One of the main reasons many of us turn to freelance work is to enjoy a more leisure-friendly lifestyle. Ridding yourself of the dreaded morning commute feels amazing, as does being able to have a lie-in every once in a while and complete your work later on in the day. What’s more, if you’re good at what you do you can often work fewer hours for the same, or even more money than you’d make working for a contracted company. The perks of being your own boss!
Having such a level of freedom in your work life is incredible, but it does throw up one important question: how many hours a week should you be working? The answer isn’t simple, and there are a myriad of factors to be considered when trying to decide the size of your average working week.
If you’re a budding freelancer who’s just started posting services and adverts then it’s advisable that you put in the extra hours early on to build your reputation. The freelance market is booming in the U.K; it’s grown by 25% since 2009 to turn over an estimated £109 billion every year. Hardly peanuts. What’s more, the number of freelancers operating in Britain rose to 1.91 million in 2016, which was an increase of 36% since 2008. With such a fiercely competitive market and so many talented freelancers vying for work, working above the traditional 40-hour work week certainly isn’t a bad thing to get your freelance career off the ground.
This one’s rather simple. If you’ve got a large client base then it’s likely you’re going to be having a longer working week than a freelancer with fewer clients, unless of course the other freelancer does more work for their sole client than you do for all of yours put together. The key to finding the right balance here is to work out the reward-time ratio between clients. Are you spending too much time with a client who isn’t paying you well for what you’re doing? Likewise, if you’re spending a short amount of time on a client who’s paying you generously, then could you put more time in to improve your quality of work? This could impact upon your reputation down the line.
When all’s said and done, there really is no sense in working enormous weeks and juggling massive workloads if you aren’t happy. If you’ve built up an array of clients and can afford to let some go in exchange for more leisure time, then, by all means, go for it. As long as it’s financially viable, how many hours you work every week should be down to you; after all, you are the boss.