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5 Ways To Make Life Easier As A Freelancer Or Contractor

Posted on June 19, 2024

The glorious freelance life. The freedom, the flexibility, and the…headaches. Being your own boss undoubtedly has its perks, but it also packs a punch of challenges. Dealing with clients, juggling deadlines, thinking long-term — being a freelancer or contractor can sometimes make you feel like you’re busy running up a hill.

But fear not, freelance warrior! Today we’re checking out 5 simple ways to make that uphill run a tad bit smoother, with our handy tips for freelancers and contractors.

1. Leverage Tools To Enhance Your Efficiency

As a freelancer or contractor, your tools go far beyond your own set of skills and expertise. Living in the digital age presents the opportunity to use software to facilitate and optimise almost every aspect of your work routine. 

Here are some essential tools that can make your life as a freelancer a whole lot easier.

PDF Conversion Tools

Need to convert to PDF in a pinch? Thankfully, you can convert files from a wide range of formats in just a few clicks using online PDF tools like Adobe Acrobat. Whether you’re sharing contracts, proposals or resumes – conversion tools keep things looking good and professional on any platform.


Have you ever felt embarrassed after sending an email or project, only to find several typos and grammatical mistakes? It’s not a good look. Meet Grammarly, your personal grammar coach and virtual proofreader. This app not only helps you correct spelling and grammar errors but also offers suggestions on how to make your writing clearer and more concise. From client email communications to creative copy, Grammarly will keep your writing perfect. 

Invoicing Software

Invoicing — the bane of every freelancer’s existence, but a necessary evil if you want to get paid! Thankfully, there are tons of invoicing software options to help make the process less painful. With drag-and-drop templates, apps like QuickBooks can help you create professional-looking invoices to send straight to clients. Invoicing tools also come with countless useful features, such as automatic payment reminder emails and easy expense tracking, so you don’t have to stress about staying on top of your money.

Accounting Software

Another tedious task that you can tick off your list of freelancing headaches is accounting. Accounting software, such as Wave or Xero, can help you simplify the financial side of your business to get meaningful insights into your cash flow. Whether you need to keep track of invoices and expenses or generate financial statements, these tools will help you make the best decisions regarding your business finances.

Time Tracking Tools

As a freelancer, tracking your hours is crucial. The last thing you want to do is sell yourself short, or on the flipside, accidentally charge for too many hours. That’s where time-tracking tools like Toggl or Harvest can help out. Make sure you’re billing for the correct number of hours or monitor how you spend your time, with these tools that help you make the most of your hours. 


2. Establish Clear Boundaries

Being your own boss is great — you don’t have to limit yourself to strict work hours, schedules and routines. That’s until you realise your clients are calling at 9 pm when you’re trying to binge-watch the latest Netflix series, or you find yourself answering emails on a Sunday afternoon. Suddenly, the line between work and free time becomes blurred, and before you know it, you're working around the clock and quickly on your way to burnout. Establishing clear boundaries and setting work hours for yourself is imperative.

Set Working Hours

If you’re using freelancing apps and platforms to find your clients, then be sure to define clear working hours in your profile, and make sure your clients are aware of them. This will help you avoid the frustration of receiving work-related calls or emails during your personal time, and help you regain control over your schedule.

Stick To Them

It can be easy to justify breaking the rules once or twice, especially when a big opportunity arises or you need to be there for a client during an emergency. But do your best to stick to the boundaries you set for yourself. Naturally, there will be exceptions when peak seasons occur, or your clients live in different time zones than you. In those instances, inform them you are deviating from the norm so they understand you are going out of your way to help.

These parameters allow for a more balanced life with reduced stress. Remember — being your own boss doesn’t mean you need to be accessible 24/7. 


3. Invest In Continuous Learning & Development

In the fast-paced world of freelancing and contracting, one of the best ways to ensure your long-term success is to ensure your continued relevance. That means regularly investing in your professional development. Whether it’s attending workshops, following online courses and blogs to boost your business or branding, or joining industry associations, the golden rule is to never stop learning.

First and foremost, continuous education is what keeps you abreast of your competition. It sets you apart from the thousands of other freelancers out there. Secondly, it opens you up to a world of new career opportunities and enables you to tackle more challenging projects and command higher rates.

In the long run, investments in professional growth will also provide you with more confidence and credibility as a freelancer or contractor. Clients are more likely to trust individuals who display a high level of competence in self-education.


4. Diversify Your Income Streams

As you probably already know, fluctuations in income are common for many contractors. One month the projects are pouring in and you’re flying high, the next month things get worryingly slow.

Diversifying your income streams can help stabilise your earnings and provide a buffer during quiet periods. For instance, you might offer additional services related to your main field of expertise. Writers could offer proofreading or consulting services, for example. On top of having varied income sources, multiple services mean you are targeting a more diverse field of clients. 

Another idea is looking into passive income opportunities. You could sell online classes and e-books, or even explore the world of affiliate marketing. And while these efforts may take some dedicated time and work at the get-go, the benefit is that they provide a steady stream of income with minimal ongoing maintenance. This way you create your financial “web”, and at any time, you can be sure it will catch you, even when you’re swinging on to the next project!


5. Build A Strong Support Network

While freelancing can often feel like a solitary endeavour, especially when you work from home, it doesn’t have to be. Creating a fellow freelancer or contractor support system can provide you with the necessary support and companionship to push through the highs and lows.

So, get out there — join your local co-working space, go to industry events, or join online forums to meet other professionals who share your experience. They can provide advice and encouragement, and you might even find someone to collaborate with.

Don’t forget about the importance of networking with clients too. Strong relationships often lead to repeat business and referrals that help to sustain your freelance career.




And there you have it — everything you need to know to make your life easier as a freelancer or contractor. No doubt, working this independently is not a walk in the park. But by implementing some of these “work smarter, not harder” strategies, you’ll be well on your way to building a more lucrative and balanced career.

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