The first few years of a freelance career can be a heady mix of excitement and terror. Sure, you can work when you want, wearing whatever you want, but there’s also the fear that there might not be enough work to get you through the year or that a client might drop you without little notice. After some time, you’ve gotten “the find clients and work” part of the process down pat, have managed to give yourself a little cushion and finally feel like you’ve “made it” as a freelancer.
The only problem? You’re also feeling a bit sick of the game and are wondering if heading back to a job in an office isn’t actually the best idea. It’s not uncommon to have doubts about your career choice at some point or another: Some people call it burnout. If you’re beginning to question your choices or to feel that you’re just not that into freelancing, it helps to make a few adjustments to get you back on track.
Turn Down Projects You Aren’t Jazzed About
When you’re new to freelancing, you might take on freelance jobs and assignments left and right, even if they don’t pay as much as you’d like or even if you aren’t particularly thrilled about them. Working at low rates or working on assignments that you really couldn’t care less about will leave you wondering why you’ve devoted your life to this.
If you’re starting to fall out of love with freelancing and it seems that less than stellar projects are to blame, practice saying no. Politely turn down the 1,500 word assignment writing about the pros and cons of dredging (unless you’re really into dredging). If you take on projects that don’t excite you because you’re worried that something better won’t come along, start doing more networking, find new places to pitch, or otherwise expand your options, so that you aren’t left writing about a topic that bores you to tears.
Change Your Environment
Sometimes you’re excited about your assignments and jobs, but you just can’t seem to focus when you try to work in the same place where you watch TV, cook meals, and go to sleep. A change of environment or setting can work wonders for getting you back on track when it comes to focus. Try going to your local library or to a coffee shop that doesn’t mind if you camp out for the day with your laptop. Another way to reinvigorate your career by changing setting is to join a co-working space. Many offer a variety of scheduling options for varying monthly rates. You’ll not only be giving yourself a dedicated workspace, you’ll also have the chance to meet other freelancers and entrepreneurs in your area.
Add a New Trick to Your Bag of Tricks
The reason you’re feeling less than thrilled with your freelance career might be because you’re doing the same thing day in and day out. Even freelancers want to advance from time to time or feel a sense of upward mobility. If that’s the case, it can be useful to learn a new skill or to branch out into another area or niche. You can take a quick course on writings sales copy, for example, or read up on press releases and start offering those to your clients. Think of something that you want to learn to do or something you already enjoy and consider it a value-added service you can begin offering.
Along with focusing on ways to jazz up your career to keep things interesting, don’t forget to dedicate some time to focusing on yourself and your own needs. Carve out some quiet time for yourself to spend either alone or with family. Even the most dedicated freelancers need to take a step back now and then.
Writer Bio: Amy F is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.