Navigating Stress During That Freelance Hustle

A person sitting at a desk with her head in her hands Description automatically generated

Credit: Via: Pexels

Most people are wary of the unknown. And when it comes to our professional lives, uncertainty about the future and our finances can be incredibly stressful.

If you’ve taken the almighty leap to freelancing, the uncertainty that comes with solo entrepreneurship might have left you feeling bewildered. Unlike your regular 9 to 5, freelancing means lots of unknowns. What’s your next project? Who’s your next client? When’s your next paycheck? 

If you’re a freelancer, read on to learn how to navigate and manage some of these stressors.

Craft Working Hours — and Stick to Them

It’s easy to slide into the habit of checking emails at night and on weekends. While it’s likely you’ll need to put in longer hours than regular office workers do (especially during the early days), it’s important to carve out a set schedule of your own.

Working too much without dedicated time off can take a negative toll on your physical and mental health. Burning out due to exhaustion from stress may lead to costly errors, missed deadlines, and even lost customers.

Set Up Financial Safety Nets

One of the biggest worries for freelancers is income and not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from, when it’s coming, and how much it will be. To alleviate an element of financial stress, set up a safety net in the form of an emergency fund.

An emergency fund — which is generally three to six months’ worth of everyday expenses — is a great way to cover costs in the event of an unexpected illness, a home emergency (like your AC breaking down, or your car falling apart on the way to an important meeting).

If an emergency presents itself before you’ve had enough time to save, or you’ve experienced one crisis, and you’re still topping up your fund when another one comes along, you may want to research options for a personal loan or a line of credit. Fora, for one, offers online loans that are easy to apply for using your laptop, tablet, or phone. 

However, remember that this is a last resort for an emergency and not for everyday purchases or costs.

Connect with Other Freelancers

Reach out to other freelancers in your industry. Often, the freelance route is a lonely path. There are apps, social pages, and in-person events designed for you to meet others in your situation. Connecting with like-minded folks allows you to share tips, learn from other struggles, and even work through concerns.

Connecting with people who genuinely understand what you’re going through is a great way to learn how to navigate niche concerns.

Keep Busy

When incoming client work is slow, keep busy and don’t dwell during downtime. Instead, use the newly awarded time to better your business. 

Add potential clients to outreach funnels, try to lure past clients with an enticing offer, learn a new skill that can help your business move forward, or work to improve your advertising channels — like your website, social media pages, and virtual ads.

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt about it: being a freelancer can be stressful. By creating a financial cushion, crafting a healthy work-life balance, fostering community with like-minded freelancers, and keeping busy during downtime, you’re well on the way to a stress-free professional future!