At the start of each year, at least 30% — 45% of us promise to do better, personally or professionally. New Year’s resolutions are carefully considered, written down, followed for a couple of months, and then largely ignored for the rest of the year. The next year, we will inevitably rinse and repeat the cycle. But not this year. Because this year, we’re going to show you how one thing can help you achieve all those other things. That one thing being, of course, freelancing. And while this article gives you a bunch of reasons to do so, today we’ll focus on how freelancing can help you achieve the 5 most common New Year’s resolutions most of us have made at one time or another:
Resolution 1: Exercise more
In our experience, there are 2 main barriers to this: lack of time and lack of energy. Between juggling work, family, and 2 hours of hellish traffic daily, you hardly have the time or energy to floss, let alone fit in the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
As a freelancer, you’ll be in more control of your time. You’ll have deadlines and clients to meet, but by and large, you can schedule your day however you like. This means you can start your morning off with a brisk swim, take a walk during lunch, or wind down in the evening with some stretching. Whatever schedule works best for you, the unregimented life of the freelancer makes it much easier to follow. And with the stress of daily commuting and office politics removed, you’ll be surprised how much more energy that frees up.
Resolution 2: Eat better
This is the promise we’ve made to ourselves, our family, and our favourite pair of skinny jeans, over and over. But as an employee, the temptation of the office canteen, the doughnut cart, or the overtime-pizza are ever present. Even worse is the influence of our unhealthy-eating colleagues, which according to the New England Journal of Medicine and a survey by CareerBuilder, have made 41% of us gain weight in our current jobs.
As a freelancer, you won’t be seduced by the ‘office feeder’, and you’ll have more time to shop, prepare healthy meals, and generally more time to enjoy eating. And as many motivational coaches will tell you, all you have to do is take small steps to see big results. So, aim to make a change in just one meal: have breakfast instead of cramming cookies into your mouth during your commute; fix a sandwich instead of skipping lunch and binging on potato chips; or resurrect Nana’s famous casserole recipe for dinner instead of going for a greasy takeout.
Resolution 3: Spend more time with family and friends
Many of us, especially if we’re working spouses and parents, struggle with the guilt of trying to balance our professional and private lives. As our friends and family are often more tolerant and understanding than our bosses, they inevitably take a backseat to ‘just one more email’ or ‘that report I’ll have on your desk by the morning’.
As your own boss, you can organise and prioritise your commitments. You could schedule a client meeting after the morning school run, spend a couple of hours working from home, catch up with a friend over lunch, go to your kid’s soccer match, and Skype an international client, all before bed. With the flexibility that working for yourself provides, you can give your loved ones the time and attention many employed people struggle to give.
Resolution 4: Read more
With the sheer amount of stuff demanding our attention, fewer and fewer of us spend any time reading. Whether for self improvement, pleasure, or reading to the kids at bedtime, the terrible twins of No Time and No Energy relegate this pastime to the very bottom, and sometimes right off, the To Do list.
As a freelancer, you’ll find that you naturally and inevitably read more. This is because you’ll need new skills that your old job didn’t equip you with. These could include time management, accounting and marketing, or new techniques in your field. As a salaried employee, your time is controlled, your work assigned, and your finances automated. But as a self-employed individual, you’ll need to find new clients, manage your business, oversee your finances and taxes, and a host of other things you’ve never had to worry about before. And with plenty of content available online, from academic articles and opinion pieces to blogs and e-books, you’ll find yourself reading for several hours each day without even realising it. Many freelancers also turn to traditional paperbacks for inspiration biographies, tried and trusted business methods, or just to unwind at the end of the day.
Resolution 5: Learn something new
As we discussed above, the skills that a freelancer and entrepreneur need are endless, and often not taught in traditional job settings. From personal time management, to client-facing skills, to accounting, marketing, recruiting, contracting, and maybe even a foreign language, most of these will have to be learnt on the go.
Luckily for freelancers, in addition to the information available online and on shelves, there are also many established professionals and mentors that can provide invaluable assistance and insight. By reaching out to someone already doing what you want to do (you can match with them quickly and easily on Kalido), you can get tips on how to get started, advice on common pitfalls to avoid, or introductions to business contacts and clients.
So, whether you want to focus on your health and wellness, your family and friends, or your career, take the plunge into freelancing this year, and you could achieve all those goals. And if you’re looking for people to help you, from dietitians and personal trainers, to a weekend squash buddy, or accountants, mentors, and potential new clients, you can match with the exact person you need now on Kalido.