A lot of people imagine that freelancers have a life of leisure. For most of us, that isn’t the case. Sure, we might travel a bit more, but we also work as much (or more) than people with regular office jobs.
It is possible to find a healthy work-life balance, though. When you start freelancing, there’s always an adjustment period in which you will end up working more than your peers. However, things should settle down once you have steady work coming your way.
In this article, I’m going to talk to you about what my freelance work hours look like, so you get an idea of what to expect. Then we’ll discuss some ways you can improve your work-life balance so you don’t end up with 50-hour work weeks. Let’s talk business!
What My Freelance Work Hours Look Like
These days, I’m working anywhere between 30-40 hours per week. That translates to at least six hours of work each day. On some days, work will pile up, so I may have to sit down for longer, but I often make up for it with an extra day off during the week.
Compared to other people I know, I have it easy. Although, when I started freelancing as a writer, I often had to resort to working for content mills. That meant my workdays were at least eight hours long. I had to keep pumping out article after article about the most random topics you can imagine so I could make a decent amount of money. On top of that, I was also looking for better paying gigs on the side, so I wasn’t getting much rest.
Lucky for me, years of working in kitchens and call centers meant I was used to unusually long work days and sitting all day in front of a computer. Compared to a busy kitchen, content mills were a walk in the park. Plus, I could pop by my own kitchen anytime for a quick snack since I was working from home.
Nowadays, I’m not rolling in money by any means, but I make enough to live comfortably without working myself to death. Even better – I get paid to write about stuff I enjoy, such as web development and freelancing. I also have enough free time to focus on side projects, such as starting new blogs, and hobbies such as cooking and boxing. When I imagine myself working a regular job again, it’s enough to send shivers down my spine.
You have probably heard about freelancers that work three hours a day. In my experience, those are the people at the very top of the food chain. We’re talking about guys who charge hundreds of dollars for each article they write or for an hour of their time.
It’s possible to get to that level, but it takes a lot of time and networking. In the meantime, you still need to live your life, and that means making an effort to improve your freelance work hours.
How to Improve Your Freelance Work Hours
Ultimately, how much time you spend freelancing each week depends on your income goals and how fast you can reach them. When you’re starting out, you won’t be able to charge high per word rates, so you’ll need to spend more time working.
However, as you gain more experience and you become more attractive to potential clients, it should take you less and less time to reach your goals each month. Here’s what you need to focus on if you want to cut down on you freelance work hours by earning more money:
- Your portfolio. In most cases, clients will decide whether to hire you based on how good your portfolio is, so make sure to keep it up to date with your best work.
- Your client network. Happy clients will sometimes recommend you to other people they know. These are my favorite kinds of gigs since they just land in my lap.
- Choosing the right niche to specialize in. In most cases, people will prefer to hire the person who knows their niche in and out over someone who dabbles a bit in everything.
- Developing a system to tackle work efficiently. For me, that means scheduling my workload at the start of each week and minimizing distractions.
Keep in mind – increasing your per word rate can take a long time. I know guys that charge anywhere from $0.15 to $0.20 per word, and it often takes them years to get to that point. By then, chances are that people will be coming to you to write for them instead of you having to chase down new clients (that’s the dream!). However, before you get to that point, you’ll need to hustle to find clients anywhere you can, including job boards such as Paid to Blog Jobs.
Once you have solid financials, you can be a lot more flexible about how you use your time. For example, you could start working only four days per week if you schedule everything just right. You might also consider taking vacations more often, so you can go to all the places you want to visit.
Overall, improving your freelance work hours is a great way to live a more rewarding lifestyle. You have a fantastic amount of flexibility concerning how and when you work as a freelancer, so you should be taking advantage of it.
When you’re starting your freelance career, the hours are going to be long. You have to build a client list from scratch, so you’ll spend a lot of time looking for jobs and pitching people.
Once you get some experience under your belt, things start to get easier. You’ll be able to raise your rates, and if you set reasonable income goals, it shouldn’t be too hard to meet them. At that point, you can start to ease up a bit on the long work weeks and take better care of yourself.
What do your freelance work hours look like? Share your schedule with us in the comments section below!