How Do Remote Workers and Freelancers Set Boundaries?

Angela Ash

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Remote work is becoming more and more popular. Many companies have started using remote employee engagement platforms to bring their in-office and remote teams together, and no wonder there. For once, it allows for individual schedule adjustments that help people attain the desired work-life balance… or does it?

There are so many different work models. Some people retain fixed working hours while working remotely, while others enjoy the benefits of the gig economy. Both models have their benefits and downsides, but we’re hereby considering only freelancing and digital nomadism.

Freelancing: A Dream Come True

For many people, freelancing is a godsend. For others, it is a necessity. However, the good news is that the so-called gig economy is getting bigger by the minute, meaning there are lots of job openings for everyone.

This also means tougher competition. For people hoping to make a decent living from freelancing while retaining their work-life balance, this means they need to polish up their skills and look for returning clients.

If you want to succeed as a freelancer, you need to pick the right gigs, learn to say no, and be determined to push through all obstacles.

Polish Your Soft Skills

To be able to do that, freelancers (and digital nomads, by extension) need to learn the necessary soft skills. We’re talking about negotiating better work conditions, getting the desired rate, and agreeing upon a suitable flexible work schedule.

Some freelancers work for companies and have flexible working schedules, while others pick gigs with set deadlines.

Either way, you’ll need to master the art of efficient online communication (think in terms of online meetings) and negotiation.

Consider Becoming a Digital Nomad

There is a considerable difference between freelancing and digital nomadism, but there are some common points as well. E.g., if you’re coming from a rich country, moving to a country with lower costs of living and lower taxes may be just perfect.

Common benefits include:

  • Retaining high salary and spending less while abroad
  • Benefiting from flexible working schedule
  • Traveling the world while ensuring continual money income
  • However, keep in mind that not everything is ideal. There are two points of interest here:
  • U.S. expat taxes
  • Insurance while abroad

For digital nomads, it is crucial to plan ahead. Some people even choose to give up their U.S. citizenship to cut the taxes, but this is neither an easy nor the right decision for everyone.

Manage Flexible Schedules

In the matter of flexibility, in order for it to work the way you want it to, you’ll need to set specific boundaries. Many people who decide to quit their traditional jobs find out soon enough that remote work and flexible schedules don’t equal being on holiday.

Slacking off is common, and the results are devastating.

So, the first boundary to set is to plan your day ahead. This is especially important when you’re relying on gigs because they allow for some added freedom to plan all tasks just as it suits you.

However, if you decide you have plenty of time to waste on, say, every email notification and checking your social media newsfeed in between short breaks, you’ll soon discover that you’re wasting more time than you can afford if you’re aiming for more free time.

Choose the Right Tools

Choosing the right tools is crucial. Using the latest tech goes without saying which means you’ll need to keep informed all the time because trends change at a rapid pace.

From email clients to communication tools to task management tools, you’ll need to adapt, and quickly at that, to remain competitive.

Continual Learning

Since the gig economy is huge, competition is also fierce. Anyone who chooses to make a decent living off of freelancing or digital nomadism must make continual learning their priority.

Sing up for an online course to keep up with the latest technologies or sharpen your collaboration skills at a local venue like this San Francisco Escape Room.

There are numerous options to enrich your knowledge and skills outside a formal work environment, so use your imagination and explore all possibilities.

Manage Finances Efficiently

Managing finances is, admittedly, the most challenging task not only for freelancers and digital nomads but for office workers as well.

In a sense, it’s something everyone is used to, but for freelancers and digital nomads, there are a couple of additional things to keep in mind.

Freelancing basically equals unsteady payments. People relying on gigs alone (and especially those who don’t have returning clients) need to calculate their expenses and pick up as many gigs as they need to reach their monthly financial goals.

Of course, it is always a good idea to leave some money on the side and rely on new gigs to make a living, but you’ll need to reach the point where you can pick the best-paid gigs first.

That being said, people hoping to become digital nomads should know that this lifestyle isn’t cheap. In fact, without some savings, it may well be impossible. Never forget about hidden costs, especially if you’re going to a country you’ve never been to before and don’t know the perplexities of local administration.

Freelancers also bring down your product cost for instance, if you are running a small business like a cosmetic product freelancers brought up custom cosmetic packaging to your doorstep digitally which is cheaper than the local market.

Manage Your Time Efficiently

Lastly, even when you manage to establish a passable schedule, you should use your free time wisely. It’s extremely easy to laze off since there’s plenty of time for everything. Before you know it, this will become a routine, and over time you’ll need more time for your planned activities.

In a sense, this is the biggest challenge for newbies to freelancing because freedom is something everyone lacks in the fast-paced work environment of today.

Draft a daily schedule to get your help started. Include all the breaks and even list some free activities you love doing. In this way, you won’t feel like the schedule is stifling you. You don’t have to read a chapter of the book you’re reading at the exact time slot; you can do another leisure activity and move on to reading for the next free slot.

Eventually, you’ll learn to manage your time better and will be able to freelance away without relying on pesky schedules.

Make Strong Communication With Your Clients

Your client is the one who is most worried about his project given to you. Clients need day-to-day important updates regarding their projects so they can be aware of the work going on. Freelancers like to stay active with communication and updates with their clients.

For freelancers, there are various freelancing platforms like Upwork, Fiver, Freelancer.com, etc that have their online chatting feature for good communication. Don`t completely depend on these platforms, use virtual phone number apps to call your customers for any updates or askings.

If your client is not available to chat, or if he is not using platforms like Upwork and Fiver, and lives in abroad countries, then you can call them instantly to communicate.

Key Takeaways

Freelancing is a great lifestyle once you have secured sufficient recurring jobs and desirable pay rates. However, it also calls for discipline, proper time management, and finance management, and these take time to learn and establish.

If you ever find yourself in a pinch, just remember that office workers don’t have much choice in the matter. Even when you’re stuck or overworked, you still have the opportunity to change the situation around. Patience, young Jedi, you’re almost there!

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Angela Ash is a professional writer and editor, who focuses on topics related to business, remote work, digital PR, marketing, clean tech, mental health, travel and more. She also enjoys playing the piano, writing poetry, and music festivals.

Louisville, KY
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