Are you a freelancer like I am? What workplace culture do you have? Can you? Deciding to go it alone is a tough decision. But if you’re like me, you’re:
Before I even touch those points (why it’s so hard) let’s look on the flip side of things, shall we?
So, we’ve hopefully already established we’re the same. Next, let’s confer our ‘whys’.
WHY WORK FROM HOME?
A study conducted by Forbes and Global Workplace Analytics talked about telecommuting in 2017, it showed that telecommuting by employees had grown by 115% in 10 years. Imagine how much it’s grown now its 2019.
- Flexibility to choose when you work
As long as it’s on time right? I could start really getting into a writing project at nighttime – yep 11pm, and I’m wide awake. The next morning, however, is a different story.
- Creative control – you have more say in how things are said and done
Unlike in an agency, you’re both writer/designer/programmer and project manager – you have a closer thumb on the pulse, per se, of the project. You can dictate how things will get done as long as it aligns up to the client’s brief. So, how will things get done?
- Personal time
It seems you are able to have more free time. Time you can spend with your loved ones. No more excuses about not having enough time to take the dog out for a walk; Or putting off medical appointments until your next ‘day off’. Working from home doesn’t mean you get a day off but you can juggle things around so you can make appointments that are unrelated to business tasks.
But working from home doesn’t mean work/life balance, in fact, most freelancers have problems not letting work seep into private life. Unlike in traditional corporate jobs where many staff can ‘switch’ off when they clock off, when you’re a freelancer or a solo small business owner, you’re committed to thinking of work 24/7. But the payoff is a big one, you get to keep 100% of profits rather than the watered down salaries of many agency workers AND You can work from wherever you are.
- Your WHY is more than just time and money, it’s about LEGACY. You need to think as an entrepreneur now, not just a worker. You are working for you, your family and your collective dreams.
Workplace Culture at home
As a viral LinkedIn post by Brigette Hyacinth says: “People do not quit companies, they quit toxic work cultures!” But how does this apply to the freelancer? Do you quit your solo endeavour?
Whether you’re a writer like me; a graphic artist; a marketing guru; or some other highly qualified soloist who is ready to share your services directly, there are several ways you can have a culture of your own and improve your own workplace culture.
STRATEGIES FREELANCERS CAN USE TO IMPROVE THEIR OWN WORKPLACE CULTURE:
- Personal Values – Have some values you hold to yourself and your work. Do you always do what you promise to do? Are you willing to help out a fellow freelancer on a project? Do you always make it on time? It’s little things like this that you follow, that show your own attitude and business ethics or feelings towards work. Early on, you need to be clear on your stance towards work and stick to it.
- Time Management – having a stance towards Time Management is a major caveat in your own work culture. You can’t spend half a day watching america’s got talent on YouTube just because you can. You have a full-time job, not in the traditional sense but as in the previous point, you have commitments – stick to them! Don’t just wait for gigs or projects! Use your time wisely! Remember every day is a new day one where you can improve your own system, techniques, website, or other ways of creating more leads.
- Business groups – join meetup business groups in person and/or engage in online business groups like Flying Solo or some of the various business groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Read an article about the power of networking of why joining these kind of groups is important but here is one of the main reasons: learn from other soloists who are or have been in the same position as you are. Humans are social creatures, the whole ‘you are not alone’ message comes through in these groups.
- Co-working Spaces – From Chiang Mai to Sydney to LA, it is certain if you’re near a big city, there’s a co-working space. Here you can share resources, battle scars and stories of success with other freelancers and/or small businesses. Feel less alone in your work space, furthermore you can network with other freelancers that could be an allied service provider in a project.
- Agency Freelance Culture – Freelancers collaborate a lot with agencies. Usually they’re hired for their specialised skills or perhaps to help complete a project where their current team doesn’t have enough manpower. Entering another business that has its own work culture can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be an unsuccessful merging of cultures. From the agency perspective, they should choose freelancer’s who already align with the agency’s culture, mission and values. From a freelancer’s perspective, do make an effort to fit in. Not just with the people but with the way they work. Be someone they consider part of the family and don’t tread on any toes. Remember, you are basically the new kid on the block.
So, I’ve sort of dodged the reasons of why it’s hard working on your own. Which even left unsaid, I feel I’d be stating the obvious. So, I won’t elaborate on how hard it can be. But rather leave you with some Freelancer advice: It all comes down to relationships. Even if you’re a freelancer, it always makes cents (see what I did there?) and not even that maybe even big dollars. You need to nurture relationships whether they be with fellow freelancers; agencies or clients. Don’t know something? ASK! And if you read the strategies I previously mentioned, you’ll see a common theme, to improve your own at-home culture it’s important to get out there and talk to like-minded people; really immerse yourself in a culture and surround yourself with people that encourage creativity and productivity.