I don’t know about you but for me, staying motivated as a freelancer can be challenging. Working from home comes with many distractions and there are days when my productivity is almost non-existent.
That couldn’t be truer than trying to get motivated after the holidays! In 2019, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a full two weeks off from my freelance business. The time off allowed me to be present with my family and simply soak in everything the holiday season has to offer.
While I truly enjoyed the break, coming back to work in January has been a bit of an adjustment! Whether you were able to take a long break from work or not, I’m willing to bet you’re having a little trouble getting motivated too.
With that in mind, I’m sharing my top five tricks to get motived as a freelancer after taking time off. While these are super helpful ways to boost your productivity in the new year, they’re also good when returning from a vacation or even a long weekend. Check them out below!
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Set a Schedule
One of the best parts of freelancing full-time is the ability to set your own schedule. You get to choose when, where, and how you work. While these are all great things, there’s just one caveat: you actually have to motivate yourself to work! This is especially true for freelancers after a taking any sort of break. With several days (or even weeks) off, getting back into the swing of things can be tough.
Creating—and sticking to—a schedule will help ease the transition. Having a set schedule each day puts you in a work-oriented mindset, helps you stay productive, and lets clients know when they can reach you. After a couple of days, you’ll be able to shake off any residual post-break fatigue and start feeling more motivated to work.
Sometimes the way to get motivated as a freelancer is as simple as getting organized. Coming back to a disorganized mess after time off can tank your productivity and energy levels. To limit the overwhelm, take some time to get organized. Clean your desk, update your planner, and review your current and upcoming client projects. If you haven’t yet, consider getting set up with a project management system like Trello or Asana. An organized workspace and projects will help you get back on track much faster.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “a dream without a plan is just a wish?” It’s true! Not having clear, well-defined goals for your business can make you feel like you’re wandering aimlessly down an unfamiliar path. In order for your business to succeed, you have to know where you’re at and where you want to go. In other words, you need to have goals.
If you’re struggling to get motivated as a freelancer, take an hour or two to define your goals. While I recommend setting goals for the year and breaking them down into smaller, actionable goals to accomplish throughout the year, you can start small by setting a goal or two for the week. If it’s going to help you back into the swing of things and excited to grow your business, do it.
Start Pitching New Clients
What could make freelancers get motivated more than adding new clients to their roster? New year, new clients, am I right? The start of a new year is the perfect time to start pitching new clients. Set a few hours aside to compile a list of companies in your niche that you’d like to work with and start sending emails. You can even offer a discount to new clients as a way to sweeten the pot. What you offer is entirely up to you, whether it’s a discount on pre-paid services or a discount on a package or bundle.
But, remember—cold emailing isn’t the only way to add clients to your roster. Take some time to reach out to companies that have used your services in the past. While the goal is to convert them to a paying client, your email should be less pitch-driven and focused more on nurturing your relationship.
When touching base with past clients, I try to craft my emails in a way that makes it seem like I’m catching up with an old friend. Ask them how they’re doing. Congratulate them on a recent achievement. Compliment a photo they shared on their social media account recently. The last thing you want to do is make them feel like you’re only reaching out because you need something from them. Even if they decline your services, you’re at least staying on their radar for the future.
There’s no doubt that coming back from a long break can be taxing. While it’s important to get your work done, it’s just as important to practice a little self-care. Above all, self-care gives you the opportunity to reset your mind and center yourself. It also helps you get in the right headspace for work and prevent burn out. Whether balancing a side hustle with a full-time job or freelancing full-time, practicing self-care as a freelancer is necessary to achieving success.
Here are some self-care ideas to help you get started:
- Take a short break to browse social media or read a blog post
- Listen to a podcast episode
- Take a walk around the neighborhood
- Read a book
- Take a bath
Whatever helps you relax, work it into your daily or weekly routine.
Be Patient With Yourself
If you’re struggling to get motivated as a freelancer after taking time off, don’t be too hard on yourself! We’ve all been there and with a little effort, it’s only a matter of time before you get back on track.
Have any tips and tricks for easing the transition back to work after a break or staying motivated in general? Let me know in the comments!
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Katie Jenison is a freelance writer offering copywriting, blogging, and ghostwriting services. She works closely with home builders, remodelers, interior designers, real estate and property management professionals to help them create content marketing strategies, improve their digital presence, generate leads, and engage with their target audience. Katie also helps freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of working from home by providing tips and advice, business strategies, and writing tips on her blog, The Quiet Type. Download her free workbook, A Freelancer’s Guide to Setting Rates, here.