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When the pandemic hit, lots of people lost their jobs. Others were forced to make the shift from working in the office to working remotely. This led to a significant number of workers deciding to stop working 9-5 and transition into freelancing.
I personally left the comfort of my full-time job to launch a marketing agency a little over a year ago. Initially, there were so many walls I ran into that I didn’t expect. Now that I was working for myself, I found there were unexpected challenges I faced for which I needed to find solutions.
Fortunately, I have a powerful network of freelancers and bloggers around me who’ve been there. I reached out for advice, and I made some changes in my life that really helped.
So, to help all of you freelancers out there who are struggling with some of the issues I faced, I wanted to highlight some of the problems I ran into. But beyond that, I wanted to provide a bit of advice on how to build solutions to allow you to thrive as a freelancer.
These are three tricky problems many freelancers don’t consider before making the transition to the freelance world (with some tips for what to do about each).
Leaving Your 9-5 Job to Start Freelancing – 3 Problems and Solutions
Missing In-Person Interaction
At the office, you had plenty of face time with your colleagues. Meetings, the breakroom, taking walks on the nearby nature path. These were all regular interactions you had the pleasure of engaging in each week.
When you made the transition from 9-5 and began to freelance, that all changed. As a freelancer, you run the show. You may outsource some work to contractors here and there, but you certainly aren’t going to run into them in your hallway and stop for a conversation.
This transition to freelance can be lonely at first if you are used to the consistent interaction of the office life. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to combat this.
- Join professional groups in your niche
- Join an organized sports league
- Attend conferences
- Meet other freelancers in your area and hold get-togethers
- Host video meetings instead of phone calls
- Sign up for a local walkers club
- Spend more time with friends and family
At Gaenzle Marketing, our team works remotely. We do have space at an excellent, high-tech co-working facility downtown, so we use that for in-person communication, which is very helpful. For the most part, though, we’re working remotely, which limits the in-person interaction.
If you find yourself missing this part of the office life, try putting in place the activities above.
Struggling to Find Work-life Balance
One major issue many freelancers run into is the difficulty in finding work-life balance. At the office when you’re working 9-5, your family knows you’re off limits. When you work at home, however, the line between work and play can be blurry at best.
Especially considering you are your own boss, finding the discipline to not cross those lines can be challenging. If you want to achieve true work-life balance, you need to be in life mode when you’re off the clock, and you need to be in work mode when you’re on the clock.
To help you maintain a healthy work-life balance, here are some things you can try to keep you (or your loved ones) from crossing the line.
- Set scheduled work hours (doesn’t have to be traditional 9-5)
- Have a to-do list and make sure you check each box
- Build breaks into your daily routine
- Get outside and refresh in nature
- Plan quality family time
- Stay off of technology when you’re in life mode
- Set specific times of day to check email and response
- Feel free to work late, but make sure to get sleep
Work-life balance can be difficult to find as a freelancer, but it’s by no means impossible. You just need to put certain things in place to ensure you walk the line and stay on the right side at the right times.
Needing a Change of Space
You may find that your living space was perfectly fine when you worked at an office. There was no need for an office or another secluded space because when you were home, you were in life mode.
Now that you are a freelancer, your living situation may warrant a change. Your two-bedroom apartment may not provide you the quiet space you need to focus on your work.
If you find yourself in this situation, it may be time for an upgrade. While the home market is tough right now, you can still find decent deals if you make sure to check mortgage rates and determine what level of home you can afford.
As you consider whether it makes sense to upgrade the size of your accommodations, keep these things in mind.
- How much home can you comfortably afford?
- Do you need to live where you are? Or as a freelancer, can you live anywhere?
- Do you need a space to meet with clients?
- Would a dedicated office (with a lockable door) help?
- Does your family need a yard?
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before you upgrade. There’s no need to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. That said, many freelancers find that their living situation was perfect for the pre-freelance days, but now that they are all in on freelancing, things have changed.
Making the Transition to Freelance a Successful One
By highlighting these unexpected issues you may run into, my hope is that your transition into freelancing is a smooth one.
Whether you jump right in or you balance the full-time life with the freelance life until you are ready, freelancing is a great way to go.
There are so many wonderful benefits to becoming a freelancer.
- Become your own boss
- Choose the right clients
- Make your own schedule
- Spend more time with family
- Eliminate geographical ties
- Determine your own rates
- Set your own vacations
The list goes on. In my humble opinion, the freelance life is a fantastic way to make a living. And, if you do it right, you can really build a solid income.
Just be sure that you have things in place to create a work-life balance and make up for the things you took for granted at the office. If you do this, you’ll be rocking and rolling into a successful freelance career.
Want to learn more about how to transition into freelancing? Download my free ebook From 9-5 to Freelancing here.
Anthony is the Founder of Anthony Gaenzle Marketing and author of Blogging for Business: Skyrocket Your Traffic, Grow Your Readership, and Boost Revenue. Beyond running the publication, Anthony works with small businesses, startups, and creative minds to help you grow.
Throughout his 15+ years in the marketing and multimedia fields, he has worked with companies across a wide variety of industries and disciplines, achieving significant growth in brand awareness, lead generation, revenue and other critical areas. He also helps individuals build influence and thought leadership through powerful personal branding. Follow Anthony on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.