7 Bad Freelance Habits to Break in 2017
Written by regular contributor, lisa crocco
After nearly two years of freelancing, I think I have made almost every mistake in the book and have been guilty of some pretty bad freelance habits. These habits can be pretty easy to make but also pretty tough to break.
Establishing good work habits will help you become successful throughout the year, keep you on task, and help you to grow (or manage) your business more effectively.
So if you find yourself guilty of one or more of the following bad freelance habits, then be sure to put it on your New Year’s resolution list as a priority to break them.
Bad Habit #1 - Taking on too Much Work
When you’re a boss lady and building your empire, you may stretch yourself a bit thin by taking on projects and clients that weigh you down and stress you out. This is not healthy for you or for your career.
You shouldn’t have to wake up early, stay up late, and skip your lunch or gym time to get all of your work accomplished in a day. If you find yourself consistently doing this, then it’s time to scale back on your workload. Make the necessary adjustments until you feel like you can breathe again.
Bad Habit #2 - Not Taking on Enough Work
On the other hand, also try to avoid not taking on enough work. Oftentimes, you can become comfortable with certain clients and your workload becomes easier. When this happens, you should focus on expanding your client list and growing your business. But once again, don’t overwhelm yourself.
You should always keep in mind that clients come and go quickly, unexpectedly, and often as a freelancer. Having a couple backup clients in place is a good idea in case you lose a big account. And submitting proposals for new and exciting opportunities will help you get more experience in your field.
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the perfect balance. This will prevent you from either being bored or extremely stressed.
Bad Habit #3 - Cave Woman Syndrome
I always tell people the story of the time I did not leave my house for two whole weeks. I was so wrapped up in work and had no desire to leave the house or socialize with people. This is definitely a mistake and a habit you should try to avoid.
It becomes easy to get so comfortable when working from home as a freelancer or solopreneur that you become a cave woman. If you find yourself not showering for days, only communicating with people via text or Slack on a daily basis, and failing to feel sunshine on your face for weeks, then it is time to change up your routine.
So in 2017, be sure to get out of your house, work from coworking spaces, join a local organization, and revamp your routine to ensure you don’t lose your sanity or your social life.
Bad Habit #4 - Disorganization
Handling a dozen different clients, projects, tasks, project managing systems, finances, invoices, proposals, legal documents, taxes, etc. is exhausting and hectic. The last thing you should be is disorganized when you’re a freelancer or solopreneur.
It’s only going to make your work and your life more chaotic and you definitely don’t have the time to deal with that. So this year, invest in the tools and supplies to organize your work more efficiently. And set up a system that works best for you, your workload, and your life to help streamline your personal and professional tasks.
Bad Habit #5 - Procrastination
Since you do have such freedom and flexibility as a freelancer or remote worker, this should give you more motivation to get work out of the way as quickly as possible. However, this isn’t always the case.
When you have the ability to create your own schedule, work in your pajamas, and your latest show addiction on Netflix haunting you, it’s easy to procrastinate on work (and life) related tasks. I’m definitely guilty or being a procrastinator and need hard deadlines set in order for me to complete tasks.
Working remotely and for yourself comes with so many incredible benefits, such as the ability to travel more, so don’t spoil it by procrastinating or failing to meet deadlines.
Bad Habit #6 - Doing Work That Makes You Unhappy
This is a big one. When you’re a freelancer, you have the ability to pick and choose which projects and clients you want to work with. Sometimes that flexibility is dependent on if you are in desperate need of money and have no other prospective clients. Then you may have to take any opportunity that comes your way.
But because you are granted this awesome opportunity to work on the tasks you are most passionate about, you should take advantage of this. Stop taking on work that you hate doing. And fire clients that you hate working with. You’re the boss.
You’re not doing yourself any favors if you are miserable when completing your work everyday. Kick this habit right out the door.
Bad Habit #7 - Failing to Give Yourself Kudos
When I first started freelancing, I didn’t give myself enough credit for what I was doing. I made the leap to freelance full-time at 23 years old after being unsatisfied with my first big-girl job out of college. I had the courage to walk away from a stable salary and a “traditional” work life, for the opportunity to be my own boss and work on projects I felt passionate about.
Contrary to popular belief, freelancing is a career and can be quite the lucrative one too. This is a path I chose willingly. It wasn’t something I did in-between jobs or figuring out my life. But for some reason, I felt some shame when explaining to people what I did for a living.
Over time, I have learned to truly be proud of my work and my career path. I have been named a top freelancer and have worked on awesome projects while traveling, making money, and committing time to passion projects.
So be sure to give yourself the credit that you deserve. This is hard. Freelancing is hard. Pat yourself on the back when you kick butt on a difficult task. Celebrate when you land a new client. And share your success with your community. Because you rock. So keep on keepin’ on.