorated and organized to a T, but your dirty laundry, TV, and all types of snack food are around you quietly beckoning you to play with them. So even if you feel like you're focused, in the background there are distractions. Some days are better than others but when in doubt I go to a coffee shop around the corner or even check out a local co-working space. The continuous change in environment creates a different atmosphere, energy and focus while working. Personally, I like checking out different cafes around the city because it keeps things fresh and new thus contributing to my work.
Some days I wake up knowing there are tons to do but it's difficult to find a true focus. I see all the emails I need to respond to, the list of random tasks I still haven't completed and somehow I find myself checking facebook and Instagram at random moments. When I feel all over the place, I often ask myself, "Briana, what would you like to accomplish today?" From there my brain starts to sort through the list and I separate what is necessary and what is not, what can wait and what can not. After much debate I usually settle on a max of 5 tasks I intend to accomplish and I start with the one I don't really wanna do lol.
After I complete everything, I celebrate with an episode of the Big Bang Theory and All-pro Almond Salted Caramel Vegan Ice Cream (yum!). I allow my intention to guide me throughout my day, not an endless list of tasks that will make me feel like a robot because as freelancers we could always do more but we have to know our daily intentions and when to stop. It's in these smaller intentions that lead to the successful completion of larger tasks.
Much like the word implies, gigs are short and sweet projects that freelancers work on for any length of time from one day to a couple months. The unpredictability of these projects are high and can often change at anytime. For me, I've found that putting certain systems in place allow me to create more predictability in the work that I do within my own projects or other organizations. For example, everytime a new students attends a class I send a follow-up email thanking them for attending and giving more information about class packages or as a dancer, I stay present on social media and share the things that I'm working on to keep my work present amongst my networks. These are just few systems put into place that if consistently maintained will lead to more predictable opportunities. It also requires a bit of patience, but I just remember that consistency will lead to results.
At one point I was struggling with balance within a certain day and convinced that if I just sat at my computer all day things would move better and faster. But this mindset did nothing but drain me and completely lower my energy and capacity to accomplish my daily goals. Sure I was making moves but I didn't feel like a whole person. After awhile, I learned that I needed to engage not only my mental capacity but also intellectual, physical, social, etc. As a result I set time to work at my computer then take a walk and maybe even run errands. I scheduled any physical activity like yoga or going to the gym first thing in the morning. I plan a lunch time to disconnect from work and watch a show after cooking an amazing vegan meal. Sometimes when I'm working I might even call a close friend, like Tiffani (Learn more about her here) or my mom to just check in. By the end of my day I feel like I've created a day with a strong balance of work and play.
My freelance work is a one-woman show. I manage and update my website, I send out my invoices, I respond to all emails, I go to the performances and classes, and I show-up in the best way that I can. This has lead to moments of feeling overwhelmed and unsure if I can even handle it all, but this hasn't stopped me from asking for help when I need it most. I try to reach out to other freelancers for advice, resources and tools to alleviate the droves of tasks that await completion. Many friends and colleagues have actually suggested I create an internship connected to my biz STU Arts to give a student the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship while providing assistance in my work. Yes, I may be solo but there are people out there who would like to help and learn in the process.
Even though we work as solopreneurs we are never really alone and can find others who can and want to contribute to the success of our work. I always try to keep this in mind when the grind gets real and now more than ever, I seek help when I need it most.
Thanks for reading,
And remember to always have faith, keep a vision and make art in everything that you do.