If you are new to the freelance world, or even if you have been doing this for a while, but find yourself feeling overwhelmed or having lots of client issues, you might need to make a mindset shift. No worries, we got you boo!
When you are self-employed you ARE the boss. That can take some shifting in the way you think, and the way that you respond to clients. Want to know the dirty little secret of being a killer boss? Be good to your employees and they will work better and harder. That means being nice to, well… you!
Setting boundaries and priorities are the most important skillset that you will need in your career as a business owner and “no” is sometimes the key to success!
How to Know if you have an Employee Mindset or a Self-Employed Mindset.
Employee: Waits around for new tasks, opportunities, and instructions.
Self-Employed: Takes initiative based on the greater goals of the project or mission.
Employees have the benefit of knowing exactly what they need to do on any given day. They do the tasks assigned and they may have periods of free time in the workday to do things that are not productive or helpful. As the boss of your own business, you are always the person pushing the needle forward on the missions so you take the initiative to meet the deadlines that you are committed to.
If you are finding yourself in a waiting pattern take the opportunity to grow you own business and work on projects you want to do for yourself.
Employee: Lets someone else tell them when and how much they are going to work. They allow for “emergencies” on their schedule.
Self-Employed: Creates a schedule based on priorities and fits tasks into that schedule.
Prioritization is everything when you are the keeper of your own schedule. Letting clients know they are not allowed to impose deadlines on you that are not going to work with the plan you have already set forth for the project is a vital step to schedule success.
Pro Tip: If someone reached out with an emergency and you have time to take a look go ahead and let them know you charge a rush fee for emergencies and then help them out!
Employee: Checks email and slack all day and night and allows interruptions.
Self-Employed: Has clear boundaries and rules around communication times and sticks to those rules.
We have all been there. It’s 5 pm and time to “start your day” because all you have done is reply to each ding and ping hitting your inbox. That, my friend, is a recipe for disaster. Setting clear times so that your clients know when they can reasonably expect a response from you can help you keep the notification madness to a minimum. Schedule in “focused work blocks” throughout the day and allow them to be uninterrupted blocks of time where you are just working on moving the needle for YOU!
Want more help with this? Check out our video on beating the summer haze (which is packed with productivity hacks. You’re welcome!)
Employee: Says yes to anything that comes their way as long as they are getting paid.
Self-Employed: Has a clear vision for how they want their schedule to look and says no when it doesn’t fit.
If there is one thing you take away from this blog, please let it be this. Don’t just say “yes” to everything. Sometimes, “No” is a magical word that can hold the keys to your best life.
Imagine, you say “yes” to those few projects that don’t bring you any life. Then your dream opportunity comes along and you are left having to say “no”. You do NOT want to be stuck missing out on your dream project because you said yes to a paycheck.
Employee: Hopes they are given what they need to finish the project on schedule.
Self-Employed: Sets clear deadlines and lets the client know when their is action needed.
This is one of the biggest mistakes new business owners make. Proactive communication can be the make or break in a project going really well and a project that ends up being a nightmare for you and your client. Outlining deliverables in your contracts, setting clear expectations for the project, and then letting your client know how you are doing is a huge key to keeping clients happy and can lead to great reviews and referral business.
Pro Tip: Schedule check-in’s with your clients OFTEN. This helps keep you accountable to the timeline and lets them know when things are not being done within timelines.
Some Related Blog Posts That May Help You
Employee: Blame “others” or forces beyond your self when business is slow.
Self-Employed: Innovates and reaches out with new offers when they want new business.
If you are going to be self-employed, you have to learn to innovate and be motivated to get things done and bring in new business. Think outside the box. When things start to get slow, because they always do, have a plan in place for something you can offer that will bring in new revenue.
Are you an online freelancer? Check out this blog for planning your year!
Employee: Hopes to get paid sometime soon.
Self-Employed: Has a payment schedule set before beginning work.
When you are starting out on projects it can be tempting to forgo the awkward payment talks, but let us encourage you, this is how you get paid as a freelancer without losing your mind. When you are setting up a project, have clear payment deadlines and when payments stop, so does the work. It is a hard thing to stick to sometimes, but it is SO worth it. This will lead to more predictable payment schedules and making sure you can pay your rent and buy puppy treats. #dontjudge
Pro Tip: Don’t tie your project payments to milestones. Tie them to specific dates on a calendar and this will help you stay motivated to move the project forward, without tying your paycheck to someone getting you that one last image they can’t find.
Employee: Spends every penny that comes in.
Self-Employed: Sets aside money for growth and expenses.
When you are an employee training and taxes are covered most of the time. As a self-employed person, you are responsible for yourself. Some of the best money you will spend is on training and resources that help move you forward in business. Learning is a lifelong pursuit and it will keep you relevant for your clients, and your own company, if you invest wisely in resources and tools to grow your skills and save you time.