Freelancing While Working Full-time: 4 Tips to Make it Easier

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Whether you're just starting out or been freelancing/working on your business for a while and now looking to grow, it's still hard to balance your job and your business.

Maybe your business doesn't pay all the bills yet, or maybe you just need some extra cash for your baby/holidays/wedding/car, or maybe you still enjoy the job and don't wanna leave it completely (for now).

You're still juggling two jobs, and it's not easy sometimes.

Here are 4 tips on how to do it as happily as possible and without burning out:

1. Find out what works best for you - mornings or evenings?

When I first decided I was going to freelance, I said to myself: "Every evening after work, you're going to sit down behind the computer and do some work. Doesn't matter if you're tired, you want to build your business, don't you? So sit down and do it!"

And it didn't work at all.

I'm not a fan of tough love and when I started to treat myself that way, well, it didn't work and it also made me feel sh*t.

I'd be coming home in the evening, tired, hungry and needing shower.

After doing all that, it was already quite late and I just wanted to snuggle with my fiancé under the duvet and watch some silly movies and shows.

And that's what I usually did, and all of a sudden I was in a circle of my job-coming home-eating-showering-cuddling-sleeping-my job... and I felt bad and guilty every moment of the day.

Because I didn't like my job, I wasn't progressing with my business, I felt unproductive and I needed money.

Until I realized one small thing (it's usually the tiny details aren't they?): I am a morning person!

I've known this about myself for years, so why didn't I think of it now?

I'd always rather get up early to school with no problems, just one alarm, but then I'd prefer to go to sleep very early, too.

I could never do my homework late nights, I would never go out on school nights, and if I did, I was half-dead the whole next day.

I realized I might be way more productive and happier if I start getting up earlier and get sh*t done before work.

So here's what I'd do:

  • I'd set an alarm for early morning 6 days/week and get up withing 5-10 minutes.

  • After all the necessities (hygiene, coffee) I'd sit down behind my computer and go through a to do list I made the day before. No time wasting! This was all within half an hour of my alarm.

  • I'd turn my notifications (all electronics) off, preferably put headphones or ear plugs in my ears, so I wouldn't get distracted.

  • When it was time to go get ready for work, I'd go and I'd feel much happier, because I got work done and I knew that when I come home, I can just rest and not feel guilty.

  • I usually try to give myself 1 full day off to set boundaries for myself. I feel I need to have a one "sleep in" day with no work and just rest/go for a trip/do something fun and spend time with my loved ones.

My articles, social media posts, blogs and all of the work is of higher quality when written in the morning and I write it much faster, too.

It might work differently for you, though, so if you can't leave your job just yet, try different times of a day and stick to it. It will come!

2. Keep adding on work step by step

If everything you have to do (send cold e-mails, write articles, do research, go to work, go shopping, wash the dishes...) seems overwhelming, well, it's not really going to change.

Disappointing, I know.

I keep realizing: this is how it's going to be always, and more things will come up.

But what works for me is to break down all the tasks I need to do:

  • If I know early morning is my most productive part of the day, I don't worry about anything else, but my writing work. The most difficult and energy-consuming tasks (writing, researching, pitching) I try to get out of the way in the morning.

  • I read somewhere that housework, shopping and all this sort of stuff is very time-consuming, and everybody (business people) should hire someone to do it for them. Hiring a cleaning lady and ordering groceries is for most of us out of budget (at least the ones in the position of juggling a job and trying to build a business), but it is a good idea. If you can't do it, though, leave it either for your 1 full day off or then for the evening (if you're a morning person like me). Life is unpredictable, but if you can, stick to your productive time of the day with work and your less productive times give to the necessary.

  • Set priorities: if an article needs to be done and sent by tomorrow, but you haven't started yet, give all your attention to it. Once you send it, start cold e-mailing again. If I think of all the tasks I have to/want to do, it's very stressful, so I always rather try to break them down and decide which ones are the most important ones and when.

3. Let your 9-5 out of your head

Doesn't matter whether you're working an office 9-5, a part-time in retail or in McDonald's, you need to come home and leave your work behind the door.

I found that there are no excuses here. There are no "buts" or "whatifs", because you're leaving this job.

Sooner or later you're leaving (unless your situation is different - such as keeping 12 hours of week, because you really enjoy working there) and you need to remind this to yourself.

It can be very difficult to deal with rude customers, demanding manager, unfinished projects and stressful deadlines at work and then come home and be all smiley and productive.

But there's no way around this.

Although I'm really not a fan of tough love, you need to be tough on yourself with this, otherwise you'll go crazy.

If you come home stressed, tired and your head is still at work, if you complain all evening, you won't get anything else done.

It's hard, I know this.

But if you really want to leave this job and work for yourself, you need to learn it.

4. Read a book and watch videos

I have found reading books and YouTube videos from fellow freelancers/marketers/business owners incredible useful.

Like with everything, you need to choose which one seems credible, speaks right into your soul and is fun.

Again, reading, researching and watching too much can get overwhelming, so just do it maybe once a day for a couple of minutes. That way it won't get into the way of your other tasks and you're more likely to remember what you just learnt.

I would also suggest to pick only a couple of resources, because following too many (notifications, new YouTube videos, new books and articles) can be stressful and putting too much pressure on you to see and read all of them.

My personal favorites for business building and content marketing writers are Jorden Makelle and Jennifer Goforth Gregory.

Occasionally, I watch Sarah Turner's videos and Alex Cattoni (these two are great for copywriting, business and sometimes social media videos).

Ahrefs videos are amazing for SEO tutorials.

Self-discipline and knowing yourself are the keys

To feel more productive and to actually be able to leave your job and start freelancing full time, know yourself.

What is your most productive time of the day? When can you get most of the stuff done?

And stick to it!

Set alarms, use ear plugs, make yourself a cup of coffee, tell everyone not to bother you and work.

If you try it out and be patient, you'll see how much easier building your business gets.

Good luck!

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