The life of the self-employed

I have been freelancing since I came back from my big trip . When you are self-employed, staying busy and working doesn’t always mean that you are working on a gig. The line between work and life outside of it becomes blurry when you are doing it all by yourself. From figuring out Obama care and lining up your health insurance to browsing the web and reading about a new company looking to expand their brand, it’s all work.

Being self-employed is wonderful but it doesn’t mean that you work fewer hours. “Work smart and work less” doesn’t necessarily apply to me yet. I am still growing my name and my business and since I am one of those lucky (and delusional) people that believe that work is play, I’m not even sure my goal is to scale down on working hours.

When I’m not working on an all-consuming project, I spend around 20 hours per week looking for new opportunities and bidding on projects. My goal is to have 10 hours of billable work every week and use the remaining 10 to work on content that is fun and will eventually lead to paid work. As long as I can pay my bills, I’m happy with that breakdown of a 40 hour work week.

The formula above keeps me interested and flexible. I go for a walk around the lake anytime I want and I always find a way to make time for a trip.  I see life music shows or go to the movie theater on a weekly basis because experiences contribute positively towards my creative stamina.

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There is always room for growth. I’d like to cut my bidding hours in half (from 20 to 10), and turn half that time into billable hours. My ideal work week would look like this:

10 hours of bidding + 15 hours of billable work + 10 hours of “seed work” + 5 hours of experimental work = Fabulous work week

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The breakdown above is the epitome of a balanced independent work life for me. My secret is to be proactive and open to new opportunities. Right now for example, I’m off to take a call for a part-time gig as a transcriber.

Do you ever think about what a balanced work week looks like for you?

PS: Signature photo by Connor Radnovich / The Chronicle and photo above by Danny Ortega.

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