This is true whether you’re a freelancer, or not. But, because of the nature of freelancing, we freelancers tend to face change and its consequences a bit more frequently than other folks do. That’s why it’s really important to have a Plan B and to keep that plan up to date. Having an emergency fund does not hurt either.
There’s much more to dealing with freelancing change that just having a Plan B, though. You also need to deal with the emotional toll that freelancing change can take on you. Handling the emotional toll of freelancing change is what this post is all about. In it, I’ll share some practical tips to help you keep the inevitable freelancing changes in perspective so you can stay at your best as a freelancer.
Dealing with Inevitable Freelancing Change
If you’re not careful (and if you’re not ready), freelancing change can really throw you for a loop. After a change, you may find yourself dealing with stress, disappointment, anger, or even a combination of the three. You don’t have to let change negatively affect your freelancing business or your outlook, though.
Here are some precautions to take that will help you to steel yourself against the inevitable changes of freelancing:
- Get enough rest. I know it seems like every list of how to take care of yourself as a freelancer is topped with the advice to get enough rest. There’s a very good reason for that. Studies have shown that many adults (not just freelancers) do not get enough sleep. Yet, proper sleep is vital to good health and good health is vital to…you guessed it…performing your best as a freelancer.
- Eat right. Like getting enough sleep, eating right is vital to your good health and to your performance as a freelancer. Freelancers are especially vulnerable to the temptation to eat whatever is convenient and available rather than eating what’s best for them. What freelancer hasn’t been grinding away towards a big deadline and grabbed a quick bite of whatever was on hand and could be easily microwaved? Yet, a bad diet eventually take its toll on your health.
- Take a deep breath. I could also call this point “calm down.” Even if you seem to be in a bad spot at the moment, there’s a good chance that things will be better soon. There have been many times in my freelancing career when a contract ended and I was wondering what to do next–only to be contacted by a new client within a very short time. Keep on with your marketing efforts and keep up with your skills.
- Keep a positive outlook. This can be really hard to do when things are changing all around you–it’s especially difficult if you happen to find yourself without clients for an extended period of time. However, clients and prospective clients can sense when you have a negative outlook. If you talk on the phone, it will come through in your tone of voice. So, to keep your opportunities coming try to hold on to your positive attitude.
- Find a sympathetic ear. Having someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through can be a huge comfort. However, I do have to say that social media is not the best place to vent your frustrations. It’s just too easy for social media rants to reach the wrong people. It’s much better to meet a local friend for lunch (and that will get you out of your office too) and talk about your situation face-to-face. Be sure to pick someone who will keep a confidence.
- Consider your options. You may think you have no options, but there are always options. Be creative. Perhaps you are overlooking a lead for a new freelancing gig even though that lead is right in front of you. Don’t be afraid to try something totally different from what you usually do to improve your situation. You never know how something new will work out for you unless you try it. :)
- Not all change is bad. This post has been about dealing with the emotional toll of freelancing change, but it’s important to remember that not all change is bad. A change of clients, being asked to do something new, or even finding yourself with unexpected time off–these situations could very well all end up having a silver lining. So, when freelancing change happens to you, don’t automatically assume the worst.
By taking the precautions I listed above at least you’ll be at your best to handle whatever freelancing (and life) may throw at you when change strikes.
Have you already been through freelancing change? What strategies do you use or have you used to deal with freelancing change? Share your tips in the comments.
Image by dominiccampbell