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How to Stay Comfortable as a Freelancer Even When You’re Stressed

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Have you ever received an email or phone call from a client that just ruined your day? Not because they rejected your advice or hurt your feelings, but because they’re concerned about the deadline or unwilling to make the next payment?

Are you familiar with that awful sinking feeling in your gut? How can you possibly finish the project while being at odds with your client? Gulp.

There’s no avoiding stressful and uncomfortable situations when you run your own freelancing business. The key to staying comfortable during stressful situations is to maintain control of your business from every angle, not just from your inbox. Here are my top 3 tips for staying comfortable as a freelancer:

Control Your Environment

The best way to stay comfortable as a freelancer is to work in a controlled environment. Make sure your workspace encourages productivity by being clean, tidy, and quiet. That way when stressful situations occur, you’ll feel in control of your workspace and more in control of the situation.

While it’s not feasible for everyone, having a dedicated workspace (not your bedroom, dining room, living room, or local coffee shop) will help you feel like you have more control over stressful freelancing situations.

Control Your Projects

Another great way to stay comfortable as a freelancer is to only accept projects you’re comfortable working on. By avoiding projects and pay rates that aren’t a good fit for your business, you’ll avoid putting yourself in stressful and uncomfortable situations.

Of course you should venture out of your comfort zone to push the boundaries of your skills, rates, and clientele, but don’t accept projects that send up red flags right out of the gate.

Control Your Time

Procrastinating as a means to “work well under pressure” might work in college, but not when you’ve got paying freelance clients. Stay comfortable as a freelancer by managing your time effectively and getting tasks done early, not last minute. You’ll produce better work and have happier clients.

Go to bed and wake up around the same time each day. Develop a routine. Wake up earlier, get dressed, shower, and fight off your impulse to browse social media. Be really productive with the first hours of your day. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are each week.

How do you stay comfortable as a freelancer?

I’d also like to give a special shoutout to Tommy John for featuring me in their “Comfortable, Cool, and Collected” infographic. Thank you!

Last updated on April 10th, 2020

About Matt Olpinski
I've been freelancing since 2009 and have worked with over 100+ clients including some of the biggest brands in the world. I later started my own company Matthew’s Design Co. and now teaches 50,000+ freelancers each year how to succeed through his personal blog, newsletter, and community for freelancers.