When people talk about freelancing, we like to focus on the fun stuff. Behind our coffee shop workdays, flexible schedules, and creative outlets, however, lies a carefully built framework of planning and discipline.
Take this week’s podcast guest, for instance. Colleen Welsch does a lot, from freelance writing and creating music to influencing on social media and running a freelance writer coaching business. Even more impressive, she handles all of her work in just 10 hours every week.
While she might not be clocking many hours today, Colleen didn’t get where she is by accident. She invested time early on, researching, speaking to successful freelancers, and reading helpful books, before ever starting her freelance career. She sticks to a specific work schedule, Monday through Thursday. She continues to seek the knowledge she needs to grow.
Many creatives, myself included, struggle with parameters. Our way of working doesn’t fit the traditional 9-to-5, so we throw everything associated with it out the window. But in doing so, we cripple ourselves. Without intentional structures to direct us, our lives become disorganized, chaotic, and that close to spinning out of control.
For me, this season of the podcast has shown the power of planning. Our guests have talked about their research, mentors, strategies, schedules, routines, goals, and more—all used to achieve sustainable progress and success.
Seeking this balance of creativity and discipline makes life less hectic. It also gives you the resources, time, and money to pursue the passions and interests you care about most.
As you look for better ways to operate, here are some easy ways to bring order to the chaos.
Whether you’re starting your first freelance business or pursuing a new interest, do it with intention. Invest time in planning beforehand. You will make fewer mistakes and spend less time figuring stuff out on the go. You can then use the time you save to pursue your hobbies, make more money, or simply give yourself the rest you need.
In this week’s episode, Colleen talked about the belief that “everything is figureoutable,” a concept from a book by the same name. It means that you can do anything you set your mind to, as long as you believe in it enough and it doesn’t defy a fact of life or law of nature (such growing wings or resurrecting the dead).
If you believe that it’s not what you want to do, but how you do it that affects your chances of success, your possibilities are endless. In the age of the internet, especially, there are very few things you can’t learn to do.
Pick up a new skill through an online course or from someone in your community. Charge what you’re worth by researching what others are charging or by speaking with a coach.
You can do anything, as long as you believe that you can and you’re willing to put in the work.
Creatives typically aren’t big on numbers. As long as we’re paying the bills and keeping our schedules full, it’s easy to ignore everything else.
Unfortunately, this mindset also makes it easy to miss the opportunities for growth that come your way.
If you want to spend less time at work, for example, you have to know how long it takes to complete certain tasks. You can then allot the right amount of time for each project. With a more accurate schedule, you will have more control over your time.
Take some time each week to track your time, set financial goals, and measure your progress so you can grow and improve.
Freelancing does offer a lot of flexibility. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget that we’re not stuck in the career we chose when we started out.
Even if a certain type of work is your bread and butter, remember that you can explore new interests and opportunities. Even better, you can do it without overloading your schedule or jeopardizing your income.
That’s especially true when you give your work and life more structure. With more control over your time and resources, you have more freedom to try new things. You may find a way to monetize your passions or simply have incredible experiences. Either way, it’s a win-win.
Get the full story here to hear more about Colleen’s freelancing journey, why intentions matter, and the reasons she is most proud of her authenticity.