Most of us know that self-employment has been on the rise for several years. In the United States alone, figures estimate that there will be 60 million freelance professionals in the market by 2020.
One of the primary benefits driving people from all walks to become their own bosses, is flexibility. Working outside of the traditional nine-to-five is increasingly compelling for individuals, both young and old, who want to improve work-life balance. While many don’t have the skills, equipment, or financial backing to run their own ‘traditional’ business, many many more are opting to join the gig economy – happy to be paid on a per-job basis.
Working in the gig economy does not come without its pitfalls, however. Although freelancers like these aim to achieve optimal work-life balance, personal and professional life can often overlap. In many cases, without the appropriate workload management, free time can evaporate completely, leaving your personal life to face the consequences – it is happened to me, and to many others. And that’s why proper workload management is critical to a professional’s success in the gig economy. If you don’t hone the ability to navigate your workflow appropriately, it can become increasingly difficult to secure projects and clients to sustain your freelance career.
Be Independent, Not Isolated
Despite the growing freelance market, professionals working independently still enjoy less stability and security in their careers, and can often find themselves in a working environment that’s far more isolated than the traditional workplace.
It’s important to remember that, even though you’re working on your own, you are not alone. The popularity of the gig economy can be an asset for other freelancers seeking greater balance in their workload, as they have access to a vast network of gig professionals to contribute to projects.
Although some may view collaboration amongst freelancers as competition, the benefits go beyond workload management. Having strong relationships within the gig economy network can also present new opportunities for your business, from new client work to collaborative efforts.
Know When to Say No
With opportunities abound, it can often be difficult for freelancers to say “no” to clients or new projects. And while it’s important to prioritise your clients’ needs and provide the best experience possible, not all clients are created equal. Prioritising is essential to proper workload management.
Recognising problem clients from the onset is also an important component of workload management. Although freelancers will naturally want to seize every opportunity, it can be tricky to successfully balance projects when clients are proving difficult to work with.
Don’t Blur the Lines Between Personal and Professional
Another essential factor in successful workload management for gig professionals is drawing a fine line between personal and professional life. Moving from one gig to the next, pulling odd hours, and working from home requires a bit of juggling by gig professionals. It’s not at all uncommon for the lines between their professional and personal life to blur.
There are some ways that you can work to establish better work-life balance and avoid the overlap between your personal and professional life:
• Re-draw the line in areas where it’s been blurred
• Establish strict office hours
• Avoid interruptions to your personal time
All difficulties aside, there are numerous benefits to seeking employment in the gig economy. However, even the most fundamental success relies on the ability to manage an ever-changing workload.
Striking the appropriate balance in your workload management can take some time, but it is essential to your success as a freelance professional in the gig economy.
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