When it comes to building a thriving freelancing career, your health and happiness are perhaps the most important factors determining long-term success. You can have all the best marketing strategies and sales tactics at your disposal but if you fail to maintain good health and mental wellbeing, your work will suffer.
As a freelancer, you can’t afford sick days, which turn into weeks and months. Every billable hour and day counts when you’re a solo service provider. When you don’t work, you don’t earn, and this can be catastrophic if you don’t have adequate savings or health insurance.
While even the healthiest of freelancing professionals fall sick sometimes or go through difficult times, it’s essential to incorporate as many healthy habits into your daily routine as soon as possible. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of sickness and also improve your overall psychological wellbeing.
Health, happiness, and freelancing success
Being a solopreneur is difficult at the best of times. Yet it can feel easier and more enjoyable when you place special importance on your health and happiness. A few new habits and mental mindset changes have the potential to dramatically change not just your freelancing success but also your life as a whole.
So what are some essential healthy habits to develop to help you meet with career success?
Work your passion
Do what you love, every single day.
If you awake each morning with a sense of apprehension or boredom, then your mental health will suffer. While freelancing is hard work, it should also be interesting and even exciting. After all, it’s your business, and as a solopreneur, you are in complete control of its direction.
Working for peanuts, fighting against the feast-and-famine cycle, and putting up with bad clients who don’t respect your expertise, can lead to unhappiness and physical health problems. The fact is, you don’t need to accept this type of reality.
Instead, find your real calling. Find your passion. Pivot to providing services which are more in line with what you adore doing and reading about. Such passion will translate to more inspired marketing, seamless selling, and more positive client-freelancer relationships.
Build and cultivate a social network
Freelancing is a solo endeavor. As a freelancer, you usually work alone, perhaps in a home office or wherever you can connect to the internet. While you may interact with clients, it’s not really the same as being part of a team or a tribe.
Being alone and isolated too frequently can lead to mental health issues including depression and anxiety. These can create a vicious cycle of over-eating (or under-eating), lack of exercise, poor decision making, and a tendency to make rash choices.
Even if you’re naturally introverted, actively cultivating a network of colleagues and contacts can help you feel in tune with society and your industry.
Every day, interact with a fellow freelancer on social media. Every week try to set up a relaxed face-to-face coffee chat with local collaboration partners and fellow solopreneurs. You may even consider spending a couple of days each week in a nearby coworking space.
You’ll not only feel better but you’ll also build professional ties which can lead to exciting new work opportunities.
Move more and sit less
Compared to our forebears, we live more sedentary lives. Modern technology means we sit at our computers for longer periods of time. If you’re a freelancer working predominantly online, then it’s all too easy to spend many hours hunched at your desk (or sprawled out on the sofa).
A sedentary lifestyle can impact negatively on both your physical and mental health, especially in the long-term. It can put a strain on your vital organs as well as affect your posture and fitness. Mentally, a lack of exercise can impair your levels of concentration, focus, wellbeing, and ability to overcome inevitable setbacks.
It’s vital as a freelance professional to move more and sit less. Make it a habit to go out every day, at least for a 30-minute walk. Take up old fitness habits you may have dropped, such as jogging, swimming, CrossFit, aerobics, or cycling. Download a fitness app where you can monitor your progress towards a realistic fitness goal (10,000 walking steps a day or a 5km run, for example).
Eat a healthy diet
Feeling blue? Agitated for no obvious reason? Sluggish? All these are common feelings for many people. And the reason lies in what you eat. Our diet plays a significant role in mental acuity and emotional balance. When we eat healthily and exercise moderately, we tend to feel better generally.
The opposite is also true. Eating too much processed food, containing large amounts of saturated fats, can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and poor sleep. And that doesn’t even touch on the negative effects such foods have on the physical body.
To be a successful freelancer, you need to eat well. Cut down on sugar and fatty foods. Develop a balanced diet with plenty of natural ingredients. Good nutrition doesn’t need to be complicated nor time-consuming to prepare. There are many delicious healthy dishes you can create in just a few minutes.
The benefits to your physical, emotional, and mental health (including your concentration) will be immense.
Work less and earn more
Successful solopreneurship requires the implementation of intelligent strategies and tactics. Among these are delegation, automation, and integration, which can significantly reduce the number of hours you actually work, while still increasing your income.
Without utilizing modern technology and outsourcing to fellow professionals, you end up working on admin tasks and processes which eat up into your billable hours, family time, exercise regimes, healthy eating practices, and sleep. And that’s not good, at all.
With Invoice Ninja, for example, you can automate a number of invoicing procedures, including the sending of invoices and automatic late payment reminders.
Many of our features can also be integrated and synchronized with a whole host of outside apps, which ensures accuracy and relevance across multiple platforms. You don’t need to manually update information, which saves you time and hassle.
Delegating tasks can also reduce stress levels. Virtual Assistants can carry out many diverse admin tasks quickly and efficiently, allowing you to focus on clients or leisure.
In this day and age, there’s simply no excuse to do everything manually on your own.
Cultivating health and happiness
Two things you can’t afford to lose as a determined freelancer are your health and wellbeing. Both are so important when it comes to maximizing your billable hours and maintaining emotional equilibrium. Your mind and body are interconnected. When one is neglected, the other suffers as well.
You have a lot of power to change your health and mindset for the better. Start today, by enacting some changes to your routines and thinking patterns. Push yourself to go a longer walk or take up running. Fuel your motivation. Research some new nutrition plans. Take up meditation or yoga. Get out of the house and meet more people face-to-face.
Every little bit will help. Make gradual changes at first and build on these. You’ll soon notice improvements in how you feel, as well as your focus, self-confidence, and productivity.