Everyone loves the freedom of being able to call their own shots and maybe dictate directions to a small team you manage. While work may be good, there are other factors like getting paid on time, choosing the best subcontractors or team members, client retention...and the list goes on. Sometimes it seems like no matter how many gadgets or apps we own and use often, there’s always something that nearly falls through the cracks.
Then there’s the time factor. How many hours a day do we spend talking to prospects versus those who become paying clients? Even veteran freelancers struggle with time management and organization but sometimes cutting corners isn’t the answer. At least not if you’re expected to deliver the same quality as before.
While every freelancing situation varies, there are some common denominators that remain a challenge for those going at it alone. Not enough business, not enough revenue or time in the day. Then again, you may need to outsource certain tasks to a professional. If money is funny, look into places like Legal Aid or a business mentor that offers pro bono services.
Set aside one day to market your business. Whether it be once a week or every other week, there’s no need to check ads on a daily basis. A lot of people get caught up in social media and depending on how you use it, there can be a lot to unpack. Blog posts, visuals, tagging, keyword phrases, and then responding to people you’ve come in contact with.
Unless contributing content is the basis of your business, you may want to time how often you spend on certain sites. Set up notifications for when you get questions about a product or service that you offer. If someone has a complaint, it’s best to put that fire out ASAP but not before you’ve understood the problem and have a solution. Otherwise, view analytics, A/B test results, and other related tools on a day when you can take time to notice patterns and tweak these as needed.
Get a calendar that’s separate from your personal calendar. If you’re the person who creates content, it may be best to do this anyway. One reason is that the best social media post times vary from one tool to the other.
Another reason to get a calendar is to create time for yourself. You may have days where there’s no getting around this but a work-life balance is important in avoiding burnout. It happened to me early on and these days, I do what I can to vet BS clients before agreeing to do a job.
Stop engaging in time-wasting tasks. Visiting a personal social media page or networking site for more than a few minutes is a waste. Cooling off is important but there are some instances when we cannot walk and chew gum. Using your printer to make physical hard copies of everything is a waste, save certain things as a PDF.
In my history, Bull Shinola clients that talk about everything except the job needed during the initial meeting usually turn out to be a waste. Either they have too many change requests, want to do a major alteration or addition after the deal’s been made. They also tend to be slow payers or try to justify not paying you.
You may also need a software upgrade. Recently, I tried going with an MS Office alternative for my writing. As much as I hate to say it, Microsoft is better than most office suites when you have multiple tasks or need certain features to make tasks shorter.