Achieving Work/Life Balance

Tips for Achieving a Work-Life Balance as a Freelancer

Today I’m participating in The B Bar’s Work/Life Balance Post Link Up, and I thought this would be a great post for Freelance Files.

This post is not a “how-to”; I should never write anything about work/life balance. I’ve always struggled to find balance, often letting whatever I do consume my entire life. I’m a workaholic. In this first year of freelancing, I’ve become more aware of why that balance is detrimental to my work. As a result, there are a few areas that I’ve identified as essential to optimizing my time.

Establish Truly Effective Means of Operations & Management: My entire day is not just creating and producing, even though I wish it were. It requires some management and maintenance – emails, finances, project tracking, and marketing (social media and blogging, which I took a step away from for a few months). This side of freelancing can be a time suck. It can take away from my creativity. Each day, my goal is to spend no more than 1 hour with these tasks. I’ve grouped some of them together so that I can more effectively get them done.

Set Your Hours & Stick To Them: For the longest time, I thought I had to work 9 am to 5 pm. However, it was proving extremely ineffective. My best work happens between 11 am – 8 pm. I don’t schedule meetings during this time, and I’ve stopped making plans in the evening during the week. Fridays are an exception; my brain is fried by 5 pm. Instead of working around my schedule, I make my schedule work around my job. This change has probably been the best thing to happen to my clients. I’m truly doing better work. In the mornings, I workout, schedule client meetings, write, maybe answer emails (if I want to tackle them then). I don’t work past 8 pm, and I don’t check email past then. If I do, my next day is sluggish.

Figure Out Your Pricing & Not Overbooking: I’ve always struggled with this realm of running a business. There are a few different points that I consider when I’m figuring out pricing and number of clients.

  • When I purchase something, I like to feel that I got a deal, that I got my money’s worth. I want my clients to feel that way about working with me; the partnership was money well spent.
  • An accessible, beautiful, functional, responsive website should be financially accessible.
  • The work I produce will always be above average, especially in regards to functionality and performance. I realize that most of my clients have no idea how a website works, nor can they tell a difference between a poorly coded website and a good internet site. I’ve personally tried to coach my friends into understanding what a responsive website is and what is not a responsive internet site. I think they are sick of it.

Figuring out how to price my work so that it is accessible but also fair to the quality I provide has been challenging. This element is something that I’ve slowly been fine tuning over the course of 2015, and it means that I’m taking on significantly fewer projects, but it has allowed me to improve the customer service aspect of my business. As you will see in the next few weeks, the shop will be an avenue where people can have beautiful and responsive websites and blogs at a very affordable price.

About six months into full-time freelancing, I listened to these designers talk about the first year of business. The biggest point I took away from it was this:  during your first year of business, you are fine-tuning your own business while at the same time establishing client relationships. Because of this, the work/life balance is very hard to achieve. Hearing this from other freelancers was reassuring – everything is a process, but nothing lasts forever.

I’m so excited to check out what these other bloggers wrote about their work-life balance: The B Bar | 26 and Not Counting | Rae Loves | Sarah Hartley | Carrie Loves | Soak and Simmer | The Not Quite Adult | White Cabana | PreppyPanache | LiskaMonet | Alyssa J Freitas | Rossetto | With Love From Ellie | Cake & Lilies | Feathers and Stripes | Leigh Clair | White Oak Creative | Life Modifier | Perfect Enough for Us | Random Little Faves | Jacque Of All Trades | Business Betties | Girl for Granted | Alicia Tenise | The Yuppie Flies | It’s Droolworthy | Something Good Blog | Elana Lyn | Forth Chicago | Emilie Lima Burke | Manifest Yourself | Fit for a Bride Blog | A Little Leopard | Coral and Cognacs | Little Wild Heart | It’s Julien | Boys and Bombshell | Meg Biram | Victoria McGinley

Freelance Files is a personal series that showcases my insights and experiences of being an independent business owner and freelance web designer. While my business is focused on web design, this series showcases more details in the behind the scenes process. Please share in tagging #freelancefiles on Instagram and Twitter.

