••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - Writer's Lives
Freelancing in Multiple Career Fields:
What You Need To Know
In many ways, freelancing is key to an enriching and life-affirming career. It is among the more flexible options, in most cases allowing you to choose a schedule that works around your other interests and personal life. Though you will have clients, you are essentially your own boss, giving you greater independence. One of the less explored benefits of being a freelancer, though, is the potential to mix and match your expertise.
There is nothing to say you only need to be one flavor of freelancer. Just because you’ve primarily focused on writing, that doesn’t mean you can’t bolster your income with photography, graphic design, or editing. There is also growing demand for freelancers in accounting, therapy, and customer service. Indeed, though you might have built a reputation as a fiction writer, you are still able to diversify within that skillset with varied fields — travelogues, SEO content writing, or scriptwriting.
It’s important to note this can still be challenging. Not everyone can balance multiple roles successfully. So, what should you know before diving in? We’re going to look at some of the issues, considerations, and strategies that can help you succeed.
Optimize Your Processes
It is difficult to be a successful multi-field freelancer if you approach it casually. You are in essence running more than one business; each will require a certain amount of time and dedication. You have limited hours in each day — and you’re only human after all — so, you need to make your operations in each as efficient as possible.
Some areas of focus to optimize your practices should include:
One of the keys to optimizing your processes is keeping them well organized. You don’t necessarily need to micromanage yourself, but you should start by outlining the goals for each day. This provides you with clarity on deadline priorities and space to maneuver. Make certain you visualize this — either on a physical whiteboard or online calendar — as this takes the burden from your mind and allows you to apply focus elsewhere.
Your organization also needs to extend to a clear filing system — both digital and physical. Make certain you have separate files for each freelancing field and organize your emails, contracts, work, and invoices by month with subfolders for each client. From a digital perspective, it can also be helpful to set up a standardized naming system for your files, so you can easily search for them when needed.
The digitally enhanced society we live in has also resulted in a range of technology you can use to optimize your multiple freelancing. This includes project management platforms and accounting software. While there may occasionally be a learning curve to implementing these effectively, they can streamline your processes.
One of the most important here is an agile online communications platform. Since the rise of remote working during the pandemic, many companies have created accounts for tools such as Slack and Google Workspace that incorporate multiple types of contact — messaging, audio, video calls. Establishing the platforms your clients use can ensure you can maintain regular, efficient communications during projects.
In optimizing your processes, don’t be afraid to look outside of your own operational bubble. Learn to recognize when certain aspects of your freelancing aren’t your strong suit, and whether there are external experts you can engage to cut down on the time you spend on these tasks. If you have trouble keeping your tax contributions and paperwork in check, it’s worth employing an accountant. A website is essential to keep work coming in; if you have no expertise here, you may need a web designer.
Know Your Challenges
When you take on multiple roles as a freelancer, it is vital to be honest with yourself. A certain amount of confidence in your abilities is important — it can get you through the tough days and spur you to find more clients. However, it is of practical benefit to be fully cognizant about where your challenges in this type of career will lie. It means you are better able to make sensible decisions about your path and apply any adjustments that help to mitigate the problems that could arise.
Some of these challenges might be rooted in your skillset. Yes, you can operate in more than one area of freelancing. But can you keep proving yourself to be an agile contributor in both? This is particularly important in an environment that is seeing increasing competition, and the methods and trends that affect industries are constantly evolving. Keep a frequent stock of your abilities in both your technical and soft skills — such as time management or communication — and make concerted efforts to address these deficits.
Knowing your challenges also means you can seek resources. In many ways, freelancing can be a great career choice when you’re living with a disability, but it can also be difficult to engage with certain tasks. When you understand how your disability affects your multi-freelancing path, this helps you to shape your accommodations effectively. This might include recognizing you may not be sure your workflow is sustainable, and you need a financial buffer. The good news here is there are certain types of Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits that can be accessed when you’re starting your self-employment journey. While SSDI is income means-tested, you can use Trial Work Period (TWP) and Extended Period of Eligibility programs that stop you from immediately losing your benefits for up to 36 months. This kind of resource can give you the confidence to ease into your career and time to build processes that make sure you can work effectively and profitably.
Focus on Relationships
When you’re juggling multiple types of roles, you can benefit from support. This is why one of your most effective tools in being an agile freelancer is the relationships you build along the way. By cultivating communicative partnerships with your clients, you’ll find this helps you to remain effectively informed and focused. When there are issues, this makes them easier to handle.
Therefore, you need to be focusing on relationships from the onboarding process onward. This is an important part of any employee’s collaboration with a business. It allows the company to outline its values, goals, and expectations as well as introducing you to its specific work processes. You can learn a lot from a company’s approach to this aspect, particularly if they’ve taken time to streamline elements by using digital tools for ease of use and opening a dialogue to solicit your feedback. Their attention to detail and tools can lead you to start making inquiries about supportive mechanisms. The presence of a central contact also provides a focus to forge mutually positive bonds.
If your clients aren’t receptive to building relationships with you, this can also be a good indicator of whether you’re going to be able to continue with them. After all, one of the reasons to work in multiple fields is a greater ability to make career decisions that are right for you. If there is no scope for communication, whether friendly or strictly professional, it can suggest there could be difficulties further down the line.
When you choose to freelance in multiple fields you can have a varied career. But you also need to address your challenges and streamline your way of working. Don’t neglect to forge relationships, though, as these can see you through the rough times and keep you on a positive path.
© Indiana Lee 7.7.21
Roadblocks Freelancers Encounter when Purchasing a Home
Indiana Lee 5.30.21
There are quite a few hurdles that you’re going to have to overcome on your way to homeownership
How to Design a Productive Home Office Space When You Have Roommates
While remote work was already becoming more popular, the pandemic caused a sudden “boom” in work-from-home employees.
More life issues