How to Be Your Own Best Boss as a Freelancer

Give up on perfectionism 

No matter how many of those "Things I Wish I Knew Before I Went Freelance" posts you read, you are going to encounter your own mistakes. Seriously  every freelancer has made a bonehead comment to a lead and has lost a proposal. The important thing is to just make sure you don't do it again. You'll run into scenarios where client projects fall through last minute and you are without work for 2 weeks. These things happen. You'll have to be real with yourself and give up on the fact that you can't completely avoid these situations. 

Don't run yourself into the ground

Don't take on more than you can handle. The whole point of freelancing is to have freedom, right? When you take on more than you can handle, you are at the mercy of your clients. Learning to say no is an important skill you'll learn over time when you start to recognize a typical size load of work you can take on at once. Maybe that's 4 projects, maybe it's only 2. You decide what you can afford time-wise (and financially). I like being under pressure with timelines for my work, but not constant pressure. 

Maintain a proper work area

My apartment is pretty tiny, which means I only have a small work area with a desk, printer, file organizers and my laptop. Even though it's small, I'm making a more conscious effort to spoil myself when it comes to my workspace. After all, I spend more of my day in that one spot  it's the least I could do to make it look nice and tidy. It helps me to feel a little bit more motivated than normal. 

Be organized

As your own boss now, you have to carefully manage things that you didn't have to worry about at your 9-5. You have to calculate expenses, forecast income, track time, create invoices and respond to new business. These tasks can eat up a ton of your time, but at least do the bare minimum to help keep your sanity and your bank account in check. 

Stop comparing yourself to other freelancers

There's nothing wrong with learning from others, but constantly comparing yourself to how someone else runs their freelance business can be harmful. The way they operate may not be a good fit for how you like to work. There will always be other people who are more "successful" than you, but learn to compare yourself to yourself. Track your own improvement and if you are happy with it, that's really all that matters.