Here are seventy-one ways to love your freelance business that I could think of in an hour. I am sure there are many more, so feel free to add your own in the comments below.

  1. Decide what you want out of your freelancing adventure early – and check in with that on a regular basis
  2. Never sell out your health or mental health for financial reasons. And look after them if they need it
  3. Keep your values true to your heart
  4. Say no to overwork. Choose the hours you work and stick to them wherever possible
  5. Compensate yourself well for taking the risks inherent with freelancing
  6. Find a freelance community you can count on to share your freelance stories with
  7. Design your own version of success. Don’t adopt someone else’s vision of what successful business looks like
  8. Understand where your ethical and moral boundaries lie
  9. Accept that there will be days or even weeks you don’t love what you do. But make sure they are not the lion share of the days and weeks you work
  10. Use it as an exploration of the ideas and ideas that matter to you
  11. Never accept anyone as a freelance friend who makes you feel like their personal renovation project
  12. Always remember that accountability creates equality with your clients, collaborators and contractors
  13. Use the workplace flexibility you have gained to your advantage
  14. Be the example of a working parent you want your children to adopt with their own kids
  15. Automate stuff that takes your headspace, time and energy away from client management, creating work and working to your strengths
  16. Don’t be so caught up in saving money you forget to invest in yourself and your business
  17. Save money for the rainy days
  18. Find things that make you feel curious and spend time doing them
  19. Create marketing for your business that interests you. If you’re bored by your marketing, chances are you clients are, too
  20. Remember there is a big fat difference between being in service to your clients and being in servitude to them
  21. Recognise there is more to life than your freelance business
  22. Choose goals that not only grow your business but grow you as a person and creative, too
  23. Be OK with walking away from clients and projects that aren’t adding value to your life
  24. Respect there is a season for all things. Have the grace to move on from clients, products, services and even freelancing if you no longer feel connected to the work
  25. Experiment and learn by doing on a regular basis
  26. Don’t compare what you are doing with someone else’s (far more established) journey
  27. If you feel the need to bitch, stop. It’s only going to make you grumpier and more than a little paranoid about what others can be saying about you
  28. Accept that you are often 501 in a client’s list of 500 things to do – and proactively move yourself up their list of priorities
  29. That rejection? It is not personal. Ever. Even if it sounds like it is
  30. What we do is subjective. That declined quote, that bad feedback, and that mismatched working relationship etc is often influenced by things you have little or no control over
  31. It’s OK to say sorry on occasion. Even if technically, it’s not your fault
  32. Freelance hype is a lot like religion. What we believe and how much we invest in it is a deeply personal choice that shouldn’t be forced on another person
  33. Telling people blogging, creativity, social media or freelance is dead doesn’t make it so
  34. You have to know how much it costs YOU to sit in that chair to make your freelancing financially viable
  35. Make time for creativity outside of your freelance business on a regular basis
  36. To thrive, we all need two hobbies (at least) outside our financially driven creative work – one for exercise and one for creative practice
  37. It helps to learn to emotionally detach from the work, client and feedback
  38. Any new thing you try with your freelance business has a risk. You need to decide whether you can cope with the consequences of that risk not landing the way you wanted
  39. We learn as much from our fails and our fuck ups as we do our successes
  40. Nobody wants “I was great at invoicing” or “Everyone loved me for my referrals” written on your tombstone
  41. Leave the time wasting, people-pleasing mistakes of your past working life behind
  42. Don’t let someone else’s inability to pay their bills dictate the terms on your freelance business or your lifestyle
  43. No matter how crap things look, remember it doesn’t influence everything and it won’t be permanent
  44. Learn the difference between helping your clients and convincing yourself they can’t do without you
  45. Take time away from your freelance business at regular intervals
  46. The only prize you get for working every day of the year is a big pile of burn out
  47. Productivity isn’t forged in a fire of submission to time at the desk. It’s created by making sure your brain has enough rest, stimulation and invigoration for the tasks at hand
  48. Admire the DONE list as much as the TO DO list
  49. Give yourself the time, space and support to try things outside your comfort zone
  50. Make continuous learning your friend
  51. Look for the opportunity to learn things that excite you even if they don’t look like direct money-spinners at the outset
  52. If another freelancer’s social media is overwhelming you, it’s OK to limit your exposure temporarily – or even permanently
  53. Listen to the internal warning bells – but triple check them against your mood and other influences, too
  54. Accept that you won’t always be the fastest, smartest or most experience freelancer for the job. But know the qualities that you possess that make you the right person for the project
  55. Lower the project scope instead of lowering your rate. That way, you won’t resent the client or the project if things go south
  56. Be as playful as you need to be to make this work
  57. Freelancing has a lot of challenging aspects that traditional employment does not. It’s OK to compensate yourself with time, money and opportunities that make up for this fact
  58. Never try to monetise the part of your creativity that protects your mental health
  59. Establish a routine – but shake it up on occasion
  60. Forgive friends and family members who don’t understand or underrate your freelance business. They haven’t got the drive, bravery and/or curiosity that you enjoy
  61. Don’t be afraid to pay for accounting software. It’s cheaper than paying more tax or for mistakes later
  62. Be brave enough to go after the clients you really admire
  63. Instead of expecting clients to treat you a certain way, set up your processes so they do
  64. Never assume. Always check and recheck the information at hand
  65. Choose to study, learn and play with techniques, software and ideas as part of your time spent working well on your freelance business
  66. Invest the profit you make in your freelance business. Don’t subsidise your spending
  67. Set yourself three monthly goals and targets to help keep yourself motivated and on track
  68. Let the clients and freelancers who treat you with respect know you appreciate them on a regular basis
  69. Give yourself the gift of a stress-free retirement by making super contributions and sound financial choices now
  70. Follow your heart but take your brain with you.

Got your own freelance business love mantra or inspirational point? Share it on the comments below.   

The Freelance Jungle has a Facebook community, virtual catch-ups for stress reduction and networking, and a commitment to education via podcasts, blogs, and online learning.



Mailing Address:
The Freelance Jungle
PO Box 68
NSW 2528