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A freelance career in the creative arts
A freelance career in the creative arts

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5 Managing your success

Although a freelance business can start off slowly, it is not uncommon for tasks to build up or for success to arrive quickly and for that to feel overwhelming. Closing the door on work and making time for friends, family and a personal life can feel impossible.

Watch this short video from ScreenSkills to hear how other creative freelancers make time to look after themselves.

Video 7
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Heitman (no date) offers the following practical tips for an overwhelmed business owner:

  • Try mapping your projects – identify milestones for your project and the steps they require. Then schedule in specific times for these tasks. Having a timeline eliminates the stress of worrying about whether you’ll get everything done, and scheduling tasks will ensure you stay on track and are not overwhelmed at the last minute.

  • Keep an organised workspace – organise your workspace in a way that allows you to get your hands on anything in 60 seconds or less. This will spare you from stress and wasted time due to digging through drawers or scrambling through documents.

  • Write it down – write down your thoughts, reminders and ideas throughout the day. Just having things out of your head and on paper can help. You can always look back on the list at the end of the day and distribute the items to their proper destination, such as to your to-do list, your reminder app, or a specific project file.

If your business is growing beyond your means, another solution might be to take on a member of staff or contract out some of your work to associates.

Activity 4 What does this freelancer need to do next?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Tom has a jewellery making business. His work has recently featured in a national wedding magazine and he has been overwhelmed with orders for his unique engagement rings. He has no idea how many orders to take on and how many to turn down.

What should he do?

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Once Tom knows he is able to get all the materials he needs from his suppliers, he can look at his own capacity in more detail.

Tom needs to identify the deadline for each project and then map them across the time frame available. When he can see how many of the projects overlap, he can be more realistic about what he can achieve.

He could make contact with other jewellery designers to see how they cope with busy periods and he could make a list of other jewellery makers he trusts, perhaps from his college or university course, who might be interested in some work.

Rather than getting stressed about the problem, he could take some time to go for a walk and clear his head – this might help him to think through the practical solutions to his blossoming order book.