Freelance life is great, isn’t it? Well, as most freelancers know, it can be pretty tough trying to do everything by yourself. Here are some tips on making freelance life easier, and how working as part of an Elastic Team can give you more benefits than you’d expect.

Working from home brings lots of benefits in terms of flexibility and simplicity. But, there can be difficulties too as more and more people are beginning to understand, following the Covid-19 pandemic.

It takes time to get used to working on your own most of the time and managing your own deadlines and working hours. Far from getting nothing done, many people find it all too easy to over-work.

As a freelancer, you have even more obstacles to deal with. You’re your own HR, marketing and accounts departments none of which are things that got you into IT. And just because you make your living in tech, you’re not immune from having to work out why the printer isn’t functioning or whether your WiFi is secure. 

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a better way? A system to take the load and let you focus on the stuff that earns you money. Well, here are a few ways to smooth out some of the most common freelance irritants.

You are not an accountant

Over half of freelancers say they have done work they haven’t been paid for. When you do get paid, over half of invoices are paid late. If you are reading this, there is a good chance you spend a significant amount of time chasing payments.

But that’s not the only chasing: you chase new clients for information, contracts, and NDAs, and existing clients to keep projects moving. You can simplify this with a standard form for new briefs, so you get all the information you need. And don’t be afraid to ask for some money upfront, so at least you’re chasing less at the end.

At Distributed, we’ve created the world’s best freelancer experience called the Elastic Team. This is a highly-vetted pool of talented freelancers that get to choose the projects they work on from our global client list. They also get more benefits than they would in a permanent role.

We believe freelance talent should be free to focus on the work they do, rather than waste their time and energy on menial tasks. That’s why Distributed offers benefits such as regular payment schedules and income predictability to eliminate any of those typical freelance headaches.

If you’re interested in joining, just fill out our skills page or read on to hear more about the pain points we alleviate.

You are not invincible

Up to 83 percent of developers have suffered from burnout. It’s a growing problem that we’ve written at length about. Many people go freelance because they expect to experience less pressure than as a permanent employee. That’s often the case, but as we’ve mentioned, freelance life brings other stresses.

A significant one comes from working alone. When you get your teeth into a piece of work it can be easy to end up working long hours. Eventually, that will catch up with you and you will burn out.

You can avoid that by setting a sensible work schedule and sticking to it. Permit yourself to take breaks, ensure you have a work-life balance and set boundaries, such as not checking work email at the weekend. Look for signs of burnout, such as feeling exhausted, having trouble focusing or functioning less effectively. If these symptoms don’t go away with rest then seek help.

As part of the Elastic Team, you can see the projects you have planned for the coming months and easily schedule time off. Distributed also has a strong, active community that will ensure you feel part of a team. You can be a mentor or mentee and speak to like-minded people.

Cein, an AWS DevOps Engineer in the UK, says: “I’ve always missed that “team feeling” which comes with being a full-time perm employee. Distributed’s model fixes that because even with the flexibility of moving from client to client you’ll still get to work with the same amazing Distributed team.”

You are not a marketer or HR professional, either

How much time do you spend promoting yourself or gathering your account information or chasing new business?

The need to be every ‘department’ is a strain on freelancers. It’s time away from paying work and a distraction that takes up mental capacity. Do some research and find tools that make boring admin tasks easier.

For example, there are smartphone apps that automatically scan receipts and add them to your expenses. Get outside help if you need it, too. An accountant might save you more money than they charge, and will certainly save time and stress. And don’t be afraid to put your prices up, either. You should give yourself promotions and pay rises as you gain experience.

Of course, if you’ve read this far then you can probably guess what we’re going to say next: being part of the Elastic Team will remove all those tasks, giving you more time for paying work. You also won’t be put into a team where you are expected to babysit less experienced colleagues. You’ll be working with like-minded, similarly matched team members.

You are not planning for the future (are you?)

An area that freelancers often overlook is career progression. With all the tasks outlined above, it’s easy to get stuck on day-to-day tasks and not allow time for training and development, for example. You should be setting yourself goals, reviewing your performance and allocating time and money to keep your skills up to date.

Being part of an Elastic Team takes care of this, and so much more: career progression, financial planning and even healthcare and a pension, all alongside the flexibility of freelance work.

At Distributed, your individual well-being and career development matter to us. Adam Morehead, Distributed’s Head of Community, says: “I love the focus on creating Elastic Teams and providing freelance software careers with more benefits than permanent employment. The power in mobilizing smart people to connect, collaborate and create amazing software with a focus on “Team” and team dynamics, roles, relationships, and rewards is the future.” 

If you love being freelance then you owe it to yourself to make sure you’re working as effectively as you can be, with minimal stress. The best way to do that might be by becoming part of an Elastic Team. 

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