Establishing Healthy Boundaries
In the age of digital work, freelancing has grown to be a popular and attractive career choice. According to the recent survey by Upwork, 57.3 million people in the US choose freelancing over having a full-time job. The primary benefit of freelancing is the freedom to choose when and how to work as well as when and where to take a break.
However, this freedom can come with its own set of challenges. Working as a freelancer requires setting up healthy boundaries with employers in order to ensure job satisfaction and a better work-life balance. In this article, we will discuss strategies to help you establish healthy boundaries with clients while freelancing.
Be Clear and Consistent
The key to successfully setting up healthy boundaries with a client is to be clear and consistent. Before agreeing to undertake any project, it is important to discuss your expectations and negotiate the terms of employment.
For instance, if you agree to work for a certain amount of time, make sure that your client knows that you will only be able to work for the duration you agreed upon. Let them know that you will not be able to take on any extra work outside the agreement.
Similarly, make it clear what kind of communication you are comfortable with. If you prefer to have most of the communications through e-mail, shooting off a quick text or call notification whenever there is a new update, mention it to the client and make sure they understand.
Limit Your Working Hours
The beauty of freelancing is that you get to choose your own working hours and work on your own terms. While this can be extremely liberating, it can also be tempting to start taking up more and more working hours. To ensure that you keep a healthy work-life balance, it is necessary to set limits on the number of hours you are comfortable with working on any single project.
For instance, if you have an 8-hour day job and you are taking up a few small freelancing jobs on the side, it is important to make sure that you keep the working hours separate from each other and that the total hours do not exceed 8 per day. This way, you will be able to get the work done while maintaining a healthy balance between your professional and personal life.
Set Time Boundaries
Another important aspect of establishing healthy boundaries as a freelancer is to set time boundaries. Make it clear to your client that you will not be available during certain hours of the day or the week.
For instance, if you have set aside schedules for family activities and hobbies, it is important to make sure that your clients know that you will not be available at those times. Moreover, make sure that they understand that you need a break from work every now and then and that you cannot be available every time they need you.
Take Time Off
Taking time off to spend with your family and friends or to pursue your hobbies is essential for a healthy work-life balance. As a freelancer, it is important to make sure that you take regular breaks from work to avoid burning yourself out.
It is also important to discuss your availability with your client before any kind of project. This way, you can let the client know that you will not be available for a certain period of time and will take a break after completing a certain number of hours. This will ensure that you will be able to take breaks without compromising on your commitments.
Brainstorm and Set Goals
Before accepting any project, make sure to brainstorm and set goals as to what you want to get out of the project. This way, you will be better able to manage the project and set the right boundaries.
For instance, if you are taking on a project that requires you to devote 10 hours per week on it, you can set the goal of completing the project within two weeks. This way, you will be able to structure the project and make sure that you stay within the parameters that have been set.
Understand Your Worth
As a freelancer, it is essential to understand your worth as a professional. Do not be afraid to ask for a fair compensation for any project. If a client is hesitant to pay the market rate for a particular project, do not be afraid to offer alternative solutions or walk away from the deal.
Similarly, make sure to have an estimate of your time and resources for any project and make sure that a client understands and agrees to it before you begin working. This way, you will be able to ensure that you are paid a fair wage for your work.
Learn to Say No
In the digital work industry, it can be tempting to take on every project that comes your way as a freelancer. But trying to do too much can lead to exhaustion and burnout.
Therefore, it is important to learn to say no to clients whenever possible. It is more important to take on projects that are right for you and that contribute to your growth.
If, at any point in time, you feel that your client is crossing boundaries or taking advantage of you, do not hesitate to address the issue immediately. You can simply explain to your client that certain tasks are not within the scope of the project and let them know what you would be comfortable doing.
If the client does not address the issues or does not acknowledge them, it might be a sign for you to end the project and move on.
Freelancing can offer you a lot of freedom and flexibility but it can also be subject to certain challenges. Establishing healthy boundaries with your clients is essential for a satisfying work experience and to ensure that you are taking good care of your own mental and physical wellbeing. Following the tips mentioned in this article will help you do just that.