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5 Tips For Balancing a Full-Time Job and Freelance Life

5 Tips For Balancing a Full-Time Job and Freelance Life

Freelancing is becoming more and more popular, both in terms of being the employer and being the employee. More people are opting to freelance (whether that be in place of or in addition to their full-time job), and more companies are hiring freelance workers for specific projects, a specific time period, or to ease their overhead costs.

I cannot encourage you enough if you are a twenty-something to break into the world of freelancing. It is something that I wish I had done earlier, even from my college years.

But, I am not one to speak about entirely giving up your full-time gig and solely freelancing. I currently do both and have for the past four years. Why? Well, there are certain things (such as healthcare) that I love the stability of having from a full-time job. Plus, the money I make freelance is an extra added bonus that helps me not feel guilty about buying that extra pair of shoes or going on that vacation.

Having a full-time job and freelance obligations can be overwhelming at times, especially if you are not the best at time management. However, it is totally possible. Everyone’s work ethic is different, but here are some of my personal tips and tricks to help you balance both.

5 Tips For Balancing a Full-Time Job and Freelance Life

1. Do work whenever you can.

If you get a spare hour that was unexpected, take advantage of it by getting freelance work done.

Does your office have summer Fridays? Use that extra couple of hours to get your freelance work done (and if you finish early, of course meet your friends for happy hour!).

Having a late start at work? Get up the same time as usual and use that extra time to work. You should use your free time to enjoy too, but do not simply push your freelance commitments to the side.

Unexpected free time is some of the best times to get work done, especially as it means that it frees up other times, such as weekends.

2. Utilize off-work times. 

This means weekends, days off from work (such as bank holidays), evenings, nighttime, and early mornings. Figure out what works best with your schedule and with your body and plan for that.

If you are a morning person, get up a little earlier and get some work done. If late night works better for you, stay up a bit later.

Don’t want to do more work during the week? Block out some time on the weekends to get it done. Figure out a schedule of sorts, and try to stay to it as much as you can.

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3. Use your lunch break. 

We all need a break during the day and I am not saying to take that away from you. But as more and more workers have begun working through their lunch, use this break to catch up on your freelance work (of course, if it is allowed — be sure to check first that your boss or supervisor does not mind).

If you are staying at your desk for lunch, use this time to do your freelance work rather than online shop or scroll aimlessly through social media.

4. Never leave things for the last minute. 

Unless it is entirely unavoidable due to other conflicts, never leave a project for the last minute. You do not want to risk missing a deadline, especially in terms of freelance work.

Many times in freelance, the contracts signed are not as formal as being required to give two weeks notice before it is terminated. You do not want to miss deadlines and risk the chance of being fired.

Additionally, you do not want to leave your freelance work to the last minute and have something happen at your full-time job that hinders your ability to get to your freelance work. It’s too risky!

5. Do not take on more than you can handle. 

The beauty of freelancing is that you are not limited to all of the things you can do. Having this influx of extra money can be extremely tempting. However, it is very important not to take on more than you can chew.

You do not want to burn yourself out.  Start by taking on one freelance gig in addition to your full-time job. See how this goes. If you find yourself having extra time that you want to fill up, try finding a second gig. Do not immediately get four freelance gigs and then freak out that you do not have the time to get everything done. You can always add more down the line — start slow!

Breaking into the world of freelancing is one of the best things that I have done. It keeps me on my toes, has given me some great experience to add to my portfolio, and has widened my network of people.

At the same time, I am grateful to have my full-time job as well, to provide me with a bit more stability than I would get by just freelancing. If you are looking to do the same, go for it! Follow some of the tips above, which I have found helpful, and you should do just fine.

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.