Being your own boss and running your business according to your terms is a definite perk of being a freelancer. But when you’re a business of one who’s doing everything by herself, it won’t take long before you experience burnout. If you haven’t experienced it yet, it’s probably only a matter of time. Burnout is something that happens to most freelancers. There are a few key ways to manage it so it doesn’t overrun your life.
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What Is Freelance Burnout?
Freelance burnout is what happens when you just don’t have it in you to complete another project for anyone, even your best clients. You’re just plain tired of being a freelancer and doing it all. You procrastinate to the point where every project becomes an emergency project or even delivered late. Your passion and enthusiasm for your career and business has simply evaporated.
What Causes Freelance Burnout?
Freelance burnout is caused by a number of possible events or factors.
1. You’re in the wrong niche/industry. Sometimes we dive into a niche because it’s the easiest even though it’s not what we’re passionate about. Let’s face it: we all have to make money. So perhaps that promise of riches had you jumping in before you really thought it through. If you don’t have an undying passion for that niche, then burnout is a very real possibility.
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2. You’re working too hard. You are living and breathing work — probably to the point where friends and family don’t remember what you look like anymore. Working every day, seven days a week and eight to ten hours a day is too much. Even if you’re in love with your biz, you need to take regular breaks.
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3. You’re bored. For a while, when my freelance transcript proofreading biz was booming, all I did was proofread and proofread and proofread. I was starting to get cross-eyed and even felt my brain turning to mush. I was starting to get bored from it all. Many freelancers end up doing the same type of project over and over again. If you’re in a creative field, this may be stunting your creativity. It may be time to try something new.
I’m Burnt Out, Now What?
If you’re suffering from burnout, try to identify why it’s happening. Are you bored? Working too hard? In the wrong field? Take some time to look within yourself for the answers. It’s not going to go away until you know what’s causing it.
If you’re bored, find something that excites you. Look for a creative outlet. It can be something related to your business or entirely separate. You can create a new report, video or eBook to promote your business. Take up photography as a new hobby or write a fiction book. Make time to keep your creative side happy.
If you’re working too hard, the solution is both simple and complicated. The simple solution is to stop working so hard.
But you still have obligations — both financial and to your customers, look for ways to lessen your workload. Can you outsource some of the tasks that take up your time? Do you have room in your budget to weed out the smaller, lesser-paying clients, and focus on the bigger clients and projects?
If you’re in the wrong niche or industry, then it’s time to make a transition. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Begin planning how you will make this transition. If it doesn’t require a whole new set of education, you can even start seeking clients in your desired niche or industry right now.
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As you begin to get more clients in your desired niche, you can begin to outsource the other projects or simply turn away new customers. It won’t take long to find clients in your new niche. When I began to focus on my blogging business, I started turning down work for my proofreading business.
The biggest piece of advice is that if you’re suffering from burnout, take a look at what’s causing it in order to find the solutions to overcome it and love your business again.
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