During the pandemic, quarantine and remote work left some people juggling more responsibilities than ever, while others found themselves with more time on their hands.
Of this second group, a lot of professionals took the time to further their education or apply their skills by building a freelance side business. Freelancing has many benefits, allowing you to build a professional portfolio, make extra income, and work a more flexible schedule than in traditional work environments.
But despite the perks of freelancing, it can be challenging to be your own boss. Without an employer, you are responsible for every aspect of your business, from finding clients and marketing yourself to organizing your finances and managing business expenses. For those who are managing freelance gigs in addition to full-time employment, it’s difficult to strike a balance.
We’ll take a look at some practical tips for balancing a freelance business with full-time employment so you can thrive in both jobs without burning yourself out.
Strike the right balance
Balancing full-time and freelance work can be challenging, and if you’re not careful, your performance in both gigs can suffer. Keep these tips in mind to succeed as a freelancer while keeping your day job.
Automate what you can
When you’re doing multiple jobs for different employers – and especially when one of those employers is yourself – it’s important to stay organized and keep expenses and work separate. A good way to do this is to use different tools for different jobs.
For example, it’s usually not a good idea to use your work computer for freelance work, particularly if your company has a proprietary network in place for remote workers. Also, if you use cloud storage like Google Drive for your files, be sure to organize folders to keep work and freelancing assignments separate, or better yet, just use different accounts.
When you are juggling full-time and freelance assignments, efficiency is critical to success. A great way to maintain efficiency is to automate repetitive processes to save yourself time. This is probably something you don’t have to think about as a traditional employee, since your company likely has HR, accounting, and other teams to do this for you. But when you freelance, you need to do the bookkeeping and client management on your own.
You should also invest in invoicing software for your freelance business that comes with crucial features like automatic billing for repeat customers and time tracking to make it easier to automate your payment and account management. And if you really maximize your automation strategy, you can be marketing yourself passively – but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Freelancing is often thought of as a one-person operation, but just as you collaborate and network at your main job, there’s no reason you can’t look for mentoring and networking opportunities or partnerships in your side hustle as well. This arrangement can be particularly helpful if your freelance partners have complimentary skills to yours, or even work in different time zones.
For example, if you are a front-end web developer, you might benefit from partnering with a graphic design specialist, web copywriter, or back-end developer. These relationships will expand the services you offer to your clients. They will also help divide the work on big projects, since you will no longer be going at it solo. What’s more, if you partner with someone with more experience in the industry, they can help you get more clients and learn the ropes.
When forming freelance partnerships, there are a couple things to keep to mind. Perhaps most importantly, it’s crucial that you trust your partner and respect their work since you’ll be putting your name on it too. If you’re pursuing a long-term arrangement, you can consider registering your side hustle as an actual business to formalize the relationship and make boundaries and responsibilities clear.
Also, keep in mind that just because you are working with someone else doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get credit for your own work. Particularly if you’re engaging in less formal partnerships, such as guest posting or starting your own blog, it’s very important to remember to make it easy to link you so you still get traffic to your own site and prospective clients and partners can see your work.
Optimize your online presence
While you’re doing your main job during the day, it would be great if you could be passively boosting your freelance business as well. With a properly optimized online presence, you can market and grow your business without actively working all the time. Even if you are active on freelance platforms, you should still consider building your own website and posting on social media to promote yourself.
Having a website is a great way to showcase your portfolio, form partnerships, and show clients that you’re a serious professional. And as you build your online presence, be sure to pay attention to SEO and use the right tools so you can be earning an online following without constant maintenance or effort.
According to web developer Nathan Finch of Best Web Hosting Australia, you can look for hosting platforms with automated marketing features like SEO tools and email automation to give your business a boost.
Sites like ConstantContact have many features “that online business owners may find beneficial, like search engine optimization tools, unlimited storage for photos or product data, and email marketing automation tools,” says Finch. “Alongside automated email functionality, you can take advantage of subject line A/B testing, an automatic re-sending tool for those who don’t open emails the first time they are sent, and additional features like polls, dynamic content and surveys, and much more.”
This type of web hosting toolkit will make things a lot easier to optimize your web presence and gain web traffic to your site without having to constantly maintain your site. If you have the funds, you may also want to consider hiring a professional to save yourself time with your web development and SEO. But in the meantime, the right hosting platform will make your life a lot easier so you don’t have to cut corners in your full-time employment.
Freelancing can be both a benefit and challenge, especially while working full-time. But having the right tools to manage your time, assignments, and finances will make your life easier.
As you progress as a freelancer, you might want to hire someone to manage your social media or pursue partnerships with other freelancers to balance the workload. But until then, you can follow these tips for a healthy work-work balance to make sure your side hustle doesn’t up-end your work-life balance.