As you will learn in the freelance business, it takes a lot of dedication, motivation, and a lot of hard work to accomplish your goals. In this post, I will go over all the necessary things you should do to ensure that your talents are not wasted.
The first thing you need to do is cut out any and all distractions. This includes the tv, music, people, and pets. I know what you might be thinking, some people work better with background noise rather than in silence. That's ok but you have to make sure it's limited. Don't let anything else distract your mind from your work. If you have the tv on, put it on low volume and make sure that it's on something you're not interested in (like an infomercial or some sort of crappy show - generally anything that passes as an excuse for entertainment in this generation). Never watch an action movie or your favorite sitcom while working. If you're listening to music, once again, turn the volume down. There's nothing worse in the freelance business than not being able to hear your own thoughts. If other people are around that distract you from the task at hand, remove them from the room. If this is not possible, find somewhere else to do your work. If you have small children, I don't know what to tell you. I guess just put them in front of some toys and let them mind themselves. If you have pets, find some kind of toy for them to play with and keep them out of your hair. It's the same problem before when it comes to barking dogs and playful cats, there's nothing worse in the freelance business than not being able to hear yourself think.
Some of you are probably thinking: "How in the world does weather have anything to do with hard work?" Well it's not so much as hard work, but rather that dedication and motivation thing we talked about earlier. Believe it or not, weather has a profound effect on our daily lives. For me, the days that are really hard to get work done are stormy days because it's cold and dark and wet - which makes me depressed. Some people like the rain, however, those same people may not like hot, summer days. It's also pretty hard to work when you get that horrible weather where its hot but you get cold flashes at the same time. It's really all a matter of finding what works best for you and working around that. Although you can't really avoid the weather, there is a number of things you can do to curve the ill effects and keep on going with your scheduled business days. The following is a list of tips to keep yourself motivated while coasting along the work week:
1. If it's hot outside, don't turn on the air conditioner. That will just make it hot and cold at the same time, which is an awful feeling and you'll probably want to throw up or lay in your bed. Instead, turn on some fans and open the windows. It may be hot outside but as long as you're in the shade of your room with a nice breeze going, you can turn that hot day into a beach paradise.
2. If it's a rainy day, resist the urge to lay in your bed all day. You have work to do and I promise you'll regret it tomorrow if you don't at least try. The best thing to do is to make sure it's not cold in the house (turn off the air conditioner and plug in heaters if you have to), try to brighten up the room, and get back to work.
3. Hurricane - simple enough: shut down your computer, find the flashlights, get a portable radio, the whole nine yards (you know the drill). Whenever the weather jeapordizes your health or puts your life at stake, it's time to take a break from work. There's more important things in life than money and on the flip side, if you die today then you can't work tomorrow. You got bills to pay, Mister.
Depression (or a rainy day, in my case), is a tragic blow when it comes to freelance business. Remember when I told you that freelancing takes a lot of dedication and motivation? Naturally, when you're depressed you don't WANT to be dedicated and you don't WANT to be motivated. Especially when you're the one that has to motivate yourself. When you're depressed, you have no energy - no inspiration. How on Earth can you expect to have "hard work" when you can't even be energetic enough to motivate yourself? When you feel yourself starting to get depressed, take a break from your work. Say what? That's right, take a break. I know, I know, it seems like I'm telling you to do opposite of what the rest of the entire post is telling you to do, but trust, it'll pay off in the long run if you just take a break now and find something that inspires you to start working again. When you're depressed, the sooner you snap out of it, the better. I'm not telling you to go see a counselor or take your meds or anything like that. I'm simply telling you to find something that you like doing. Go curl up under a tree in a public place, go sit in Starbucks, go play baseball with your kid (my apologies if you don't have any kids and, incidentally, that's the reason you're depressed). Hell, go buy yourself an ice cream cone and pick up chicks. I don't care what you do, just find something that sounds like fun to you and go do it. Take a few hours, possibly a day or two, to just enjoy life. One thing that always cheers me up when I'm depressed is just taking a shower and getting completely dressed (watch, necklace, jacket, shoes, etc). I don't know why, but that makes me feel ten times better. When you're starting to feel better, go back to work.
One thing you can't do in the freelance business is be lazy. Treat it like a normal job: Would you be able to sit around all day in your underwear watching reruns of Manswers if you were working for someone else? Hell no. So don't do it at all. Set aside certain work hours that you concentrate on your business and then the rest of the time you can do whatever you want. When you get lazy on the job "site" (no pun intended...ok, maybe a little one), you lose valuable time that you could be making money. Who knows, if you're late on one project because you insisted on sleeping til 1pm and then having a long lunch followed by a sports game, you may lose an opportunity of an even bigger project. If you're noticing that you're getting lazy (or a friend/family member kindly points it out), do whatever you have to get back on a standard routine. Start going to bed earlier if you're too tired in the mornings. Take a shower regularly (you're not fooling anyone if you say you work from home and take as much care of your hygiene as you used to). Do some exercises, do something. Better yet, do your work. Thrust yourself into it and don't let up until it's finished. Tell someone else what you're doing too. I know you don't care about yourself, but there's nothing worse than letting someone ELSE down.
Find an Interest
If you're constantly being lazy, depressed, or just plain bored, maybe you need to switch careers. See, I run several different businesses because I've taken the time to learn several different skills. Every now and then, I get tired of one business so I move over to another one for awhile. This kind of "refreshes" my soul. It restarts my mind. It's like turning off the play station and blowing into the cables to get all that dust out. I like to think of it as your brain being overheated, when you switch over to a different project altogether, it's like switching over to a different machine while your primary one cools down. There's plenty of different skills out there for you to learn so all you have to do is find one you like and go for it. Most skills can easily be learnt in a matter of days. Figure out what you're good at and turn it into a business. Some of these things could be sales, repair, writing, advertising, music, cooking food, labor...you get the idea. Just find something you're good at or like the thought of and research that topic. It doesn't take much to start up new businesses if you use common sense and don't let anyone or anything discourage you from accomplishing something that you think can work. (refers to Forest Gump) "And that's all I have to say about that..."
So let's recap. To achieve hard work, you need to be dedicated, motivated, and inspired. You need to get rid of distractions, work around weather conditions, starve off depression, avoid laziness, and find an interest that you like (what other kind of interest is there?). When you have successfully accomplished all of these things, you will be able to truly refer to yourself as a working stiff. Welcome to the freelance business, mates. I salute you.
Thanks for reading,