Working at home, and for myself has been quite the adventure. As any business woman – or man – and I will tell you, it takes dedication to pull it off and get the attention you need and want. If you’re a creative, Barbara Streisand and I will both tell you, making Art is an Art and it’s hard to put it all together.
However, if you take these tips into consideration, it will help you stay focused, scheduled, on task and crossing things off your to-do list.
Set a Schedule
Just because I work at home, and I can stop, drop and go to breakfast with Sebbers or run to Sedona for coffee with Shey, but that doesn’t mean I can do that every day. I do have a schedule set. It just so happens to revolve around the School District calender of events. Work happens around bus schedules to and from school. But that just happens to be what works for us.
Answer Emails and Phone Calls on a Schedule
I check emails and return phone calls 1st thing the morning and maybe an hour before I finish up for the day. Seriously. If I stop to answer emails every time they come in, I would NEVER get any designing done. It is so much easier to batch task my inbox and leave my creative day to creativity – not administration and client relations.
Email Organization for Tasking
I keep my email organized in such a way that it is my task list. Keeping everything tagged, color coded and labeled is just what I need to make it work-for me. I look at the list, see what’ needs to be done, do it and then, when it’s done – change tag and archive. Get it out of the inbox and remove it. This is how I know it’s done. If it sits, collecting dust in the inbox, it’s just there… looking at me, reminding me that it’s on the task list.
*Note: If you have to, send yourself emails to help with todo lists. It is so easy to do these days with the use of Smart Phones.
Do 1 “Business Thing” A Day
Every day – one thing. Apply to a new group on Facebook or LinkedIn that your business, service or product relates too. Make a comment on a blog that relates to your line of work. Fan or like some Fanpage on Facebook. Write a blog post. Send an update to your fans or your network. There are tons of things to do, on a daily basis that will get your name Googled (which is good) and help you get higher in the search engines as well as advertising your name and what you do.
Take Weekends Off
No one can work ALL THE TIME. I can say this because I’ve attempted this and it’s just not worth the physical and mental stress of not taking time off. No exercise, no mental break from the workflow and the physical stress to my neck and eyeballs… well, you get the idea. It was no bueno for a minute there. But, I learned the importance of TWO WHOLE DAYS in a row, where the box stays off and away from the internet and work.
You Get What You Give
Remember that! Really. If you give 110% then you will totally get it back in some way. I PROMISE! Karma comes back – at least I believe in that school of thought, so I give my all in every project I do. I really suggest you do the same. If you do a piss poor job, your client will know it and the next one will know it too.
So, if you remember to treat your freelance lifestyle like a “real job” then things will work out and the freelance route, you’ll find, in this new economy is actually something worth pursuing.