Freelancing and Finances: Maintaining Your Income While Ill

Being a freelancer is a challenge for many. You have to deliver a product or service, handle invoices, market your business, and keep things running all by yourself. But things get even more hectic when your only employee comes down with a little more than just the sniffles.

Be strategic with your approach when running your freelance business and try to nurse yourself back to health. When you do, you can minimize the loss of income and the effect your illness has on your business.

Follow these tips to keep your business running and your income coming in while nurturing yourself back to health:

  1. Prioritize your time. Figure out items that deserve top priority on your schedule. Give the energy you have to the top items on your list, that way the most important things get done.
    • Make a list of the tasks that need to get done, exactly in the order they need to get done. Keep it close to you and, when you find that you have energy throughout the day, cross items off of your to-do list.
    • It’s okay if you need to work in random spurts. If you find that you can only work productively for 30 minutes at a time every three hours or so, do so. You’ll be surprised how much you complete within a short amount of time when it gets down to crunch time.
  2. Use a laptop. As a freelancer, owning a laptop may seem like a given, but the number of independent professionals without one is astounding. If you can’t afford to purchase one, borrow one from a friend while you’re sick. You’ll be able to work from bed and rest your body at the same time.
    • Only work from bed when you’re sick. If you get into this habit when you’re perfectly healthy, your productivity is likely to suffer because a cushy bed is often too casual of an environment to inspire workflow. 
    • If you’re on a budget, consider purchasing a netbook. A netbook can cost as little as $300 and it’s often free when signing on for a contract with an internet provider. However, keep in mind that a netbook is substantially smaller than a standard laptop. Many times, the screen can measure as little as seven inches.
  3. Focus on less intensive tasks. If you’re a freelance writer or designer, your work often requires great attention to detail. But when you’re sick, that attention to detail is more than your system can handle. Unless you have rigid deadlines coming up, put paying work on hold and focus on behind-the-scenes tasks.
    • Consider marketing your services by sending a pre-made email or postcard template to prospective clients. Next, contact your past clients to let them know that you have open availability in the following month.

If you’re feeling sick for longer than you originally anticipated, it’s best to contact your clients to let them know that you’re feeling ill. Most will be very understanding. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s a good idea to spend your sick days trying to recuperate and book work for the following month.

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You can keep your freelance business afloat while recovering from an illness. Use these three productivity tips to keep things moving until you feel like yourself again and can return to a normal workload.

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