Whether it’s about making some extra money or launching your own business, you’ll need a smart way to combine working full-time and freelancing. This is especially important if you plan to build your own business – freelancing on the side, you’ll get your first clients and learn about the reality of self-employment.
This is where you’ll need to learn squeezing your full-time job responsibilities, freelance tasks, other parts of your life and also sleep into mere 24 hours. Working two jobs is possible only with killer time management skills. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of you want to make it. Here are 11 essential tips to help you balance your full-time job with freelancing and make the most from it for your career.
1. Research the market
Before making any drastic moves, make sure that you understand how your industry works. You need to know how much to charge for freelance projects and how to make a smart business plan for your freelancing activity.
Working a full-time job gives you the security of a regular paycheck, but you need to be smart when deciding how many projects you’ll take per month and how much time you’ll need for getting new clients and securing deals. Think strategically and adapt to your current situation. Having a general scheme of things in your head is always better than starting out without a clear project in your mind.
2. Keep your jobs apart
There are many reasons for keeping your two jobs separate. They range from legal and ethical to simply practical – it’s in your interest to keep these jobs separate or you’re bound to experience productivity issues in either or both.
You might think that a slow afternoon at work is an excellent moment for catching up with your freelancing tasks, but that cannot become your long-term strategy. It’s risky and it will make you drained at work. Leave freelancing for after hours and relax instead.
3. Develop time management skills
This is the most important part of dealing with two jobs at the same time. You need some killer time management skills for juggling these two jobs, especially if you’re taking on more and more freelancing work in time. Know when you’re most productive and be sure to relax after hours before sitting down to your freelance tasks.
If you’re working on big projects both at your full-time job and freelancing, don’t waste time for tasks you could easily delegate to other people for a much smaller price. Learn smart time management tricks and remember to do justice to your work, both in full-time or freelancing.
4. Choose the right moment for freelancing
Freelancing can be a gradual process. Start when you know your target clients are likely to spend money on your type of service. If you’re dealing with a major project right now, perhaps it’s not worth to take on a freelancing task which will only cause you to lose your focus (not to mention a potential endorsement form your employer).
5. Build a schedule and stick to it
Schedule is central to smart time management. You need to develop a plan which allows you enough time to start freelancing without feeling too much pressure. Start slow and build your business gradually.
Create a schedule to cover days, weeks and months and even an entire year. Divide your day into sections and stick to realizing all tasks planned for the day. Take regular breaks and use moments of high productivity to get some real work done in no time.
6. Don’t take on too much work
When your freelancing career starts to take off, you might find yourself tempted to take on as many tasks as possible. This is what will impact your performance in the long run. You only have so much energy and can’t sacrifice the quality of your work – which is bound to suffer once all the stress catches up with you. Be picky and select projects which you’re passionate about and which will make a great portfolio. Chuck out the rest – after all, it’s not like you don’t have a full-time job to support yourself, right?
7. Use your weekends to catch up on work
The reality of freelancing is that lots of it happens on weekends. Just consider it – weekends are full of free time, so why not use a chunk of them to catch up on some projects? You can still spend quality time with friends and family or relax. You don’t need to commute or face weekday distractions, so use your weekends well, plan your work and you’re bound to get a lot of things done.
8. Communicate with clients through emails
This is smart time management trick which will also help you look more professional and ensure that no client surprises you with a call in the middle of your workday. Use email, and you’ll not only have a written record of your communications, but also avoid losing time on unproductive talking.
9. Avoid distractions
This is something all freelancers have to deal with. Sometimes it’s worth to just disconnect and get things done in peace, without constant notifications coming at your from everywhere. Disable the Wifi of your devices and keep your focus. Since you’re managing time on your own, you might benefit from special software or add-ons to prevent you from loosing time on social media or news websites.
Working on freelance projects, you’ll also have to deal with other type of distractions. These range from kids to pets, or TV blaring in the living room. Be sure to make one section in your schedule completely distraction-free. Other household members should know that you’re working and need the quiet.
Networking is the single most effective strategy for landing exciting projects and collaborating with more clients. It’s worth to attend professional networking events like conferences or meetups to meet not only potential clients, but also to get to know other professionals who might connect you to other opportunities. They might be the ones to recommend your service to someone they know or help you on difficult tasks. This is also how you’ll be able to outsource some tasks when a project starts overwhelming you. It’s in your interest to become part of the community in your sector.
11. Build your brand
Freelancing helps to take an objective look at your professional profile and help you realize how many exciting things are happening outside of your full-time job. Be present on key social networks and participate in discussions – show your expertise, help solve problems and add value to the community. Consider running a blog, it’s great for showcasing your knowledge and building new connections with potential partners, clients and other professionals.
It’s possible to juggle two jobs at the same time if you dedicate your mind to it and create a smart schedule to follow. You’ll be able to push your career towards your objectives, gain extra money and develop a network of contacts which will be of great value if you ever decide to set up your own business.
About the author: Kate Bones is an entrepreneur with marketing experience, supporting the growth of CheckDirector.co.uk. Kate knows about the obstacles entrepreneurs have to face to ensure successful business growth and often shares her knowledge to help other professionals reach their goals more easily.