Ever wonder what it’s like to make the transition from full-time employee to freelance consultant? In this next installment of “Full-time to Freelance” Ijeoma will focus on how a freelancer makes daily, weekly, and monthly plans. Throughout this series, you will get a first-hand account of the journey and advice of one millennial who recently made that leap.
A regular job is somewhat predictable in that you know the time frames and the location in which to work. There is very little discrepancy or confusion as to where you are going in the morning (or evening), if you have to commute, and when you are leaving.
When you’re freelancing that predictability, to a certain degree, gets thrown out the window. As a full-time employee, I managed freelance work during the early mornings, lunch breaks, evenings and weekends from time to time. Now that I freelance as my regular job, I am constantly trying to find the right mix of work–pitching, emails, conferences, contracted work– and play, which usually involves travel, church, an outing with colleagues and of course naps.
I personally like to plan but my time management skills fluctuate. To that end, I now am focusing on weekly and monthly goals and/or deliverables. my day-to-day usually involves tasks from my list making from the night before or as soon as I wake up. Below are visual representations of routine habits and processes that get me going.
My day starts with gratitude when I pray and then exercise, followed by a podcast or two while I finish up a few errands. I review my finances on a regularly basis and prioritize client work with impending deadline. Social media and blog reading can be/is a distraction, even though it is part of the work I do. Aside from staying on top of trending topics, I’m always on email and brainstorming ideas. Here’s how the day the looks:
- Morning prayer
- A podcast (I’m now playing Farnoosh Tarobi’s So Money and Dale Partridge’s StartupCamp)
- Check finances
- Pending client deliverables
- Client work + calls (with mentees, business coach, new business leads)
- Emails (follow up, introductions, etc.)
- Twitter chats (depending on the day)
- Homework (via my visual design course at General Assembly) or skills based webinar or blog
- Read favorite blogs
- Catch up on news (usually via Google, Yahoo News! or Twitter)
- Brainstorm (for clients and idea generation)
I took a tip from a follower on Twitter about setting weekly goals. I am working to set aside weekly goals, so that the daily tasks leading to actual results. Week-to-week I am trying to convert leads, attending events, and developing as much quality content as possible.
- Content development (via Medium)
- Spending time with friends and colleagues either via snail mail, phone or meetup
- In-person industry related events
- Pitch cold and warm leads
- Inform network of capabilities
At the end of each month, I begin planning the next month’s goals and travel, personal and professional. Planning for conference and subsequent travel in advance truly helps to save money. I do not like thinking about accounting whatsoever, but I have new goal to outsource monthly financial reconciliation.
- Conferences + personal travel
- On-going developments to website
- *NEW* reviewing expenses
My schedule changes day-to-day and I remain flexible. The key is to be realistic with yourself and communicate with others as soon as time allows. There a few tips that I continually keep in mind when planning my schedule.
- Tabs are not your friend. Too many tabs, too many distractions.
- Say “no” to notifications. It is alright to get notifications but mute them and check them at different times of the day.
- Time is money, money is time. One of the best learning lessons.
- Don’t forget friends and family. Personal relationships will keep you sane.
- Batch work makes the dream work. Similar tasks can be done more efficiently.
As a freelancer, the journey ever evolving for better or worse. The opportunity to have the freedom to determine is important and should be treated in a strategic, professional way. It’s essential to incorporate personal and social time but at the end of the day, work never stops. The journey continues.