When you’re a freelancer, it can be tempting to go all in and work crazy hours to build up your following and earn a living.
You may find that you’re spreading yourself thin, trying to master all skill sets, and working around the clock to build your brand.
If this sounds like you, it is important to think about how minimalism can apply to your life as a freelancer.
The word minimalism tends to get tossed around in contexts where it refers to getting rid of belongings you don’t need, buying less stuff, and avoiding a materialistic worldview.
However, it is also possible to apply minimalism to freelancing, though that may seem like more of a stretch. If you are feeling overwhelmed, read on to learn our minimalist tips for freelancers:
7 Minimalist Tips for Freelancers
1. Adopt Digital Minimalism
Digital minimalism refers to your presence on all the different social media platforms that are now available to mankind.
As you know, it’s not just Facebook anymore – there are tons of social media platforms to keep up with, and those numbers are only increasing.
As a minimalist, it is important not to let yourself get overwhelmed by trying to build a social media presence on every possible outlet – especially when you are using up time and energy that could and should be devoted to working on your assignments and providing a quality service to your clients.
Social media can be a powerful tool, but it is not number one in your business. This is a freelance tip in which balance is of the utmost importance.
2. Don’t Go Crazy with Tools
There exists an endless supply of widgets, apps, and tools that are marketed predominantly to the self-employed. As helpful as these different tools may seem, they can just as easily become overwhelming when accumulated in excess.
This is a trap that is easy to fall into, but one of the big freelance tips is to focus on honing your skills and mastering your craft before you spend money on things like virtual assistants or go crazy with outsourcing.
After all, it takes time to learn these new systems and routines, and some of that time can be much better spent working on your projects directly.
As your business grows, you can assess and discern your needs and scale your use of apps and tools accordingly.
3. Stay Focused on the Task at Hand
The mind can wander in thousands of directions at once, and when you’re a freelancer, it can be very tempting to multitask.
When you venture down a rabbit hole, it can be very easy to lose track of what you’re working on.
Part of the minimalist lifestyle is to focus on one task at a time.
Sometimes this means designating a window of time when you will not be checking your phone or your email, and all you will focus on is the project that needs your attention.
This will be a challenging adjustment at first, but it is great for productivity, not to mention it flows with the minimalist mentality.
4. Don’t Forget Gratitude
Part of the minimalist lifestyle is always remembering to be grateful for what you have, and for what you’ve accomplished, and not relying on the mentality of “more”.
Gratitude can have significant effects on your emotional and physical health, and there are scientific findings that gratitude is associated with psychological health, improving mental strength and capacity, and increasing empathy.
First of all, be grateful that you are a freelancer. It is awesome to take the leap to be self-employed, and this requires not only creativity but also ambition and bravery. That alone is something to be grateful for.
5. Be Okay with Earning Less
If you’re a freelancer, it means you favor the creative over the conventional. You want to do what you love, even if it means having to hustle as you search for your niche and your clientele.
It is important to remember that you don’t need to make a six-figure income in the beginning. If this is an eventual goal of yours, that’s amazing, and you should go for it.
But give yourself permission to earn less, especially in the beginning, rather than compromising your vision and your brand for more projects and a bigger sum of money.
In the short term, the money might seem nice. But in the long-term, your vision and passion is what got you into freelancing in the first place, so you want to make sure that is what you keep at the forefront of your work, even if you’re not earning six figures right off the bat.
6. Choose Work that Offers Value
The power of working freelance is that you have the power to say yes or no depending on whether you like the projects (and the clients) that come your way.
If you’re offered a project that simply doesn’t mesh with what you value, you have the option to pass. This, of course, means taking the time to figure out what it is you value and what type of assignments are meaningful to you personally.
Does a particular project excite you? Do you love a challenge or an opportunity to grow in an are where you’re less familiar?
Take the time to consider your answers to these questions each time you are offered a new project, and reflect on what your answers mean and what type of work you are innately drawn toward.
There will always be times when you will have to pick up a project you’re not as passionate about because you need the money, but it’s still important to recognize what type of work you value as you develop your personal brand.
Speaking in terms of a minimalistic lifestyle, the quality of the projects you accept is more important than the quantity.
7. Don’t Work Too Much
When it comes to freelance, it’s always either feast or famine. Either you’re up to your eyeballs in assignments, or you’re experiencing a complete drought and need to hustle for new clients.
No matter which of these seasons you find yourself in right now, it’s important to free yourself up for an effective work / life balance.
You want to work hard, but working too hard and too much can prevent you from having time for creative projects and even the important relationships in your life.
Try negotiating higher rates to allow yourself time for the other things in your life without having to sacrifice financially.
It is hard work to be a freelancer, but that doesn’t mean you’re required to go overboard. It is possible to live the minimalist lifestyle even in the midst of hectic freelance work.
Not only is it possible, but it is important, because adopting minimalism as a freelancer will allow you to cut away the distractions and focus on what is most important to growing and scaling your brand.