How to Deal with Freelance Stress

pencil-2878764_1280While freelancing offers incredible benefits, that doesn’t mean it’s a stress-free lifestyle either. Like anyone, freelancers can suffer from stress. According to studies, common causes of freelance stress are unstable income, isolation, and availability. So today, we’ll look at ways to deal with some of these common freelance stressors.

#1 Unstable income

Understandably, having an unstable income can be stressful, but unfortunately, the nature of freelance work is unstable. As we covered in 7 Ways to Get a More Stable Freelance Income, there are several ways you can mitigate this, for example:

  • Gaining return customers
  • Having multiple income streams
  • Giving yourself a payday
  • Considering contract-based work
  • Applying for larger projects, rather than smaller ones

#2 Isolation

Several studies have found that the freelance lifestyle can be lonely and isolating, and as we know, isolation is a major factor that affects our mental health and stress levels. As we saw in Is Freelancing Lonely, and How Can Freelancers Avoid Becoming Isolated?you can avoid becoming isolated by:

  • Working from a freelancing hub or coworking space
  • Working from coffee shops or libraries
  • Going out every day to socialise or exercise
  • Planning regular activities with loved ones
  • Building a freelance network

#3 Availability

There’s a big misconception that freelancers have to be available at all hours to suit clients. Having to be available over wide-spanning hours can be very stressful, making it difficult to separate work life from home life. However, it’s just not the case that freelancers are on call 24/7. In fact, you can structure your freelance day the way you want to, as we covered in 3 Ways to Structure Your Freelance Workday. So to resolve this:

  • Set your “available office hours”
  • Make it clear to clients when you are and aren’t available
  • Have an out of office for when you’re not available
  • Separate your personal and work emails and phone
  • Don’t answer calls or emails about work in your personal time

#4 Not enough work

One major stressor of being a freelancer is not having enough work, because this means you might not be able to pay your bills, socialise, or do the things you enjoy doing. As we covered in 10 Places to Find Freelance Clients, there are more ways to find freelance work than you may have realised:

  • Freelancing platforms (both generalist and niche)
  • Word of mouth
  • Networking
  • Cold-calling/emailing
  • Jobs boards/online
  • Existing personal network
  • Social media

#5 Too much work

On the other end of the scale, it can be just as stressful having too much work, because you can feel like you have to work, which cuts into your personal time, social life, and relaxation. As you saw in How to Manage Your Time As a Freelancer, to deal with your freelance workload you can:

  • Plan ahead so you know how much time you have available
  • Monitor your time spent so you know how long tasks take you
  • Block out your time, so you schedule personal time, work time, and social time
  • Say no to projects you don’t have capacity for
  • Avoid distractions to get your work done

How many of these stresses have you faced? How have you dealt with them? 

Stay tuned and follow A Freelance Life for more freelance tips, news, and insights every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…

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