  • Meet Lindsay Humes

    Hi! I’m the designer and owner behind White Oak Creative. I partner with creative entrepreneurs, lifestyle publishers and content creators to design the best brand identity to grow their audience and brand. My blog is full of resources on Branding, WordPress, SEO, and more!

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    16 thoughts on “Achieving Work/Life Balance

      1. Lindsay Humes

        With regards to tasks, I do the same thing. Even though I will start at 10, if I’m doing a web build, its the whole day. I don’t think this good, and I need to try to break my tasks down better.

        Reply
    1. Carrie Koehmstedt

      I try to find that balance with pricing my work and not over booking clients, too. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed I think it might be time to raise my rates just to get a breather… but I always hesitate – which defeats the purpose of everything. Thanks for sharing your insights, they’re very helpful!

      Reply
      1. Lindsay Humes

        Pricing is the never-ending struggle. For me, it has come down to what my custom work is worth and how I can provide maybe more affordable options. Coming to terms with the fact that custom work might not be in everyone’s budget is something that I’ve had to realize.

        Reply
    2. Jess Zimlich

      I love everyone’s take on the question so far. There are definite differences when it comes to those who work in corporate and those who are out on their own and it’s interesting to see how everyone does it! p/s I’m super thankful that I have a pretty, mobile-responsive site thanks to you 😉

      Reply
      1. Lindsay Humes

        I couldn’t agree more! I really appreciate the common thread of harmony/contentment, because that’s essentially what we are all looking for! Yay for responsive websites!!!!

        Reply
    3. Kimberly // Manifest Yourself

      I LOVE the information on pricing vs overbooking – it’s such a hard balance. I started doing more private coaching and workshops, and it’s difficult to find that balance and price point that works so you can pay the bills + be effective.

      Reply
      1. Lindsay Humes

        It is definitely a big struggle. I don’t think I would have had the number of clients I had when I first started if I didn’t have those low of prices. Because I had a ton of clients, I learned a ton and improved. Now I’ve gotten to the point (and done the research), where I feel confident in the pricing, but I’ve started to create more affordable options for people who want to work with me.

        Reply
    4. Kira Culotta Semple

      Great insight, Lindsay. Freelancing is very personal, so why not tailor our schedule to work for us, not against us!? Knowing when you work best is the first part of the equation and then like you said, it’s about fine-tuning things. Thanks for sharing!
      x
      Kira

      Reply
    5. Carly

      Figuring out your pricing is such an important part of freelancing. Sometimes I feel like my pricing is too high – when I look at it as an hourly rate, but on a project-by-project basis it feels like a better deal.

      Reply
      1. Lindsay Humes

        Carly – it is definitely a struggle, regardless how successful a person is, I think it is always something that people struggle with. I wouldn’t get too caught up in the hourly rate. The only time I use an hourly is if a client prefers it. I’ve also come up with a regularly hourly and a rushed version.

        Reply
    6. Krystal{Perfect Enough For Us}

      I can relate so much to the ‘first year of business’ sentiment – I’m still in my first year of blogging and my gosh it takes up so much time. I’m finding it even more difficult to balance work, life and blogging but I know it won’t always be like this. I’ve done something similar to you with finding an effective means of operation and management in terms of dividing my time where I need to spend it to avoid getting stuck in the social media time suck! Fantastic post, I loved reading your take on the work/life balance. xo

      Reply
      1. Lindsay Humes

        Thanks, Krystal! The first year of blogging can be really overwhelming – you are learning so much about what to do and trying to write and produce content – kuddos to you for doing it all! I would check out Buffer for social media scheduling. I’ve used it, and it is amazing time saver. I manage all my social media through it. Latergrame for insta!

        Reply
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