Work productivity can grind to a halt when you experience personal or family emergencies. Taking “vacation” time to cope isn’t always possible for freelancers who get paid by their work output.
Ultimately, your best bet is preparing for the unexpected in advance. While work is important, taking time to deal with what’s going on in your life deserves attention as well.
Here are a few ways to make sure your business can continue flourishing while your mind is elsewhere.
Push up Your Due Dates
The worst feeling is being on a tight deadline when you’re distracted. It can impact your work quality and your ability to meet the deadline altogether.
To avoid this, get into the practice of submitting work a week or a few days before the due date. This will give you some buffer in case a situation should come up which takes your attention away from work.
Don’t Try to Do It All on Your Own
If something happens and your gut is telling you it will impact your work, think about outsourcing tasks right away. Don’t wait until the last minute during crunch time to reach out for help. You may even want to consider building a relationship with a virtual assistant who’s on call to help you when necessary.
Think about aspects of what you do that someone else can do to relieve some pressure. Here are some ideas:
- Writers: You can hire someone to do research, edit your work, or pitch new clients.
- Consultants: You can hire someone to respond to leads, send out invoices, or pay your bills.
- Designers: You can hire someone to do image searching and other design work under your instruction.
Automate & Work on Passive Income Streams
It can be difficult for freelancers to automate work – after all, our business models are usually service based. But some of the tedious work can be automated like sending out recurring invoices and scheduling social media posts.
Creating passive income streams ahead of time is also something you’ll appreciate when you’re not as productive in the done-for-you side of the business. Passive income streams for freelancers can include products that teach your clients a special skill. For example, social media strategists can create an ebook or course on how to build engagement on each social platform. Web designers can offer products like ready-made WordPress themes instead of custom one-on-one services. Graphic designers who specialize in marketing material for businesses or professionals can create a ready-made resume, business card, or brochure templates.
Dabbling in affiliate marketing is another way to bring in money. No need to be a sleazy sales person either – you can simply refer clients to products and services that you use as a freelancer to produce your amazing work.
For instance, Grammarly is a grammar and spell checking system that will pay you for referring users. If you’re a freelance writer who uses it, you can refer it to your clients and earn money for the recommendation.
Things happen. Employers usually offer a leave of absence, sick days, or vacation time.
For the most part, freelancers don’t have the luxury of taking work breaks while still getting paid. It’s not a question of if an emergency will happen, but a matter of when. So prepare in advance for work breaks to avoid experiencing a loss in income.