You’re probably heard before that,
Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.
– Lori Greiner
And guess what?
So when it comes to breaking down the best schedule for new freelancers — the type of freelancers who want to replace their corporate earnings — please understand that your only option is to work your ass off.
At least at first…
See, a lot of new freelancers confuse flexibility with laziness. Setting your own hours means you get to choose when you work. It doesn’t mean choosing to take every day off.
And listen, when you’re just starting out — the last thing you want is to waste time wondering what tasks you should tackle next. Have a plan in place and stick to it. Daily. And with intensity.
Now, when I say I’m about to share the best schedule for freelancers with you, please understand that I am basing this on how I got started back in 2014. No, this isn’t me selling the dream — this is me sharing the hustle with you, and what worked for me…
Sure, you can modify the schedule I’m about to give you…
But you do need a starting point.
If want to replace your full-time income while working from home, that is.
So let me set the stage right off the bat…
- If you’re looking to freelance for a bit of extra pocket change, this schedule isn’t for you.
- If you think freelancing means you can work two hours a day on the beach and rake in $250,000 a year, this schedule isn’t for you.
- If you’ve been told by so-called experts that you’re going to earn $450 per article when you’re new — because that’s what you think you’re worth — then this schedule definitely isn’t for you.
But if you’re serious about quitting your 9-to-5 job and replacing your earnings through freelancing, then this schedule is for you.
Because I’m about to drop a truth bomb on a lot of you guys — nothing worth having in life comes easy.
I quit my day job in 2014 — a director role that paid me well into six-figures — to freelance. I quit the same day I took possession of my first home, and I had no clients, no experience, and few marketable skills to get started…
(…or so I thought!)
Remember that 50 Cent album, Get Rich or Die Tryin’…?
That’s kinda how I saw freelancing at the time.
I had moved to a town with precious few career opportunities, and I knew that I had to find a way to make freelancing work.
I lost contact with friends and family for a while, shut myself indoors, and I worked until I replaced my day job earnings. I put in 100+ hour weeks for months.
Do I say any of this to impress you?
But to highlight that the road I took isn’t for everyone.
But it is a road that others before me have taken, and it is a road you can take, too… if you’re ready.
You Can’t Be a Do-Nothing Bitch
Before we review all the necessary components of my ready-made schedule for freelancers, I want to talk about a little gem called sweat equity.
See, it used to be that when an enterprising individual wanted to build his or her own business, he or she had to cough up a whole bunch of cash. From rent to payroll to inventory, entrepreneurs would invest thousands in hopes of one day turning a profit.
(…spoiler alert! Most traditional businesses failed back then and still do today…)
Then along came the internet.
From affiliate marketing to coaching to graphic design, the world became a much smaller place. We suddenly had the freedom and flexibility to render our services for profit from anywhere in the world.
Want to freelance?
The only thing you need to invest upfront is your time… or, put another way, sweat equity.
It costs you very little — if anything — to get started.
But if you’re a do-nothing bitch, you’re not going to get very far.
^ Speaking of Ronda Rousey…
…I wish every new freelancer had their very own Ronda standing behind him or her while working. Every time he or she even thought of taking a break, Ronda would be right there to open a fresh can of whoop-ass.
The point is, when you’re just starting out, you should expect to work harder and longer than you’ve ever worked before. Same goes for every type of entrepreneurial venture.
Now, according to how I’ve set up this schedule for you, you’ll be putting in an intense 72 hours a week to start. Then again, this is the light version of the schedule I followed when I was new.
But, hey… if you’re not ready for this kind of commitment, you’re welcome to go back to your corporate desk job. Then you can work hard to make someone else rich instead of yourself.
A Breakdown of Your Weekly Tasks
There are a few essential building blocks in my ready-made schedule for freelancers. Basically, these are the things you’ll have to do each week. It’s all well and good to work hard, but are you working on the right things? And are you working on them enough?
Here is what the ideal weekly schedule for freelancers includes:
You’re going to need to dedicate ample time each week to completing assignments for your clients. There should be no distractions while you are doing this work… so turn your phone off, shut down Facebook, and ignore your emails.
Pitch & Apply to Jobs
Never take your foot off the pedal when it comes to sourcing more work. You might think you’re set today, and then — boom! — you unexpectedly lose a big client. Always be prospecting.
Emails, Followups & Social Media Notifications
Let’s face it… most of us could spend all day replying to emails, responding to comments — both on our blogs and social media — as well as following up with certain people. Schedule a portion of each day to manage this so it doesn’t become a time-waster.
After pitching a prospective client and receiving a response, you will most likely need to schedule a phone call, a Skype meeting, or time to meet in person. Leave a bit of time open in your schedule daily for meetings.
As you freelance, you need to be establishing your own online presence and authority. You will need to spend time each week creating your own blog content, social media updates, email newsletters, and so forth.
Never underestimate the value of expanding your own network of professional contacts. I recommend spending time daily connecting with other freelancers, bloggers and influencers in your chosen field. This will be especially important when it comes time to outsource some of your work.
Meals & Snacks
That’s the downside of being human… you’re going to have to allow yourself a bit of time to eat, drink and use the bathroom each day.
Yes, I encourage new freelancers to put in long hours… but not at the expense of your health. You need to make time to exercise daily, even if only for 30 minutes to one hour. Do it in the morning, shower, and move on with your day. Run up and down the stairs if you have to.
Successful people read. Period. And as you are growing your business, you can expand your way of thinking by dedicating a few minutes to reading each day. The average book is roughly 75,000 words, and the average person reads 300 word per minute. That means most people can polish off a new book every two months by reading just 30 minutes a day.
Since you are self-employed, you are going to need to spend some time each week tracking expenses, paying bills, sending invoices, and moving money to your bank account.
If you have promised certain clients weekly reports and updates, schedule when each week you will do it. This is also a good time to track your own progress.
The questions really become,
“How many hours should be spent on each task? And when exactly should I get this all done?”
So I would like to answer those questions by sharing with you my exact breakdown…
Further, I can’t underscore how important it is to have a firm plan in place…
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. ~ R. CollierClick To Tweet
…because if you leave yourself any wiggle room, it’ll get easy to give up when things get hard. Especially when your television and refrigerator are only a few steps away.
You Can Overcome a Lot by Working Hard…
Let me conclude this post by sharing a true story with you.
In the early days of my sales career, I wasn’t a superstar closer. Not by any means.
Some of the other guys in my office were making sales at 70 to 80 percent of their appointments. I, on the other hand, was hovering around the 40 to 50 percent mark.
So what did I do?
I did twice as many sales appointments as those guys did… I made more sales overall, and I earned more in commission.
The point of my story…?
A piker walks at the bell. A piker asks how much vacation time you get in the first year … You want vacation time? Go teach third grade public school.
– Jim Young, Boiler Room (2000)
Look, you can take the easy road… and keep doing what you’re doing.
But if you’re serious about building a thriving, profitable, online business — one that will eventually allow you freedom, flexibility and financial independence — you need to be prepared to invest some intense sweat equity upfront.
If not, no schedule for freelancers can help you… no matter how tried, tested and true it may be.