Congratulations you’re a freelancer and gotten rid of your boss now what? Love them or hate them, working in a structured environment with others imposes upon us systematic discipline. Now that you’re free of a more routine corporate life, you can ease yourself into each day at your leisure. Yes, you can, but do you have a game plan, how are you going to maintain discipline? You may work fewer hours you may work more, but beware of getting side tracked and losing focus. Have a time table and find periods in your day to do your best work, for some it’s early morning for others it’s late at night. And while the early bird gets the morning worm the night owl gets a tasty field mouse or two. So, swoop in on what you need to do to keep stay on track. Find a good co-working space or partners if that is what you need, but be honest on what will or will not work for you.
You’ve made it freelance paradise! Not so fast Robinson Crusoe! If on your dessert, island you’ve not gained an understanding of tidal flows and rainy periods, you might lose your palm shelter or never get any fresh water to drink. Being a new freelancer or a growing one requires organisation to keep on top of the new things you did not have to think about before. Yes, you’ve got to do what you’re good, but you’re also running a small business and there are things like deadlines, clients, invoices, follow-ups and quite a bit more. When you put in place systems and use technology to support yourself it can all flow with ease. If you don’t you might just end up being like man Friday and not the main guy or girl.
George Bernard Shaw
If at this point, you’ve got all the habits we’ve referred to dialled down, then there’s every chance that you’ll have this next one: “reliability”. Yet never assume that what should be a key habit is something we do systematically. What does this mean? It means that we’re contextual creatures and here again, outside of our usual familiar surroundings we might suddenly find ourselves behaving in a different way. One way is to believe that being our own boss means we can take liberties, and push the envelope and do as we please. However, we need to be even more clear now in saying what we mean and meaning what we say. That way people trust in our word and see our actions as dependable, and as a result perceive us as being. Think also about what it means to be competent and professional in your chosen profession? What are the client’s benchmark in terms of deliverables, and how do you connect and communicate effectively with them?
Last but certainly not least, and this is perhaps the habit that singularly can determine a person’s level of personal and professional success: Communication! Of course, we all generally understand what we mean, when we hear ourselves speak - it’s a given – but what does the person listening understand? Difficult to know at times, but if they’re asking questions that’s a good sign and shows interest in what you are saying while asking for further clarification. However, many people just use the ubiquitous “yes”, or “ok” when they may have stopped listening or literally disconnected for the exchange. Communication is often referred to as a loop where there is a sender and receiver, who both inter-exchange during any given rapport. So, in short, you speak, you ask questions, you listen, you hear and then you have a sense of what/how your client or interlocutor sees the world, and more specifically their “needs” and/or “wants”.
We hope these simple yet important ideas were useful. Stay motivated and surround yourself like minded people!