Work as we know it is changing at breakneck speed. I was just featured in Upwork talking about the five must-haves for freelancers who want to work smarter—not harder (the ultimate goal!). Freelancing comes with a lot of, well, freedom and therein lies the conundrum for many. If you’re your own boss, are you going to stay on top of everything?

You can help yourself by making task systems so nothing gets left on the back burner. Find whatever works for you. Also, make sure you’re managing your finances. Figuring out the whole money situation is by far one of the scariest challenges. That’s why I created with Murray Newlands. It helps freelancers stay on top of their money.

Maintain focus and don’t let self-motivation slip. It’s a big part of the freelancing lifestyle, and there are endless distractions. Maybe you like white noise, co-working spaces, or do well on the couch. Wherever you are, make sure you schedule breaks. A small breather can make a huge difference in quality and productivity.

Finally, make sure you ask for advice. Ask for help. Embrace humility and recognize that you don’t know it all. Network, network, network. It’s easy to get distracted, but by following these five rules (and more!), you can come out ahead.

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