Many news outlets portray freelancing as a stress-free lifestyle, where freelancers can do whatever they want with almost zero trouble.
But this is not reality.
Just like a regular 9-5 lifestyle, the freelancing lifestyle comes with its own set of challenges, some of which are unique to freelancers. In this post, I want to explain some these challenges and share ways you can overcome them.
The Challenges All Freelancers Face
Let’s start with the daily challenges of modern freelancers:
1. Time Management
An issue I struggled with for years — and still find myself struggling with — is time management. As a freelancer, you’re responsible for staying away from distractions and focusing on your projects. No one is there to keep you on track.
A freelancer must always find time to keep their projects, client lists/contact info, and other work-related things organized. If they can’t, they’ll end up wasting their time looking for their latest project or getting stressed out over not being able to find the email of that client they talked to in person the other weekend.
An issue many people face is the issue of security, namely, cybersecurity. Freelancers spend hours online, either working on projects or finding new clients. But the internet is where many criminals lurk to scam and to hack — something not many people think about when working online.
3 Tools to Help You Manage Projects as a Freelancer
Now that we’ve reviewed the issues freelancers experience on a near-daily basis, let’s talk about 3 tools that will help you circumvent these issues.
To begin, I want to talk about Harvest — a program that will allow you and any other freelancer to keep with time spent on projects.
Used in many businesses around the world, Harvest gives freelancers the ability to keep track of time spent working projects, time spent on the phone, and tracking time spent doing other things.
As a bonus, Harvest comes with invoicing software as well, which is a big help for freelancers.
Sign up for Harvest
Time tracking, invoicing, project schedule, and payment processing you'll actually use
But solving the problem of time management doesn’t solve the issue of organization. Sure, you’ll (hopefully) have more time to focus on keeping organized, but you may still suffer from misplaced files, lost invoices, and vice versa.
Trello helps you keep up with most projects. Using a card-based system, Trello allows users to create, update, and keep track of “cards”, AKA projects.
Trello is easy to use, sports a modern interface, and personally helped me solve the issue of organization. If you want, you can even invite your clients to your Trello board(s) and submit your work through there!
Sign up for Trello
A highly-flexible project management and organizational tool
3. A VPN
Finally, let’s talk about security. I noted that not many people think about their security online, especially freelancers. In fact, many freelancers access confidential information while using public networks, which are often unsecured and risky.
Using security software like a Virtual Private Network or a reputable anti-virus will allow you to keep your data safe and encrypted while working, making sure no cyber criminal can scam you or steal your information.
The stereotype of freelancers living a free life without the stress of a 9-5 is false. There’s no other way to put it. Fortunately, many of the issues freelancers base on a near-daily basis can be circumvented or prevented with a few easy steps.
Learning to adapt to the freelance lifestyle is a road full of mistakes and improvements, but learning to use these tools is an important step toward becoming a successful freelancer.