Saturday, November 27th, 2021

Balancing Your Freelance Career and Your Job

By Guest Blogger on Jul 03 2012 • Filed under Business

Tips for balancing your freelance career with your day job.  (Photo: Lioness65)Sometimes even the most entrepreneurial person has to keep a nine-to-five job as well. If your startup isn’t bringing in enough money to live off of or if your family needs to keep your health insurance, you might have to figure out a way to balance your two careers. Having a freelance career along with a “regular” job can be a great way to have the best of both worlds. Not only does it add to your list of skills, but it also gives you the chance to build your new business without as much worry. Balancing your freelance work with your current job can allow you to chase your entrepreneurial dreams while maintaining your finances and benefits.

1.     Organization Is a Must

The most important tip for balancing your careers is to have your life organized to the tiniest detail. Plan your schedule each week based on what your “regular” work hours are and what you need to have done for your personal business.Mapping out what you will be working on and when will allow you to accomplish all of your work for each job. Playing it by ear does not work out well when you are this busy, so make a specific plan and stick to it.

2.     Ask Yourself If There is a Potential Conflict of Interest

You absolutely do not want to set yourself up to be let go because of your outside business. Make sure that there is no present or potential conflict of interest between your two careers. If there is a possible conflict of interest, you must be honest and up-front with your employer. A few questions you should ask yourself to determine if there is a possible issue are:

a.     Are my services as an entrepreneur the same as what the company offers?

b.     Am I using the same client base as the company?

c.      Will I be using any of my employer’s physical or intellectual assets for my own business?

d.     Do we have the same vendors?

e.     Will I be able to reference my background and experience without over-representing my employer?

3.     Embrace Your Freelance Work, Don’t Hide It

As long as your freelance work does not conflict with your current position, there is no need to hide it. Be proud of your business! You might find out that some of your coworkers also have freelance careers. Perhaps someone in your IT department also works as an IT consultant or one of your company’s graphic designers does some freelance work from home. You can potentially grow your network and connect with people that might help your business in the future.

4.     Reassure Employer’s Doubts

You don’t want your freelance career to interfere with your workload. Some companies may fear that you will not be fully dedicated to your job if you are a part-time entrepreneur. It is up to you to convince them otherwise. Your company may need an explanation as to how you are going to dedicate your freelance endeavors outside of working hours and away from the office. If so, make it very clear that this conflict will absolutely not interfere with your responsibilities for the company. More importantly, just make sure that you are completely on top of your responsibilities at all times. Whether it is fair or not, if your work starts to slip, your boss might blame your business. Don’t let that happen.

5.     Demonstrate Your Drive

Any entrepreneur has to be driven, but if you intend to balance a business and a career, you will have to be even more so. At your job, you will need additional drive to make sure that your work remains exemplary.  With your business, you will need to be especially driven to accomplish everything outside of working hours. In order to successfully balance everything, you have to really want it. If you aren’t motivated, it will be easy to burn out.

6.     Establish Your Personal Time

As a full-time employee and a freelancer, there is very little time for anything extra. However, it is vital to come up with ways to fit in some personal time. Always leave time for family and friends while calculating your work load. Schedule time for fun and time to get personal errands done. If you work around the clock without ever taking a break, you might end up resenting one or both of your careers. Balancing your two careers is important, but balancing your work and home life is too.

Your goal may be to someday leave your job behind and pursue your business full-time. Until that day comes, you are going to have to work extra hard to keep all of the elements of your life running smoothly. It may not be easy to balance a full-time job with running a business, but if you want it badly enough, you can do it.

Erin Palmer works for University Alliance and writes about topics such as project management and human resources.

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