by Katherine Hamill
But, uh, how does one actually achieve such a feat? I, personally, get overwhelmed about where to start.
Wiser heads than mine advise freelancers to start off by being intentional about what their priorities are.
Take a couple of minutes to take the quiz below (adapted from Freelancers Union founder Sara Horowitz’s The Freelancer’s Bible); once you’re done, you’ll have a clearer view of where you are now – and where you want to go.
Rate each from 4 (Strongly Agree) to 1 (Strongly Disagree).
I have enough quality time with my family. 4 3 2 1
I have enough quality time with my friends. 4 3 2 1
I have enough quality ‘me’ time. 4 3 2 1
I have time to learn and do new things outside of work. 4 3 2 1
Total Personal Life Score: ______
Mind and Body
I eat healthfully. 4 3 2 1
My family and I get the medical care we need. 4 3 2 1
I feel okay about my stress-levels. 4 3 2 1
I’m happy with the kind of work I do. 4 3 2 1
Total Mind and Body Score: ______
Work and Finances
I’m happy with the kinds of freelance clients I have. 4 3 2 1
I’m happy with the amount of time I spend working. 4 3 2 1
I’m happy with my day-to-day life as a freelancer. 4 3 2 1
I have enough money for necessities and am saving
for the future; I can also afford the fun things
I really want (including vacations, eating out, etc.) 4 3 2 1
Total Work and Finances Score: _____
Community and Connection
I give back to my community regularly. 4 3 2 1
I’m satisfied with what I’m doing to help others. 4 3 2 1
I use my skills to make the world a better place. 4 3 2 1
I have a strong, vital professional and personal network 4 3 2 1
Total Connection Score: _____
Take a minute to add up your separate scores from each area:
If you scored 13 or above: Congrats! You feel pretty good about this stuff – keep on truckin’!
If you scored 9-12: Your satisfaction level may be uneven; take a look to see what you can shore up or improve.
If you scored 8 or lower: These areas of your life are stressing you out – which means you have a great opportunity to build satisfaction.
Okay, so I took the quiz. Now what?
Think about 3 small things you can do to improve each sagging score – break ‘em down into specific steps. Here are some of our suggestions from the blog:
Looking to build your personal life score? Specifically carve out a few times during the week to spend with family or friends – act as if they are meetings with clients. No bowing out! Do the same for ‘you’ time. Even short breaks will make a big difference in preventing burnout.
Looking to build your mind and body score? Look into wellness resources in your area; reaching out to others will help shore up your health AND build your connectedness. We also recommend napping and meditation. If you just happen to live in NYC, check out some of our free health and wellness classes at Freelancers Union Hall in Manhattan and Brooklyn. (We’ve got yoga, tai chi, meditation classes, nutritional coaching, etc.)
Looking to build your work and finances score? Identify what you like about your freelance work – and what you enjoy less. Brainstorm a couple of options for reducing your stress; can you outsource work that you don’t like doing, or find a collaborator? What kinds of clients are you looking for? What skills do you need to attract those clients? How much do you need to charge in order to be financially healthy? Check out our list of Freelance Essentials (above in the left sidebar) and our post on Planning for Growth for some ideas.
Looking to build your community and connection score? Consider volunteering your skills for a non-profit or cause you really believe in, or joining us at one of our upcoming Freelance 360 events.
Need to increase your numbers across the board? Check out the Freelancers Pyramid of Self-Actualization, identify your level, and learn how to climb from one level to the next.
Freelancers, what areas of your life do you want to concentrate on in 2014?