How Burn-Out Helped Me Re-Direct My Freelance Career

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I recently experienced burn-out for the first time- and it really knocked me. From fatigue to self-doubt, I started to question everything about freelance life.

However, this questioning caused me to think about the direction of my work. It helped me re-direct my freelance career and understand what I need to do to get a bit of passion and joy back into it.

Experiencing burn-out is a sign that something needs to change in your life, whether that’s in your personal life or career.

For me, I needed to prioritise my work-life balance, understanding the direction of my freelance career to reduce stress, find the right clients and ultimately feel good about my work again.

In this blog post, I discuss how I used burn-out to redirect my freelance career- and 5 things I changed about my work. I hope this can help anyone in a similar position!

Using burn-out to re-direct my freelance career

In the lead up to burning out, I took on lots of work without thinking about it, as I wanted to keep making money and support my dream.

This meant I never said no to any opportunities- and so my burn-out was inevitable!

As I recovered, I started to re-direct my freelance career back towards writing: my passion. I moved away from certain clients, finding new ones that fit with my direction.

laptop and books- how burn out helped me re-direct my freelance career

I am now back to building my career in a sustainable, effective way. I say no to the wrong opportunities, and I make my boundaries very clear to the right ones.

Now, I only apply for jobs that I want to do. I’ve also put more time into nurturing my client relationships- and I am so incredibly grateful for my regular clients.

I’m still learning, but it’s good to know that my experience of burn-out had a positive effect, helping me begin to find my way again.

5 ways burn-out helped me re-direct my freelance career

1. I moved away from social media

In the lead up to burn-out, I took on a lot of social media work. This was great at first, and I loved connecting with new brands in need of online promotion.

However, this social media work took a toll on my mental health- and I spent most of my days online, instead of writing- which is what I love to do.

I still do some social media work for my clients, but I pick and choose any opportunities so that I don’t get too stressed or bogged down.

2. I stopped working at the weekend

Before I burned out, I worked every weekend!

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with completing a bit of work at the weekend- and I sometimes do the odd bit here or there.

However, if you plan Saturday and Sunday like weekdays, you leave yourself with nothing to look forward to outside of work.

yay weekend in Scrabble tiles

Burn-out helped me re-direct my freelance career by taking time off at the weekend.

Now, I get excited to finish work on Friday- and I look forward to starting again on Monday.

3. I started writing more

While burning out, I started to examine the work I complete for clients.

I was so caught up on making money and growing my client base that I no longer found myself writing, editing or formatting many articles- and I knew this needed to change.

After burning out, I started to write and edit more. From blog posts to website content, I prioritised content writing jobs. I am a freelance writer, after all.

4. I went back to blogging

I never stopped blogging, but I took a short break from it when my freelance work picked up.

However, it was my blog that first started my love of writing online. So, after burning out I returned to blogging as a way to feel inspired by my writing again.

freelancer writing in a notebook- how burn-out helped me re-direct my freelance career

I also get chance to work with fantastic companies and brands on my blog, and it’s been great to invest a few more hours in it each week.

Burn-out helped me re-direct my career and re-consider my focus. Finding ways to enjoy my writing again was a big part of that!

5. I made connections with other freelance writers

Before I experienced burn-out, I was the only freelancer I knew. This soon became very isolating.

When I recovered from burn-out, I set about making connections with other freelancers on Twitter and other platforms.

Now I have several freelancer friends who I can turn to when I need a bit of advice, or just for a chat!

This has also helped me bounce ideas around with other people, and they give me fantastic advice about growing my career.

freelancer at a laptop with a coffee

At the end of the day, if you’re a freelancer, you’re the one who sets the direction and pace of your work.

Whether you complete online translation services for your clients or you’re a writer like me, it’s important to understand what you want from your work and the direction of your current and future career growth.

The mistakes I made led to burn-out, but this ultimately allowed me to find the direction I needed to push my freelance work where I want to go.

Have you ever experienced burn-out? How do you stay on the right direction when it comes to your career? How has burn-out affected your freelance career?

Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below πŸ™‚

Happy reading x

44 thoughts

  1. As a freelance writer, I can completely relate! I try not to work too much over the weekends, and I find that helps. But it’s so hard sometimes, isn’t it? I have a love-hate relationship with writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As a fellow freelancer, fortunately, I’ve not experienced burn out (yet!) but I know what you mean about not wanting to say no. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but worth it in the end – part of the reason for going freelance was to work with clients I like and on topics I have an interest in, so it doesn’t make sense not to stick to that! Glad you were able to turn your burnout into such a positive πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good to hear Lisa. It can be so hard to say no when your income depends on it πŸ™‚ that’s so true- the beauty of freelance work is that it gives us more freedom, so we need to find clients that we’re passionate about! Thank you x

      Like

  3. Loved reading this post! Sometimes we have to burnout in order to formulate a new plan. I’m glad you’ve found your boundaries and time off at the weekend sounds fab!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post Eleanor! Giving yourself a break, such as not working on the weekends, is a game changer. With freelancing schedules, it can be easy to get some work in 247, but giving yourself activities and days off to look forward to makes a huge difference!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Creating a work/life boundary is important, especially when freelancing. It’s so easy to do a bit of extra work here and there when you’re contactable 24/7. I’ve had to make sure I don’t look at any communications regarding work unless it’s within my work time

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think recognizing that you’re feeling burnt out and knowing when to take a step back is SO important. Especially with social media – that’s usually the first thing I take a break from if I’m overwhelmed.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is such an important post! So many of us can feel the burnout happening, but we don’t stop for a second. I was one of those a few months ago. Part-time study, blogging, writing, social media, running a home, looking after my family, it all became too much and in October. I realised I didn’t like the content I was creating, my personal writing or the message I was trying to create for my brand. None of it was meshing! It’s so crucial to your mental health to create a work/life balance. I’ve created better content moving forward, and plans for 2023 aren’t stressing me out as much. Excellent post! One we should all take notice of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Gemma! I completely agree, we don’t realise burn out is happening until it’s right on us- but noticing the signs can help. I’m sorry to hear you experienced burn out this year too, I hope you’re getting back into the swing of things now. I think producing content that you love is so important- and I’m glad plans for 2023 aren’t worrying you anymore. Thank you so much x

      Like

  8. Working from home isn’t that bad the only thing though as you said, you have to balance your home life with your work at home. I’m trying to get myself a remote job so I can sustain my blog includes buying more products so I can review and write about them. But this post is really informative –can’t wait to find myself a remote job! Manifest manifest! πŸͺ¬

    Liked by 1 person

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