One of the main reasons people go freelance also comes with a price. The price of flexibility is the lack of stability when it comes to earning an income.
That doesn’t mean that freelancers don’t need or want stability. The key to freelancing is to try and build it into something strong and sustainable so that income uncertainty either doesn’t come up as often or stings a bit less.
While you can’t control everything about freelancing, there’s plenty you can do to make sure that you add a little stability to your business and your typical working day.
Plan your hours
While the 9-5 might have been the very thing that you wanted to avoid with the freelance lifestyle, that doesn’t mean to say you can get away with not having set hours.
The good thing is that you can choose when you work, depending on when you work naturally at your best. Some people are naturally more productive early in the morning. Some get a lot more done at night. Bear this is in mind and find a schedule that works for you so that it doesn’t become too difficult to stick to.
Make sure you’re scheduling time for regular breaks and fitting your work hours around any other responsibilities you have during the day so that you don’t find yourself trying to multi-task between housework and client work.
Plan your holidays
Unfortunately, one of the things you give up when working for yourself is paid holiday time. When freelancing, if you don’t work you don’t get paid.
That doesn’t mean you can’t take holidays but you’re going to have to plan for that loss of income over the time you’re not working. This means that you need to be charging more than you think in order to cover holiday pay, maternity pay or sick days.
Try to plan your time off in advance so that you can schedule your work commitments around them and organise your finances to cover that time off.
Keep an emergency fund
The chances are that one day you’ll run into a bit of trouble money-wise. It happens to all freelancers at some point, the work dries up and you start to worry about paying the bills.
The best way to tackle these dry spells is to have an emergency fund which can cover you for a couple of months. This will be handy for dry spells, illness or any other emergency which means the money isn’t coming in as you’d like or you can’t work.
Make Marketing a Daily Task
The best way to keep a steady stream of client work coming is to make sure you’ve got a solid marketing plan in place. This means being active and consistent on a couple of social media accounts, interacting with like minded people and clients. You might also decide to have a blog but if you do, make sure you’ve got the time and will to add to it regularly.
Never stop looking for new clients. Even if you’re currently busy, you want a back up if that busy period ends. It’s always better to turn away clients than struggle to get any.
A lot of freelancers look for work on freelance job boards or through email pitches to companies they’d like to work for. Make sure your pitch is brief but clear what you’re offering and most importantly, how it can benefit your potential client.
Get into the habit of looking for work and sending a set amount of pitches out per week in order to keep the work consistent and your income as stable as you can.
Have we missed anything out? How do you add stability to your freelance business? Let us know what you think in the comments!