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Sailing safely on two boats- Freelancing and Full-time job

It’s an ecstatic feeling for a full-time job holder – being granted a chance to freelance. You feel excited. A rush of independence courses through your veins.


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Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 5 min read

It’s an ecstatic feeling for a full-time job holder – being granted a chance to freelance. You feel excited. A rush of independence courses through your veins. The thought of that extra income makes your heart race. 

But wait!

You come back home, tired. The extra project that made you excited, has now turned into some work that you have to do.

You end up forcing yourself through it – half-assing it. 

The next day, you think about that half-assed freelance job. Stress takes over you.

The result – you find yourself unable to concentrate on your full-time job as well. 

In an age where every millennial possesses an entrepreneurial spirit, sailing on two boats is considered a prize. But the rush to get that rush of independence drowns many of them. If you’re not careful, engaging in freelance-fulltime combo becomes a space between a rock and a hard place. 

This is where you need to learn some hard truths.

THE FREELANCE-FULLTIME COMBO ISN’T FOR EVERYBODY

The “free” in the freelancing is what’s so attractive towards the term. I myself was engrossed by the “chill” and the “cool” factor of freelancing. Back then I didn’t realize that it isn’t for everyone. Following are the few things that you need to consider before taking on that extra project in your free time. 

  • It’s stressful: Extra work puts extra pressure on your mind. Pressure can turn into stress fast, forcing you to give up. While extra work will add versatility to your profile, you’ve got to take the stress that comes with it.
  • You’re going to fail, a lot: Taking on that extra load brings more challenges. Many times, you’ll be exhausted. Sometimes, you’ll not be able to deliver your hundred per cent.
  • You’ll need to compartmentalize: Your fulltime job and your freelance gig, both should hold equal importance to you. It’s impossible without compartmentalizing your priorities. If you don’t, the stress of one can spill over the other.
  • When freelancing, time turns from money into a treasure: Do you like dilly-dallying?  If you do, it’s time to put a firm leash on that horse. Wasting time is a luxury you won’t have anymore. Each and every second holds value. You’ll be scrounging through your day for that extra hour of deadline. Things can turn ugly if you aren’t careful.
  • It can get lonely: Freelancing means that you can handle more than put on the table. And clients expect you to handle it all on your own. You can bring in extra hands, but you won’t. It’s a reflex of every two-ship sailer. You can become a bit too independent to ask for help. 

These harsh points aren’t meant to discourage you, they are to tell you some simple truths. Working in two places requires a lot from you. If you can’t pursue it, there is nothing wrong with that. 

But if you still want to – knowing what it takes, there are some tips that you have to follow.

TIP 1: MANAGE YOUR TIME

Okay, I admit that my first tip is the most obvious. It’s also the most important. Manage your time in a way that you can focus while you freelance. The schedule should be 2 hours in the morning, 1 and a half hours at night. 

My day starts at 4: 30 am. By 6:30 am, I start working. I work freelance till 8:30 and then leave for my 10 to 6:30. Coming back at about 7:30, I give half-hour to family and dinner. At 8, I start working again. Then, I stop at 9:30. I can now focus on some me-time.   

I crash to bed at 10:30, satisfied and happy. 

I cover everything during this schedule. My family time, my social time and my fun-time (I am an avid gamer). 

On Sundays and for many of you, Saturdays and Sundays, time management should be equally important. While you need to work, remember that these are holidays. Therefore, you need to give your best in a way that you can enjoy the rest of the day. 

TIP 2: AVOID BEING GREEDY

Freelancing is a path of greed. Often, projects will come with an unreasonable deadline. The smell of reward can enchant you into accepting them. Soon, you’ll end up two-timing at your full-time job – sneaking in a few minutes to freelancing. 

Don’t! It’s unethical and will put your career on a destructive path.

Avoid trying to take every project. Trying to take up every opportunity will make short work of your freelancing and full-time career. 

TIP 3: DON’T SPOIL YOUR CLIENTS

Your initial days with that freelancing project is like being in a new relationship. The thrill, the constant yearn to impress – it’s great. You’ll soon complete a lot of projects in a short time like a Rockstar. Continue to do so and you’ll spoil your clients. 

Soon, they’ll make it a habit to ask too much of you. And then, there will come a time where you’ll find yourself unable to deliver. 

Don’t let it happen. Keep a normal pace when you deliver the projects. You can keep an exceptional pace when you embrace freelancing for fulltime

TIP 4: MEDITATE TO RELIEVE STRESS

Stress is common when you’re working two jobs. Your mind will often struggle to find a peaceful centre.  In this case, you need a meditation regimen to relieve your brain off all the unwanted junk. 

There are 3 stress tacklers that I have started following. You can do the same if you wish. 

Don’t think of this as just another step. Without management, your stress will make a buffet out of your professional and personal life. 

TIP 5: BE HONEST TO YOUR CLIENTS

As a full-timer, it is necessary, to be honest with your clients. Tell them from the very start that you have a fulltime job. If you are a good enough professional, clients will understand – giving you timely projects.

Honesty is necessary if you want to control the amount of work coming in. 

TIP 6: TAKE A LONG TIME OFF TO TRAIN

Many times, there is a steady flow of projects for you to handle. Some of them might require a level of skill that you don’t have yet. When that happens, you should realize that it’s time to up your game. 

Stop with the freelance projects and take time off to train yourself and level up. 

Make a return as a highly trained professional and dazzle your clients. 

TIP 7: ENJOY THE FREE TIME

There’ll be times known as dry-spell, where you will not have a gig. If you’ve worked a lot on a lot of projects by this point, you should enjoy this free time. Cherish this time. Focus your attention on your loved ones. 

Freelancing a path to professional growth, not a personal one. The time you spend with your friends and family is the time you should not deny to focus on freelancing. 

Arm yourselves with these tips, and see the two boats you are sailing on transform into one well-balanced ship. 

THE FINAL POINT TO REMEMBER

Freelancing is an attitude that every millennial professional has. To exercise this attitude, you need a combination of integrity, self-discipline and a will to go that extra mile. 

Do it right and what you learn as a freelancer will flow into your full-time profession and vice-versa. It’ll make you a high-quality professional that people seek out.  

Do it wrong and your professional story will not be different from Titanic, well, except this time no one will remember you. 

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