9 to 5 or freelancing: How do you balance the two?

Introduction

Working “9-to-5” can be so occupying and “satisfying” that you will never get to think of an extra stream of income because of the predictability of the flow of income and the demands most employers place on their employees. Working 9-to-5, however, should not cap your earning ability because your employer should control your salary and not your worth.

Many have come to see that having an extra income stream can be a step closer to their financial dreams—they desire to make more money as freelancers but don’t know how to balance the two. Someone else who is a freelancer desires to become a 9-to-5 employee because he/she would love to have a more stable income stream but wouldn’t know how to combine the two income streams. In this blog post, we will look at simple skills that can help anyone balance life as a 9-to-5 worker and a freelancer

“What Does ‘9 to 5’ Really Mean?”

A “9 to 5” job follows regular daytime working hours. In the commonly understood sense, a 9-to-5 job refers to employment where an individual works for an organization or business. Depending on its specific characteristics, a 9-to-5 job is also referred to as a high-paying job. Such jobs are structured to keep employees present and actively involved during designated working hours.

While many will consider such a working schedule tedious and demanding, it certainly has its mouth-watering benefits. 

9 to 5 or freelancing: How do you balance the two?

Below are the pros and cons of being a 9-to-5 worker.

Pros:

  • 9 to 5 provides structure and enhances productivity and time management skills.
  • Offers stability and weekends off for better work-life balance.
  • Fosters camaraderie, teamwork, and potential friendships with colleagues.
  • Easier planning of personal activities outside of work due to set working hours.
  • It usually includes benefits like health insurance and paid time off, as well as security.
  • Leads to a sense of mastery and expertise in one’s role or field.
  • Facilitates better communication with clients and partners operating during regular hours.
  • Convenient for parents with young children, aligning with school and childcare schedules.
  • It offers comfort and predictability for those who prefer a structured environment.

Cons:

  • A rigid schedule may not suit people with unconventional lifestyles or other commitments.
  • The repetitive nature of the job may lead to job dissatisfaction or burnout.
  • Commuting during rush hours can be stressful and impact work-life balance.
  • Fixed working hours may not align with employees’ natural productivity peaks.
  • There are limited opportunities for career advancement or salary growth in some 9-to-5 jobs.
  • Strict policies reduce autonomy and decision-making abilities.
  • Balancing work and personal life during emergencies can be challenging.

What is Freelancing?

The recent revolution in the global working ecosystem, particularly after the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, has led many to rethink the notion of ‘9 to 5’ work and embrace freelancing as a viable full-time job.

Freelancing can be considered a form of self-employment where individuals sell their skills and services to multiple clients on a project-by-project basis instead of being tied to a single employer. It involves working independently and remotely, often from home or co-working spaces, with the flexibility to choose the projects they want to take on and set their work hours.

In short, freelancing can be described as being an entrepreneur rather than an employee. Yes, freelancing can be compared to being an entrepreneur in the sense of being “self-employed.”

9 to 5 or freelancing: How do you balance the two?

Freelancers can be found in various industries, including writing, graphic design, web development, marketing, consulting, and more. They market themselves through online platforms, personal websites, or referrals, showcasing their expertise and building a portfolio to attract potential clients.

Below are the pros and cons of freelancing.

Pros:

  • It offers the control and freedom most workers desire during work. Freelancers have the autonomy to decide how much they want to work, what projects to pursue, and how they want to execute their work.
  • Freelancers have a great deal of flexibility over their working schedules. This is an excellent room for constant motivation and could reduce the burnout stress that comes from having to repeat the same task, the same time, over and over again.
  • Balancing work and personal life can be achievable for freelancers because they control a large part of their working schedule.
  • Freelancers get to work from home or any co-working space around; this reduces the chances of getting stuck in traffic or spending extra on transportation. 
  • The chance of working effectively is higher because a freelancer can decide to work during his/her peak working time without being streamlined to an organisation’s working schedule.

Cons:

  • Limited social interaction may lead to isolation because most freelancers do not always get to work in an environment with many people around.
  • A bundle of responsibilities to accomplish alone. Freelancers manage all aspects of their business, including finding clients, negotiating contracts, setting rates, handling finances, and meeting deadlines.
  • The income of a freelancer can be irregular, depending on the number and nature of projects secured.
  • Health insurance, retirement plans, travel allowances, and other benefits employers provide must be managed independently by a freelancer instead of someone working as an employee in an organisation.

How do you balance a 9-5 job with freelancing?

Balancing a ‘9 to 5’ employment with freelancing is achievable. Just because there are cons to both ‘9 to 5’ and freelancing doesn’t mean that running these two seemingly parallel working cultures will not be achievable or you will be unsuccessful. 

Considering all the factors affecting both working cultures will help you create room to foster both. Here are a few keys to do that;

  1. Conduct thorough research on the field you desire to venture into: As a 9-to-5 worker or freelancer who desires to incorporate the other – you must understand the advantages and disadvantages, the challenges, and the benefits of the fields/niche you desire to explore in both paths to be sure it’s a realistic combination. 
  2. Understand the schedule of the ‘9 to 5’ job you want to combine with the freelancing opportunity: 

Some employers offer flexible working schedules, while others do not. This will inform your decision on when and how to schedule customers/clients so as not to have a schedule that disappoints your clients while leaving your work unattended. 

  1. Prioritise the most urgent jobs before the less urgent ones:

Avoid wasting time on unimportant tasks, events, and gatherings.

  1. Be mindful of time and remain aware. You must be conscious of what needs to be handled, managed, or maximised.
  2. Prioritise the most secure and well-paying job/task before any other, considering both jobs.
  3. Connect with other freelancers who can help you when you are overloaded with tasks at your 9-to-5 job. As a 9-to-5 worker, build strong relationships with your colleagues so they can assist you when you urgently need to focus on your freelancing job.
  4. Set specific deadlines for yourself before the deadlines for the tasks assigned to you in either your freelancing or 9-to-5 job.
  5. Embrace tech tools for easier work and greater productivity. Artificial intelligent tools like chatGPT, Quillbot, Trello, Grammarly, Evernote, and Todoist
  6. Don’t Feel Overwhelmed: 

As a freelancer, you sometimes have to deal with issues such as creator’s block and work overload, and then you have to deal with your normal daily 9-5 responsibilities. Try to take out time; it could be 40 Minutes of continuous work and a 15-minute break. “Your health is your wealth.” 

We have an extensive blog post titled “Boosting Your Freelancer Productivity: Essential Tips and Tools for Success.” This should give you in-depth knowledge. 

Conclusion

finding a balance between a “9 to 5” job and freelancing is feasible with careful planning and commitment. Both working cultures have advantages and disadvantages; understanding them is crucial in creating a harmonious combination.

Thorough research into the desired field of freelancing and the flexibility of the “9 to 5” job is essential to ensuring a realistic and manageable schedule. Prioritising tasks, setting specific deadlines, and embracing technology can enhance productivity in both roles.

Building strong relationships with colleagues and connecting with fellow freelancers can provide support and assistance during busy periods. With a strategic approach and determination, individuals can successfully navigate the challenges of balancing these two income streams and enjoy the benefits of increased financial security and professional fulfilment.