Many people believe that working from home is a piece of cake. Not having to personally interact with the boss, not having to commute to the office. There is some truth behind it, especially if we consider those, who have the introvert type of personality. Communicating with others can be easier if we do not have to do it face to face. But it does not necessarily mean that it’s as much accurate, as the verbal conversation. It may be harder to pass the precise message to the person when our only means of communication are the chat or the email.
For that reason, many managers expect a little bit more from the freelancers they co-operate with than from their regular office employees. And as freelancers rather rarely work for just one company, they must work pretty hard to maintain a positive image on the web, and therefore, receive more job offers. Thus, working from home can be much more demanding and stressful, than the steady job at the office.
At TimeCamp, we have quite a lot of employees that work on their tasks at home. In result, we are familiar with the requirements, that freelancers have to face every single day. Here is a list of five tips that you can follow to make your “homework” more effective and efficient. Enhance your brand as a freelancer and receive more offers of cooperation!
1. Follow a Regular Schedule
If you are not an organized person, working from home may become hell. Let’s say that you have 5 tasks to complete but you haven’t prepared any plan how to settle down to them. You start with one but it’s not going well, and you decide that maybe you should be doing the other one. Later, you find out that you should’ve started with the 4th one because it was the most important one. Meanwhile, you get hungry, or you need to exercise a bit. Everything becomes chaos.
With a schedule prepared beforehand, you know exactly where to start, what to do next, when to take a break, when to make a dinner or go for a run. It doesn’t require much time to make a schedule. You can dedicate like 30 minutes every evening to it, or perhaps two hours every Sunday. Depends on your preferences. We recommend you to plan a daily schedule one day beforehand. You will be up to date with all the tasks and projects that you are currently working on, so it will be faster and simpler to do so.
2. Adopt Positive Habits
Not necessarily those connected with your work, rather those that will help you stay more focused on it, and not lose energy too fast. You are the one responsible for establishing those, that will be best for you. However, we can suggest some:
- Synchronize your biological clock – if possible, go to sleep and wake up at steady hours. It will be easier for you to get used to other scheduled plans this way, you will also feel better and more energized in the morning.
- Exercise once in a while – the toll that the constant sitting and staring at the screen takes on your body is huge. Try to move from time to time, or set regular hours on your schedule for this and just.do.it. If not, the consequences may not be pleasant, take a look at them here:
Stay Healthy – Take care of your mind and body at the office
- Eat Healthily – A balanced diet rich in nutrients will give you the boost that will keep both your body and mind in full gear. Not to mention the sexy silhouette that may appear if you properly combine these 3 tips. The rest is up to you!
3. Be communicative
Whenever you get a job, prove, that you are the right man for it. One way to do it is by establishing a solid way of communication between you, the management, and the team that you are working with. Leave them with the positive impression concerning your person. Just do it in a professional way, showing that you are working hard on the project and that you can appropriately coordinate the team is one thing, sending old memes or bad puns to the general chat is the other, you should see the difference =D
Also, this is the opportunity for you, to gather information. First of all, you can ask about every single detail of the task or project that you are supposed to work on. Remember that the more specific questions, the better. Some managers or principals have a tendency to explain what they want in a few sentences, throwing the rest on your shoulders. But when the client is not satisfied, who is to blame? So don’t be afraid to ask questions!
The last thing is that having a bond with the team makes the work easier. If you like each other, you communicate better. Always try to introduce a positive atmosphere. It should be much easier if you communicate via the chat 😉
4. Work on your brand
Follow the rule “quality, not quantity.” Even if there is a possibility to lose some money because you will have to decline a work offer, after some time you will benefit from it. Here’s why:
- Taking too much work too early may cost you dearly. The vision of earning a lot of money is tempting, but the pressure and stress that comes with it may be too hard to take.
- You will end up finishing the work that you were given, but perhaps also exceeding the deadline, making mistakes, and definitely doing it poorly.
- Work poorly done will not satisfy the client, the logical outcome is that such client won’t contact you again, and won’t recommend you to any friends.
- Accept fewer offers. You will have more time to spend on each.
- Do your best, use the tips from points 1-3 and show the customer that you are reliable, communicative, and that you can get things done efficiently.
- Going the extra mile offers a lot of benefits: One is that you will organize better, because the pressure on you will be much weaker, and you won’t have to think about too many things at once. Second is that the satisfied customer may pay more (but don’t expect it often -.^), will contact you again if necessary, and will recommend you to his friends.
- With time you will be able to accept more offers, or choose from many, to pick those that suit you best.
5. Don’t be passive
Though you can’t be too stubborn at the beginning of your freelancing career, even if you know that you are right, you should probably do as the client asks. However, with time you will gain experience, and, if you follow the points from 1-4, reputation & respect in the business 😉 Then, you will know that the management will listen to your arguments.
Your voice is important, so don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. If you think that something is going wrong, speak up. If you are hired to lead a team of company employees and one member of your team does not follow your instructions, do not hesitate to reprimand him/her, and if you don’t see the improvement, inform their immediate superiors. You are supposed to have a positive relation with the team but in certain cases, you have to be firm. Your reliability cannot suffer because of the incompetent employee.
However, there is the other side of the coin, a good one. The team that works on the project with you may have certain objections to its form. They will most likely be experienced workers, who know each other for a while – so they know what they are doing, and their ideas are definitely worth considering. The problem is, that are the regular employees of the company, they may be afraid to voice their objections, concerns, or propositions. This is your time to shine! Be open and let them know that you will listen to their concerns and that they can always inform you about any problem. You can forward their message to the management because you are the person “from the outside” so you don’t have to fear any repercussions.
That’s it. You should find these tips easy to introduce but hard to follow. Be patient and persistent. One step at the time, you will be able to set a solid schedule, build your brand, and the job offers come raining at you =)
Once they do, remember that there is a software that can help you with managing your working time, analyze your work, and also generate timesheets and invoices that you can send to your customers. Oh, there are so many assets of TimeCamp, no time and no place to name them now, but you can read a bit about it here, here, as well as here, and also here.
Sign up and try it for free, we are sure that you will like it 😉