Being a solopreneur or freelancer is not for everybody. The gig economy can be enormously stressful even in good times … and 2020 has certainly not been “good times.”
A study published last year by the Freelancers Union and Upwork found the freelance life can take a heavy toll on mental health … and that was before the global pandemic turned the world on its head. Researchers found that 51% of the survey respondents feltanxious or concerned about managing their finances, and 73% have experienced nonpayment or late payments. Adding to the stress, 46% reported being anxious about compliance with taxes, insurance and financial filings.
Another study, this one from Leapers, found close to 40% of freelancers say working in isolation “significantly or somewhat stressful,” and 57% felt they’d benefit from being more connected to peers in similar situations.
If you’re a solopreneur or freelancer, no doubt you recognize some (maybe all?) of these stressors. The bad news is the stress has likely only gotten worse for most freelancers during the pandemic. Financial insecurity is greater than ever, the line between “work” and “life” is so blurred it’s nearly invisible, and feelings of isolation are running high. Given all the extra challenges, it’s no wonder that a good work-life balance feels impossible to attain some days.
The good news? we’ve found three terrific apps that could make a huge difference.
- Managing the overwhelm starts with understanding
The unknown, for most of us, is far more stressful than the known. When you earn your own way as a solopreneur or freelancer, knowing your financial status and being able to spot trends, gain insights, and keep track of compliance is critical. For example, if you aren’t aware of the cyclical nature of your work, you may start to panic when this month’s numbers look off compared to last month’s. Likewise, if you struggle to keep up with invoicing and late payment reminders, you could be hampering your income stream unnecessarily. And we’ve all had that panicky feeling of not being able to put our hands on the document we need for that next client call. That’s where a business management app like vcita comes into play.
This app combines a number of critical business admin functions – like invoicing, CRM, scheduling, marketing, and email – in one app. It’s designed with a focus on making your customers happy; the built-in client portal is a really nice touch, and elevates project organization and presentation. (They’ve also built a solid resource library of COVID-related material to help SMBs move online, reopen safely, and stay connected to clients.) Prices are incredibly reasonable when you consider how many current apps this one tool could replace.
- Build healthier habits to tame the stress
When you create your own income stream, a “day off” is rare. Solopreneurs have a different drive that a lot of folks, and don’t mind putting in the time to get the pay-off. We’re used to working hard and putting in the long hours. But you may be sacrificing your mental and physical health in the process. That’s why I love Way of Life. It’s an intuitive habit tracker that helps you break bad habits and reinforce good ones.
The app lets you quickly add lifestyle habits that are important to you — like exercise, good eating, hydration, even flossing your teeth — and monitors you for “good” days and “bad” days. You can set reminders, add journal notes, and use the dashboard to get a big picture view. They offer a free two-trial, and you’ll get a really good idea of whether this can help you in those 14 days.
Image source: Way of Life app
- Don’t go it alone … your mental health matters
Even with the best apps at our fingertips, sometimes we need support from a live human who gets what we’re going through. Hello,Sanvello. They call themselves “a place to feel better, wherever you go” … and it really is.In addition to being a self-care reminder, it helps you find peer support, coaching and ever professional counseling and therapy as needed. (Bonus: many health care plans will cover the cost; check with your provider.) Based on the proven principles of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and mindfulness mediation, Sanvello goes beyond self-care to help you find relief for anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges.
Image source: Sanvello.com
Tech has played a significant role in keeping the work going during this pandemic. Now it’s time to leverage it to keep you going … financially, physically, and mentally … as we move forward into what’s next.