Freelancers who work from home face many challenges that employees or even other business owners never have to face.
Here are six tips to make your life as a stay-at-home freelancer easier and more successful.
When you’re not working, don’t work
This is first on the list because it’s one of the most important when freelancing from home.
If you worked from a separate office, you’d have a clear dividing line between work and home life.
But running a business from your home means it can be easy to let work and home life bleed into one another and you’ll end up working every waking moment.
You need to be able to relax in order to recharge your batteries.
That means once you’ve finished working for the day, stop reading emails, and if a client annoys you by constantly phoning you well after work hours, politely remind them of your working hours.
Try to have a separate workspace
If you live at home, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a quiet part of the house to work from.
If, however, you have noisy kids, or housemates constantly bringing home friends, it can be frustrating if you’re unable to concentrate on your work.
Try to designate an area of your home as off-limits during working hours, sticking a sign on the door if necessary.
Make sure they understand that just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean freelancing isn’t serious business.
Make it clear when you’ve finished working for the day so everyone else in the house knows when you become approachable.
Make a timetable
Make a timetable for the week ahead, laying out when you are going to perform each task.
This will not only make you more efficient at your job, helping you get things done quicker and allowing you to finish work early, it also helps you separate business and work commitments.
It means that when a friend asks you to meet them for a coffee, you can look at your schedule to find a time that won’t disrupt work, or disappoint your friend.
Freelancing can often mean you’re stuck alone in your house all week.
That tends to make people a little crazy.
So make some attempts each week to go out and meet people.
This could be for a specific reason such as planning a meeting with a client in person rather than on the phone.
Or you could consider attending business networking events – not only will you be able to talk to people in similar situations, you’ll be able to market your services to potential clients.
Find a mentor
Most people who become successful in business don’t do it alone.
They got there by getting help and advice from mentors.
Finding a mentor means finding somebody who has been in your position and overcome similar challenges.
They might have specialist knowledge you need, or know other people who might be able to help you.
If you’re freelancing from home, having a mentor to show you things from a new perspective could completely change the way you think, and revolutionise the way you run your business.
Most importantly, a good mentor will actually care about your success and become a good friend.
Really love what you do
There’s a good chance you started freelancing to do something you love doing.
Freelancing from home means you’re going to be facing some pretty demanding days, even some boring ones.
If you want to get through these more difficult days, you’re going to have to really love what you do.
Loving your job means you’ll also be better at it, since you’re more likely to want to do a good job rather than the bare minimum to get your money.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.