Finding your rhythm as a freelancer
This is a topic that I assume many others have been thinking about these days. Right now, freelancers are in a sink or swim situation. Finding a rhythm is essential to being able to make ends meet. I’ve been learning as I go these past few weeks, but the progress has been astounding after focusing on a few key points.
The past month I’ve been building a system for becoming successful as a freelancer. Until now it felt like an uphill battle to become successful as a freelancer. Now it feels like everything is coming into place
A strong foundation to build upon
If you are anything like me, you have many things that you are passionate, most of which you aren't quite sure how to make money from or you are not ready to make money from. If that's the case, it probably isn't best to start with that kind of work. If it's unreliable income, it's not a good place to start.
As much as I'd love to use this free time to focus entirely on writing and music, that would require me to eat away at my savings, a mistake I've made many times before. I might focus for a month, but after that I'd be stressing again. So the book and album would see progress but then I'd end up burning out.
Hive is great as a supplement, but even during my best days, I've made $20 a day. That was enough to live on at the time, but I live in Tokyo now, and that period also only lasted for a few weeks before delgation and crypto prices cut it down to a fraction of that. I still feel like I'm building up to a point where I'll be able to make the choice to live entirely off sharing content, perhaps on what I earn at Hive alone, but that's not something I'll achieve in a week or a month, and even if it is, it's not something I can predict.
Teaching on the other hand, has always been there as a way to earn money, it's something I'm good at, and I stand out because I'm different from other teachers. Coaching is something that I can easily relate to teaching and grow from there. I can be whichever I'm needed to be. And so that is my foundation which will allow me to move towards the life I dream of.
The greatest thing is that once I identified it as such, I realized I could make it so that I'd still be able to work on my music and fiction, and that I wouldn't have to put it all on hold for years. This was my biggest fear and the reason why I had been so reluctant to making it my foundation.
The biggest change I made recently, was respect for the grind. I had the false impression that the grind was about working yourself dry until you have enough money to move on to the next step. That is not even close to what is making my grind more and more successful.
My grind has been setting aside a certain amount of time every day to do the things that will help me make more money in the coming weeks and months, "building my business" if you want to call it that. It’s a grind because it’s the part of the work that comes least intuitive to me and can be the most frustrating. I do it every day without exception because if I stop when I'm in the clear, next month I'll have to go back to doing it anyway.
For me the grind is set at 1 hour a day and can be shortened or extended based on my mood.
The grind may change depending on the situation. Right now my grind is promotion, finding students and expanding towards work as a life coach. Once I have enough going on where I can’t handle any more students, I can change my grind, that one hour a day will go towards expanding what I’m able to offer and then into promoting the new services. From there the grind will go towards working on making my own material that can provide a passive income. If at some point I need to adjust my grind, or move back, I will.
I’ve always wanted to jump to the second and third steps. Now I’m learning, as my friend so loving said “your ideals are great! Live by them, but if you are earning JUST ENOUGH, it's not enough to put your heart into your other work like music and writing.
I’m not full of the same urgency that he is about money, but I get it now, and it’s not hard for me to keep going because I am already seeing results.
Using the grind to build a system
I set a goal of 3 classes a day. With 3 students a day at relatively cheap prices, I'll be making the same amount in 21 hours a week that I would make working 40 hours a week for a company or school. 21 hours a week of work. Not all that bad. Throw in the grind and at 28 hours a week, I'll still be working less than most people.
I don't plan to have any days off. That may seem extreme to some people and I doubt it would be ideal for everyone, but I am a creature of momentum. If I stop for a day the next day is gonna be a lot harder for me. I will likely take more vacations once things settle down in the world, so that will more than make up for it.
I chose 3 classes a day because I realize a huge difference in how I feel between 3 classes and 5 classes. With 2-3 classes a day, I actually feel more energized than when I'm not working. Wouldn't it be great to feel more energy after working every day? That is what I'm going for.
I've also realized that because my style is so different from other teachers, I need to offer free trial lessons. This also requires making certain boundaries though in order to avoid it becoming a huge drain that hurts my work and overall emotional health. I will choose who I give trials to carefully. I won't give them to people who don't seem serious. I will also limit them to one a day because otherwise they'll tire me the hell out. I'll likely do free trials until enough people understand how good my classes are and I can raise my prices a bit.
So it might be 2 hours or 5 hours sometimes but it'll eventually even out to 4 hours a day.
Quitting things that distract
As I've mentioned the past few posts, I've been doing strict limitations on my youtube and social media intake. Around 9-9 I only use internet for work and creative stuff. Because of this, I no longer feel like I have to choose between "work" and "creativity". I have time for both.
Youtube and messenger were draining so much time and energy by having them at my fingertips any hour of my waking day. Since I started saving up my non-work related messages for lunch breack and after 9 pm, I've gotten exponentially better at balancing all the things I want to do in my life and work is not impeding at all. 4 hours of work a day is nothing compared to average people, but it used to be too much for me to focus on creativity. When I pull out the distractions, it's not.
I still manage to spend 1 hour a day exercising or meditating, 1-2 hours working on creative things, and I'm usually pretty social after 9 o'clock. I even watch youtube for a good hour before I go to sleep sometimes.
It all fits into place now because I created a system and put time into maintaining it every day. It's just like watering plants or feeding a dog or taking care of a baby....probably easier than a baby and a little more difficult than taking care of a dog, something anyone can do.
Do you have a system for your freelance work? I'd love to hear it!