How to Make Time for Your Freelance Writing Business
Stop Postponing Your Dreams
It’s been a long day at work. Long commute. Now you need to figure out what to eat for dinner.
Oh wait, weren’t you supposed to do something else?
That’s right — your side hustle.
But you’re so tired. And the TV and couch are singing soft serenades to you.
I’ll work on my side hustle tomorrow. What’s another day?
Until “one day,” postponed becomes a week, becomes a month, becomes years. And then you’re old and gray, and you’re wondering why your freelance business never took off.
Okay, maybe that’s exaggerating, but you get my point.
If you keep postponing your side hustle, guess what? That side hustle will never grow into a booming business with a full-time income.
It’s not enough to just hone your craft. You need to apply it with some business savvy. And increasing your business savvy can be as simple as just showing up… everyday. Even when you’re tired.
So if you’re ready to give your couch and TV the cold shoulder, I can help you. Here are 5 strategies for building a side hustle while balancing your day job.
#1 Make the Commitment
It might be helpful to treat your side hustle like a part-time job.
There are some advantages to having a boss. The biggest pro? You get paid to show up.
And showing up is half the battle. It really is.
When your boss expects you to be somewhere at a specific time, what do you do? You schedule it into your calendar. If you don’t show up, guess what? You’re fired.
When you’re doing freelance work, it’s revert to your high school habits: procrastinating and then cramming everything the night before a client deadline.
You might get by once or twice. But if you ever expect to quit your day job and pursue freelancing full-time, you’ll need to destroy this habit.
Freelancing is your second job. You set your hours. Show up. Do the work.
#2 Get Your Entire Life on a Calendar
I don’t have any free time!
I’m willing to bet that you do. At least 30–60 minutes every day, actually. And here’s how I’m going to help you find it.
I want you to think about last week. Now I want you to record everything you did on a calendar. And I mean EVERYTHING: eat, sleep, work, study, exercise, errands. I recommend using Google Calendar because it’s free (who doesn’t like free?), and you get to play with colors.
Here’s an example I made for the average college student (I made some time blocks longer than usual to account for commuting).
#3 Slay Your Time-Sucking Vampires
Vampires suck your blood and if they’re nice, they’ll let you go. Time vampires suck your time, but they’re not so nice and your freelance business suffers.
Identify your time vampires and eliminate them before they sabotage your business. Here are some time vampires lurking in your daily life:
Are you spending too much time? Set up as social media blocker on your laptop or phone. Even better, do what I did. I keep my phone off until noon.
Watching too much TV? It’s easy to get sucked into a solo Netflix binge-fest. To reduce your watch time, try watching only during your lunch and dinners.
Are you wasting time in your inbox? I used to check my inbox twenty times a day. Stop doing this by setting up “email hours.” I only check my inbox and respond to emails from 9:30 to 10 and from 1:00 to 1:30.
If you’re gossiping, do your best to stop. It’s rarely ever productive. Reduce the time you spend with your gossip-mongering friends.
#4 Create More Time
If you still can’t find pockets of free time, what do you do?
If you’re that busy, first, I want you to consider whether this is a good time to start working on your freelance business. One scenario might be that you have a newborn, you’re working 60-hour work-weeks, and your health is suffering.
If this is your life, right now might not be the best time to start your freelance writing business.
With that said, you’ll need to understand the fine line between being realistic with your available time and procrastinating.
But if you think it’s realistic and want to carve out more time for your side hustle, you have to think of what you’re willing to sacrifice.
For me, it was a social life (and some sleep). I didn’t grab drinks with friends because I was busy with work, school, and now writing. I was willing to sacrifice my social life (temporarily) to incorporate more freedom into my life with my freelance business.
Of course, the easiest way to create more time is to wake up earlier or sleep later.
Another tip is to outsource some of your personal life. Maybe you get to skip trips to the grocery stores by spending extra to get them delivered. Or hire a babysitter.
#5 Dedicate Time Blocks To Your Side Business
Okay, do you see those gaps in your schedule? I want you to make a time block and label it for now, FREE TIME. And make it a different color (if you’re using Google Calendar) or highlight it in a different color.
There you go. You’ve identified your free time.
When you’re working on your freelance writing business, list out all the tasks you need to accomplish. Here’s a list of some tasks that might be sitting on your list:
- Cold email ten prospective clients
- Write copy for freelance writer website
- Optimize social media profiles
- Create lead magnet for email list
- Craft an author byline for guest posts
- Brainstorm headlines to pitch publications
Look at your calendar and assign a task to each calendar block.
This is important because you’re being intentional about how you’re spending your time. Since you thought out your schedule in advance, you don’t need to worry about fitting it into your day. You simply need to follow your preset agenda.
Stop Postponing Your Dreams
Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow. ~ Steven Pressfield
It’s time to make your freelance writing business a priority.
It will never become a reality until you work to make it happen.
And so, I challenge you.
Practice the following steps and schedule your calendar for the next five days. Don’t leave your results to chance.
You are an active agent in how your freelance business (and life) unfold.
This article was originally published by Dan marticio on medium.
Dan is a freelance writer specializing in small business and personal finance. He works with FinTech and B2B companies and has written extensively about small business, from startup guides to payment processor reviews. Hire him to write for YOU at danmarticio.com.