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Mastering the Art of Being a Freelancer

As a new freelancer, you may feel daunted by the idea of competing against corporations as an individual. This article provides tips to help you master the art of being a freelancer.
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23 Mar 2023
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The Growing GIG economy
According to an article by Upwork, freelancing has contributed 1.3 trillion to the US economy in annual earnings, 100 million more than in 2020. In Singapore, freelancers number around 211,000 according to figures released by MOM in 2019, making up 10% of employed residents. Whenever the GIG economy is discussed, all people tend to think about are private hire drivers and food delivery. Contrary to popular belief, freelancing exists globally in every industry. Reasons for individuals to choose to freelance over conventional corporate work can be attributed to wanting to avoid office politics, costs incurred from travelling to work as well as other savings. New freelancers tend to often feel daunted by the idea of competing against corporations as an individual. In order to succeed, time management is an essential skill to have. This article will help to provide some tips we found to help you master the art of being a freelancer.


Finding the Right Workplace
Having a comfortable workplace to work in is one of the first steps to ensuring maximum productivity. It should be a place with minimal distractions, while also being comfortable enough that you don’t dread going to every day. Feeling good about where you do your work leads to better work done.


Prioritising the Right Tasks
Ensuring that you have a proper list of the tasks you have to do that are organised by due dates is a good practice to have. This will help you to stay on track and focus on the tasks that are the most urgent. It might be hard to follow and keep track of your schedule initially, but practice makes perfect. Use tools like Asana or Todoist to help you stay on top of your projects and milestones.


Breaking Down the Tasks
After you have settled the big picture in the tip above, it's time to dive down into the specifics. Each task might look monumental when looking at it as a whole, but once you break them down into bite-sized pieces, you will find it much easier to get started and progress.


Planning for the Unexpected
Always make sure you have more time than you need for tasks. Murphy’s Law - “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. There will always be days when you could fall sick or have personal troubles, so having more time as a buffer ensures that you won’t end up delivering tasks late and disappointing clients.


Avoiding Distractions
As a freelancer, you have the freedom to use your time as you see fit. This can be a blessing or a temptation, as it is easy to get sidetracked by leisure activities. Going back to the first tip, having a distraction-free workplace is one of the ways to help with this. But at the end of the day, having the discipline to remain on task is something that needs to be trained. Separating “work spaces or time” and “leisure spaces or time” ensures that you work hard and play hard, rather than doing neither.


Finding Your Most Productive State
Some people do their best work at 3am, while others do it at 3pm. Everyone is different, so make sure that you find out when you’re most productive and build your schedule around that.


As a  freelancer, you have the autonomy to decide when to complete your work. However, it's important to remember that your reputation and potential earnings depend on your ability to manage your time effectively. Poor time management can lead to a decrease in the number of projects you receive. On the other hand, strong time management skills can enhance your reputation and increase your income. At Young NTUC, we are here to be the voice of youths. The Freelancers and Self-Employed Unit (UFSE) represents freelancers and self-employed persons (SEPs) in Singapore. Join the NTUC membership to see how you can be a part of this group and gain access to strength in numbers in the coming 2023. 


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