I don't know about you, but staying motivated as a freelancer can be challenging for me. 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!
For the last two years, I've been fortunate enough 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 offers.
While I truly enjoy my annual holiday break, coming back to work in January is always 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 after the holidays or a long break too.
With that in mind, I'm sharing my top five tricks to get motivated as a freelancer after taking time off.
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. But, there's just one caveat: you actually have to motivate yourself to work!
This is especially true for freelancers after 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 is important because it:
- Puts you in a work-oriented mindset
- Helps you stay productive during working hours
- Lets clients know when they can reach you
As noted above, freelancers have the freedom to set their own schedules. Try setting your schedule for times when you feel the most productive and work seems to come more naturally. It could be in the early morning or late at night — whatever works for 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. Consider getting set up with a project management system like Trello or Asana if you haven't yet. 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?”
Not having clear, well-defined goals for your business can make you feel like you're wandering aimlessly down an unfamiliar path. 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. I recommend setting big-picture goals for the year and breaking them down into smaller, actionable goals. Then, each quarter, focus on completing those mini-goals. If the thought of annual and quarterly goals feels like too much at once, start small and set 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.
Here are some of my favorite tools and resources for goal setting:
- PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner
- Full Focus Planner
- The Freedom Journal
- The Productive Life Podcast (Goal Setting Playlist)
- How Freelancers Can Set Goals That They'll Actually Accomplish
- Free Training: How to Get Anything You Want
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 into 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 allows you to reset your mind and center yourself. It also helps you get in the right headspace for work and prevent burnout.
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! With a little effort, it's only a matter of time before you get back on track.
There you have it; my top tips to help freelancers shake off the post-vacation daze and get back into the swing of things.