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How to Balance Freelancing With a Full-Time Job

In this article, you will learn how to balance freelancing with a full-time job.

Getting a pay raise is not easy.

However, if you want to increase your current income, there are some alternatives to asking for a salary increase; for example, applying for another position in your company or elsewhere, getting promoted, or giving yourself a pay raise through a side hustle.

I don’t know about you, but the last option is my favorite, and it’s actually what I chose a few months before the pandemic started.

In November 2019, I started to work as a freelance writer during my free time while I was working full time at Amazon.

Can you freelance while working full time?

Freelancing on the side is definitely possible if you know what you’re doing.

Starting one or more side hustles when you have a 9-to-5 job is not always easy, but once you understand how it works and start seeing the first results, it can be highly rewarding.

Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind if you are trying to balance freelancing with a full-time job.

Set clear goals

This may sound obvious, yet I see many freelancers struggling because they don’t know where they’re going.

Do you want to have a side hustle to earn some extra money every month? Or do you plan to quit your job one day?

Asking yourself these questions will help you have a clear idea of what your goals are, which is essential to successfully balance freelancing with your job.

If what you want is to eventually transition out of your full-time job, you need to plan under which conditions you are going to do it.

For example, you might decide to quit your job only when you are consistently making at least $5,000 per month, or $10,000.

On the other hand, if your goal is to simply make more money through a side hustle without quitting the corporate life, all you need to choose is when to work on your freelance business, and how many hours you want to work on it every week.

Prioritize work ethic and create an effective schedule

Avoid working on your freelance projects during your working hours.

Not only is it unethical, but it may also reduce your efficiency and negatively impact your performance.

Not to mention, separating your side hustles from your job will help you stay focused and succeed in both things.

Make sure to create an effective schedule, and set blocks of time to work on your projects. For example, I usually write for two hours after 6 pm and for a few hours on Saturdays.

Learn to manage your low-energy days

On some days you won’t feel like working on your side projects, and it’s completely normal.

However, it’s on those days that you will have to make an extra effort to stick to your schedule. It’s easy to say “today I think I’ll skip my writing session,” and that’s where many freelancers give in to temptation and procrastinate.

What I usually do on days like these is commit to dedicate just thirty minutes to writing or other tasks related to my freelance business — because thirty minutes is much better than nothing.

What usually happens is I end up working one or two hours.

Focus on your progress, not on other freelancer’s achievements

We all compare ourselves to others from time to time, it’s normal.

Observing someone who is particularly successful in our same field can even motivate us and give us interesting ideas.

However, focusing too much on what another freelancer is doing and on their achievements also means concentrating (and wasting) your energy on something you can’t control.

And it might even lead to feelings of low self-confidence and discouragement.

Instead, focusing on your own progress helps you zero in on something you have under control and that matters to your freelance business — your goals and the exact tasks that will help you reach those goals.

Write down a blacklist of the habits that slow you down

Since you can’t spend eight hours a day working on your freelance business, it’s essential that you make the most of the time you block off for your side hustles.

Writing down a list of habits that slow you down, and proactively avoiding all the things appearing on that list, is a great way to have more control over the time you spend on your freelance projects.

For example, the habits I wrote down on my black list are: checking my metrics on writing platforms, checking my blog metrics, checking my personal email, and using my phone — I actually leave my phone in another room, as it works better for me.

Don’t forget about your work-life balance

When I started freelancing I made two mistakes. I started to work on my side hustles during my lunch break and I spent too many hours writing after work.

After a few weeks, I was exhausted and I realized that my lifestyle was negatively impacting my performance, both on my full-time job and my side hustles.

I also understood that it’s way better to work less and be consistent than overdo it and burn out.

That’s when I decided to only work 15 to 18 hours per week on my freelance business.

How to balance freelancing with a full-time job, final thoughts

It’s essential to always remind yourself that if you want to successfully balance freelancing with your 9-to-5 job, you need to prioritize your mental wellness over productivity.

That’s how you will be able to stay focused and do everything to the best of your abilities.


Image: iStock

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