Roundup: Staying Motivated as a Freelancer


For freelancers, it’s hard to stay motivated to work. It doesn’t help that we work in environments with plenty of distractions… That we don’t have bosses breathing down our necks… performance evaluations to worry about.

But slacking, procrastinating and getting lazy have terrible consequences for freelancers. If we leave things undone until the last minute, we get more stressed out than necessary. We’re forced to cram, sacrificing not only our sanity and health, but also the quality of our work.

What’s a freelancer to do when the TV and bed are beckoning? When the last thing we want to do is work?

In this post, I’ve made a roundup of some of the best posts on motivation for freelancers (in no particular order). I hope you find them useful!

Top Resources on Motivation for Freelancers

Ten Tips to Stay Motivated – Even When You Really Don’t Feel Like Working

My friend Laura Spencer of Freelance Folder always has good advice for us. These are ten of the best things you could do when you just don’t feel like working (I’m using tip #5 to finish this post).

Small Tips to Stay Motivated Freelancing

A short list, but some of these tips you may never even have thought of, such as tip #2. It could work though.

Stay Motivated While Freelancing

I totally agree with tip #6 – those things can really be a big time suck. And tip #7 was a new idea for me. I’m going to try it!

Freelancers – How Do You Stay Motivated?

Real-life tips from freelancers on LinkedIn. The diversity of responses will help you appreciate how different things work for different people. Check them out and chime in with your own response.

10 Tips to Stay Motivated, Sane and Productive

Lots of good tips here. I especially like tips #4 and 10. How would you apply tip #4 to stay motivated?

How to Stay Motivated as a Freelancer

Step 8 was a surprise, and I was relieved to see it. I totally agree! I also like the warning not to “force what isn’t there.” Sometimes feelings of laziness are a sign that we’re in the wrong profession.

Freelance Writers Can Stay Motivated with These 7 Tips

While written specifically for freelance writers, many of these tips apply to other freelancers too. I like the first two and should do them more often.

How to Stay Motivated As A Freelance Writer

Some of the tips are for writers only, but you could adapt them to any type of work (if you can get past a few typo errors. Hey, writers make them too!).

Staying Motivated Through the Years

More common-sense advice in this post from fellow Freelance Folder contributor, Amber Weinberg. Pay particular attention to her second tip — it’s what I tell freelancers ALL the time!

Five Ways to Stay Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like Working

This post is short, but I picked up a new idea (tip 1). Try it — it’s great for days when freelancing sucks and you just want to give up.

Keeping Yourself Motivated

Here’s a deeper look at what really motivates us. Read and learn.

Staying Motivated or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the work

An honest account of how a work-at-home Mom ran out of steam and rekindled her passion for working again.

Staying Motivated Without a Boss

Be your own boss. This post shows you how.

Staying Motivated: 10 Great Tips To Increase Your Motivation

Most of these ideas are counter-intuitive, but I can vouch for their effectiveness. Sometimes you just need to trust your creativity.

Over To You

Do you know of any other resources for freelancers who want to jumpstart their motivation and passion for working?

Share your tips and experiences in the comments below and let’s learn from each other.

Lexi Rodrigo Savvy Freelancer

Creative Commons License photo credit: Dan4th
8 Responses to Roundup: Staying Motivated as a Freelancer
  1. Lisa Stoops
    May 4, 2011 | 1:10 pm

    OH staying motivated is so important! I’m bookmarking this post for when I have my days!

    Usually when I’m feeling unmotivated it’s because I’m disappointed with the way something has gone (like I didn’t reach my income goal, or writing goal, etc.). I just suck it up and make some small changes and keep going after the goal that I have in mind. So I think the goals you have must be something you really want because I always seem to dust myself off and keep plugging away.
    Lisa Stoops´s last blog post ..New Health PLR Membership Site

    • Alexis
      May 6, 2011 | 12:26 pm

      @scieditor – Thanks for taking your break by reading The Savvy Freelancer! I’m glad you liked my comments. I figure the roundup wouldn’t be as useful or interesting if I didn’t add my two-cents. Enjoy the weekend!

    • Alexis
      May 6, 2011 | 12:27 pm

      @Lisa Stoops – So true about disappointments and frustrations causing us freelancers to get de-motivated. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves!

  2. scieditor
    May 6, 2011 | 11:53 am

    Great roundup! I love how you structured this. Your comments were what I cared about most. In fact, I’m under deadline, so I only read the tips you highlighted.

    Deadlines are an excellent way to stay motivated. Allowing yourself to take breaks helps too!

  3. Mark Anderson
    May 8, 2011 | 8:52 pm

    Dear Lexi
    You asked me to post my comments about motivation. I am going to post my thoughts when I get my site up. But here is my thought about the motivated blog, I sent you.
    About motivation if I am working on something for myself, as I am right now, its hard to stay motivated when I am tired from working all day and then come home to take care of things around the home.
    Now if this was my full time job freelancing, in which I hope it will be soon. If I am hired and my client expected delivery in an agreed specified time frame, I would certainly do my best to get the project done for him/her. If I can stay focused and motivated to work for some one else then I feel that I could be the same for my self and my business. Motivation and determination will come through in your favor.
    I talked to someone this morning in a rest home while visiting my mom. The nurse had paint on her nails and was telling me that painting is her hobby. In the course of the conversation she told me that she had a lot of people who wanted her to paint for them. I’m talking about art here. She told me that it was just a hobby and she wanted to paint,but didn’t want to have to paint.
    I’m thinking I would like to somehow how get a writing service and have to write. It’s because I want to do this and quit working a regular job, that doesn’t allow any thing extra. Of course I could be wrong but I would love to try it. Knowing it is what I have to depend on, then I feel that I could get motivated to give my customer what, we agree on. It’s the customer who will build my business. And that is who I am working for.

    • Alexis
      May 11, 2011 | 11:48 am

      @Mark Anderson – Thanks for sharing. You’re right, as freelancers, we have to stay motivated to complete our client work. That’s our obligation to our clients. However, sometimes, we get discouraged or start procrastinating… for various reasons. That’s when the tips in the posts listed above can be very useful.

  4. Laura Spencer
    May 11, 2011 | 11:28 am

    Hi Lexi,

    Thanks for including my Freelance Folder post on motivation. It CAN be a struggle sometimes.

    You have a great round up of resources here and the comments are helpful too. :)

    Good job!

    • Alexis
      May 11, 2011 | 11:46 am

      @Laura Spencer – Thank you, Laura! Freelance Folder is one of the most reliable sources of information for freelancers ;-D

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