We have to keep an eye on all the balls in our juggling act, lest we miss catching one. Each ball we juggle carries the same importance as the next, and if we drop any, the whole act crashes down around us.
Let me toss one more ball into the juggling act: Finding the balance between operating your business and growing it.
Nose to the Grindstone
One of the reasons people start a freelancing business is to make money. That’s probably why you began working for yourself – to earn a decent living doing what you love. You most likely began your business the same way as many other freelancers did – with almost nothing but a whole bunch of hopes.
Hopes don’t put money in the bank, so you set your nose to the grindstone to work hard, putting all your energy and efforts into finding work, clients and cash. You worked hard, too, to build up a stream of income and customers.
While you’re working, though, are you growing your business?
Passive income is key for freelancers and small businesses. Whether you earn passive income through affiliate commissions or by selling your own revenue-generating assets doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is making money that you don’t have to work hard to receive. Passive income supplies money while you’re off doing other things – working on client projects, building new income streams, or taking some well-deserved rest.
Work to create a product or income stream once, market it properly, and get it out there for people to see. Then let that passive income opportunity go to work for you.
Well, that’s the concept, anyways. It’s easy to know what you have to do. It’s tougher to find ways to get it done, especially when you have your nose to the grindstone earning money you need.
Caught in the Loop
Most freelancers don’t have a lot of spare time. It’s easy to get overloaded with work and all the little things you need to do. It’s also easy to get caught in working on big, ambitious plans that are going to take a long time to read.
Client work generally comes first, too. There are deadlines to meet. Those personal projects? Well, they’ll have to wait. It becomes habit to postpone production of your personal projects and money-earners in favor of the immediate cash clients provide.
Before you know it, you’ve postponed yourself right out of an opportunity to work less and make money. It’s a vicious cycle – you work hard for others to make money, and you put off working hard for yourself to make money.
Derail the train wreck. Break the cycle. Put your personal projects on top priority and get them done. Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:
- Schedule your project as if it were a client project. Give it a realistic deadline and go through the same process you would as if the work were for a paying customer. After all, your projects are just as important as anyone else’s.
- Leverage opportunities to outsource. There’s nothing wrong with creating an outline for an ebook or writing down specs for a custom design and hiring someone else to work on it for you while you work on client gigs. Alternatively, collaborate with another writer or designer in a joint venture and create a win-win situation for everyone involved.
- Don’t shove your project aside for new clients. Remember, you scheduled your own project in and made yourself your own customer. Say yes to new clients, but schedule them in the remaining space you have on your calendar. Book for the future, too. Schedule client work for the coming weeks instead of saying you’ll do it immediately. You’ll feel better knowing you’re booked ahead and will have money coming in.
Don’t Go Passive; Grow Instead
Passive income isn’t the only thing that helps your business grow, improve and expand. A major part a healthy, thriving business involves staying on top of technology, learning new skills, updating the ones you have, reading instructional books and taking classes or attending seminars.
Use the same techniques listed above to accomplish the goals you want and need to reach. Proper planning and scheduling is almost all it takes to free some time to better your situation and your business.
The most important client you will ever have is you. Make yourself as much of a priority as you would anyone else.
If you liked these tips, then you’ll definitely love “The Unlimited Freelancer, a brand new book coming to you this January. Learn savvy tricks and fast tips on how to work less, earn more money, and rock the hell out of your freelance business.
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