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  • Diana Schneidman

How to solopro while you also look for a job: Seven ways to free up time for freelancing and consult

If you’ve been to the job clubs and talked to the experts, it seems impossible to do any meaningful level of solopro (freelance or consulting) work when you are also looking for a job.

The experts say that looking for a job is your new job and it should take at least 40 hours a week.

So this means there’s no time left for any other work unless you give up the rest of your life, right?

Wrong. Or at least, I think it’s wrong.

You should spend only as much time on your job hunt as is required to do it effectively. This means not just paper work but networking, social networking (such as LinkedIn) and anything else you find to be helpful.

This effort may not take 40 hours—and indeed, you may have trouble filling up the allotted time space—if you take everything off your list that isn’t working.

Here are seven ways to carve more hours out of your life for freelancing and consulting:

  1. Don’t bother with Monster, CareerBuilder or any other mass-market job boards. I know, you’ve heard this before, but just like everyone else—including me—you’ve indulged anyway. These devices call to us like the Sirens called Ulysses because they appear to offer real jobs. But like Ulysses, consider having your mates tie you to the mast to withstand temptation.

  1. Cut back networking events to a manageable number. Choose which ones you’ll attend by the value of the contacts you make and how much you enjoy the events. (That’s a novel idea! You mean unemployed people have the right to enjoy life?)

  1. Don’t apply for jobs at companies you don’t like. For instance, companies that demand salary figures but don’t reveal their identity. That are located 60 miles from home. That have a terrible reputation in your industry. That are not even in your industry.

  1. Don’t pursue jobs that you don’t qualify for. You really think you’ll be selected as the best qualified candidate?

  1. Don’t compile too many tasks on your to-do list and then beat yourself up for not crossing them all off. You know, stuff like never eating lunch if not in the company of a networking contact. Or applying for three jobs every single day.

  1. Don’t watch so much TV. Especially if you are watching far more than you did when you were employed.

  1. Don’t mope excessively. Easier said than done but this is the best way of all to free up time for solopro-ing.

As with everything else in life, quality is more important that quantity. Job hunt more effectively and use the time you free up to go after rewarding solopro assignments.

Originally posted 11-1-09

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