October 2, 2018 | Tags: 15 minute, article writing advice, business, content marketing, freelance, freelance writing tips, freelancing, online course, productivity, time management, work at home, work from home
This freelance question is one I see posed often to freelancers. And, quite honestly, how many hours freelancers and freelance writers work each week can be all over the place as it’s different for each freelancer. It’s also probably different depending on how many clients they’re juggling that week.
I’ll answer for myself and share some posts that works for other freelancers.
I average about six hours of work five days a week. Sounds pretty good right?
Now, think back to the last time you really worked for an hour at your day job—like didn’t stop emailing, writing, interviewing, researching (not scanning social media), and analyzing content and idea. That’s what I mean by one hour. It’s one of the 10 challenges I mentioned in this blog about the downsides of being a freelancer–not being able to daydream and still bill clients for it.
According to a 2016 study, the average full-time freelancer works 36 hours per week, reported this article.
Some weeks I work on weekends—I find Sunday nights are quiet and I can get a lot done that day, like scheduling social media, and I’m more productive than on a Monday morning. I also like sleeping in some mornings so if working at night is better for me, that’s what I do. (Do you want to become a freelancer? Check out my self-directed online courses on Teachable.com.)
If I’m very busy with a ton of deadlines—and most freelancers know that the workflow is usually ‘feast or famine’—I might work six days a week for 10 or so hours a day. But I try not to do that too often because I’ll get burned out.
During those six(ish) hours about five days a week, I’m probably working for about 10 clients so I have a variety of work to keep me busy. I also might work 10 hours on one day and only two the next day if I’m traveling, attending events, or taking the day (somewhat) off for personal time. Last week I worked on a weekend day so I could spend some afternoon time in the middle of the week with my husband.
But I also try to stay in touch with previous editors and continue to pitch ideas to the editors I’m turning in assignments to, so that “touching base” and “researching new ideas” for clients I’m turning articles in for averages about three hours a week. That’s referred to as “marketing” in the freelance world. You need to constantly be pitching new ideas, finding new clients and marketing yourself.
Lately, I’ve been trying to track my hours using a tool like Toggl.com. When I use it properly, it helps me see how often I’m spending writing and researching for each client, as well as marketing for myself. I need to get better about turning it on to track emailing hours because I suspect that’s at least three hours of my time weekly.
Here are links to some other freelancers who answered the question of how many hours they work a week differently than I did:
Another freelancer friend, Laura Vrcek, told me that while she bills on average 30 hours a week, she works no less than 40. “I had this one mentor-friend at a PR agency who recommended to me that if I can bill six hours a day, I’m in a good spot in reaching my ‘in-house salary equivalent’. So that’s my goal every day–if I hit six hours and it’s 3 p.m., I might stop there. Other days, that’s not feasible and I work much later,” Vrcek said.
Tina M. responded on AMAFeed.com that she works about 40 hours weekly for several steady clients each week as a freelancer.
Freelancer Tamara Berry said she usually works about 25 hours per week.
Freelance writer Jennifer Mattern said freelancers should not aim to work seven days a week. I agree!
Freelancer Nebojsa Todorovic discusses how much one “effective” freelance hour is when compared to the 9-to-5 world.
On this Reddit thread in 2014 a few freelancers shared their average hours worked per week.
How many hours do you work as a freelancer?
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