Is your day a frenzied mix of sleeping in, spending too much time on your phone, going to your work shift, taking class and then remembering to send an invoice at 3am? Let’s Marie Kondo that.
Freelance doesn’t mean free time
Create a schedule and routine that sets clear boundaries between work and play. I try to work only between 9 – 5 and I designate certain tasks to certain days. My morning ritual is more or less the same each day and my weekends are generally work-free and dedicated to my obsessive love for my plants…and sometimes friends.
Try this exercise:
List all the things that you do (or could do) within your business:
- taking class
- researching dance related jobs
- sending invoices
- balancing your books
- organising photoshoots
- planning events
- meeting people for work-related coffees
- Researching grants
- Writing grants
Now look at the things that you do (or should do) consistently and set aside designated days and times for it.
For example, I generally spend Mondays doing the admin, such as replying to pressing emails, checking in with the team and generally formulating what needs to be done in the week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays tend to be dedicated towards marketing and content creation, Thursdays tend to be dedicated towards research and learning new skills and Fridays is finance day.
Setting these sorts of boundaries for myself means that I learn how to clock off at 5pm. And with my spare time? I can just relax as a fundamentally flawed human being and enjoy the whole process.
Sort your life out…into folders.
Ok, if you have a slew of cool photos that photographers have taken of you, have a range of edited videos on a hard drive somewhere in your car and your invoices are…wait where are they?
Sort your life out bebe.
You can get software such as Asana or Basecamp (a whole other article) but I honestly don’t think this is necessary as a freelance dancer. The only software I insist on is an invoicing software like Wave. You haven’t thanked me yet but, trust me, you’re welcome.
Personally I recommend you get Google Drive and create a series of simple folders that you organise your dance-related things into. Sort your professional photos, concept videos, contracts, reference letters, grant applications and all those bios you’ve written into their respective folders.
The next time you need to apply for something, send a head shot or provide examples of your work, it will all be there in a neat little series of folders for you to find instantly.
Put time aside for growth
People these days want a paint by numbers guide to becoming these organised and productive work machines. I’d like to convince you to actively schedule in your growth too. Whilst Monday might be your admin day, why not make Wednesdays your growth day? It can be a day in which you schedule visits to art galleries, read the news, learn how to paint or try your hand at photography.
People think that business life needs to be painful and end in burn out. If you’re going to be stubborn enough to pursue a creative career then walk the walk and get creative fam. Oop! You’re blushing cos I called you out.
Exploring new things means your work will keep evolving rather than becoming predictable. Tell me that isn’t great for your career.
Manufacture the accountability if you have to
If you’re that person who needs a deadline to do the thing (me) then freelancing can be a dangerous game to play. An easy solution? Manufacture the pressure, but make it fun.
Gather a group of you that meets up weekly to jam or take class and set aside some time to discuss the things you need to get done. When the next week rolls around, you’ve got to fess up on whether you’ve stuck to your goals. Make sure you cheer for each other.
I really advocate for the building of community. It’s vital for your mental health and an amazing community is what puts your city/country on the map with a reputation. Look at how New Zealand has put themselves on the map with such a tiny population! People fly from the USA to get into the Royal Family. Bring the work to you!
So in conclusion, I told you everything you already kind of knew deep down. But let’s be real, you won’t take your own advice will you? It’s ok fam, Aunty Ness has scolded you. Now go sleep, stay hydrated and sort your life out.
Groove Therapy is an organisation that focuses on dance as a vehicle for mental, physical and social change. Through an unrelenting obsession to learn, unlearn and contribute to the betterment of humanity, Groove Therapy teaches beginner weekly ‘no mirror, dim lights’ classes across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. For those who cannot geographically attend, Groove Therapy has a series of online courses. Get out of your head and into your body. Dance a little baby.