Freelancing and working full-time can be a struggle. If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ll know I’ve been doing both for just over a year now and, while I’d say I’ve been semi-successful at it so far, I’ve definitely had my ups and downs.
By day I work in communications, creating content for everything from websites and email newsletters to social media and outside of office hours I do pretty much the same thing but on a freelance basis. I quite clearly love the writing part to take on two jobs that revolve around it but I also love each of my jobs in very different ways. Working in my pyjamas and having more creative freedom are what make freelancing so appealing to me but equally, a fun office environment and colleagues who’ve become friends mean I’m one of the lucky few who enjoys their 9-5 too.
It’s balancing the two that can get tricky. There are inevitably times when full-time work has to come first and you spend every evening that week working late to make up on the freelance front but, as with most things, practice with this juggling act makes (kind of) perfect.
If you’re thinking of venturing into the freelance world or if you already have and are finding the balance a struggle so far, here are the lessons I’ve learnt along the way.
You have to be organised
By ‘be organised’, I mean be REALLY organised. Luckily for me, I’m that way by nature so it’s not something I have to work particularly hard at but I still appreciate just how much easier it makes freelancing and working full-time.
Multiple to-do lists (you can read the reasons for each of them here), clear deadlines and an up to date diary are all things I recommend having to keep on top of things. There’s no way you can manage full-time work commitments, freelance deadlines and finding time for a life without them.
Flexitime is my favourite
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a flexible 9-5 but if you can find one or even speak to someone about making your current one work better for you, it’ll make freelancing a hell of a lot easier. Flexitime is a godsend and without it, I don’t think I’d ever have been able to go freelance. Those extra couple of hours I get from starting and finishing early really do make all the difference.
You have to be strict with yourself
Not having a boss is one of the perks of freelancing but it also means there’s no one to keep you in check which can be more helpful than you realise.
Sometimes it’s necessary to be that person yourself. If you’ve got a deadline coming up, put off any social plans you had for the next few days and get your head down. If you’ve got a goal in mind that’ll help you grow your business, set yourself a target and stick to it.
‘No’ is sometimes necessary
Last week was hands down the busiest one in my full-time job’s calendar and by the time it was done I had the energy to eat, get into bed and very little else. I knew that would be the case though which is why I planned ahead and said no. No to catch-ups with friends, no to freelance work with short turnaround times and no to gym classes I haven’t had the energy for for those few days.
Freelancing and working full-time might be a juggling act but sometimes it’s just downright not possible and that’s ok.
Write anywhere, anytime with anything
Taking a train to a different city? Got a spare half hour between meetings? Use it wisely. All of these little bursts of work add up and mean you’ll be able to get some much needed time back in the evenings. I can’t count the number of blog posts I’ve drafted in the notes on my phone waiting around for public transport to arrive or the comments I’ve replied to on Instagram while the office kettle boiled. Getting creative with your time really does make all the difference.
Do you freelance and work full-time? Do you have any tips for managing the two?