Three years ago, more a third of the US workforce was made up of freelancers. That’s 55 million people who don’t have a traditional day job, and the numbers are climbing. Chances are high you’re one of them, which means you aren’t chained to a cubicle when you work.
If you’re one of the growing freelancers in the country, check in with this quick guide to freelancing way of life. It has apps, accessories, and tips to help you be the best freelancer possible.
Download the Right Apps
The secret to being a successful freelancer is owning your time management. When you aren’t in an office with a manager ready to swing by and “check in” at any moment, it’s all too easy to slack off and unintentionally procrastinate on major projects. You need to work out how you can motivate yourself to stay on task and avoid watching all of your recommended videos on YouTube in one go.
If you aren’t suited to be your own task master, you’re in luck. There are a ton of great organization and productivity apps to help you avoid online temptations, including:
- Wanderlust: This is a great to-do list app with a ton of added features, including reminders about due dates. It helps you organize daily, weekly, and monthly tasks and assign them to any existing co-workers you might have.
- StayFocused: This Chrome extension is a short-cut to concentration. It lets you set a specific allotment of time you can spend on websites you’ve deemed distractions, like Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. It tracks how long you spend on each of the sites and boots you out once you’ve reached your maximum.
Think About Your Image
If you’re the type of freelancer who regularly meets new clients or performs presentations, you’ll want to think about the appearance your MacBook gives off. You know that first impressions take only 7 seconds to happen, but people don’t just judge how you look to make them. They may also take in a beaten up laptop and decide you aren’t the type of professional they want to work with.
Does your Mac look a little rough around the edges? Don’t worry! You can give your trusted laptop a fresh look with a quick application of MacBook skins. Mac skins are super thin accessories that smooth over cosmetic damages without adding bulk. Skins from an engineer like dbrand are so slim they won’t look out of place in the ultra-fineMacBook Air. You can choose from sophisticated hardwoods, natural stones, leather, or carbon fiber MacBook skins to camouflage damage and present a professional look to your clients.
Make a Dedicated Work Space
For some people, one of the biggest perks of being a freelancer is you can work from home. A typical day involves rolling out of bed, turning on the radio, and working the whole day in your jammies.
For others, the biggest disadvantages of being a freelancer is you can work from home. A typical day involves not quite ever rolling out of bed, turning on Netflix, and procrastinating in your jammies.
If you find yourself in the latter category, don’t worry — it doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out for freelancing. It just means you need to think about curating your work space better. Workspace hygiene impacts your productivity — and we’re not just talking about how often you shower or change your clothes.
While getting into a routine where you prepare as if you were going to an office will help, you’ll also want to make a dedicated place in your apartment when you can work. If you don’t have a whole room to make an office, a corner of your living room or bedroom will suffice. Just make sure you don’t use your desk for anything but work. You’ll start to subconsciously link this area with work, rather than pleasure, so you’ll find it easier to stay focused.
If, after a few weeks, you’re still finding it hard to work from home, you may want to try working at a local café. For the price of a latte, you can have a quiet spot near the window to work.
Depending on where you live, you may also have a choice of coworking and shared office spaces you can rent for a monthly fee. In most cases, your membership will get you access to the building and all its amenities as well as a private spot to work. Although more expensive than a cup of coffee, it’s a space where people intend to work. Unlike a café, which can get noisy during peak hours, your office mates will want a quiet spot to work. You might also make a few new freelancing friends during your breaks.
Freelancing isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Be kind to yourself; support your career by choosing the right app, accessory, and approach to freelancing, and you’ll find working contract to contract simpler than ever.