Time for Freelancer Spring Cleaning

This may be the year you decided to add a new service or branch out into something entirely different than what you were doing before.  If things aren't quite going as expected - don't fret and definitely don't quit!  Sometimes the habits we've come to know as a method to the madness don't always translate to all lines of work.  Maybe you need a new social media strategy or change the way to manage your business overall.

Pinpoint the Problem

Many of us have the bad habit of doing everything else except for what we really need to do.  This is especially true when we hear someone make a comment about something they noticed.  While knocking things out ASAP is always a good habit, it can take away from other time-consuming tasks.

For instance, anyone who has a blog should get into the habit of checking for dead links.  I've been guilty of doing this and it's extremely embarrassing when a potential sponsor or anyone else that provides money-making opportunities points this out.  One way to remedy this is to do a free broken link check at least twice a month.

Manage Time Better

Recently, I let go of a pretty counteractive habit.  For over a decade, I've spent hours per week perusing gossip blogs and message boards.  The latter is a true time killer because there are often many topics to explore and change by the minute, in some cases.  To add to my misery is watching TV and by the end of the week, this adds up to hours in the early 10s.  While it was worse when I had cable (20+ hours) and a job I hated, the time could've been put to better use in order for my business to succeed.

You may benefit from an online timekeeping system or you may want to take the manual route.  One benefit to online timers is your clients may feel better about seeing how you use your hours.  Otherwise, once you experiment with ways to save time, you may find that you can slash certain tasks in nearly half the time.

Stop Listening to Naysayers

A pattern you may have noticed is people who say you spend too much time on your freelancing business not only don't understand but often don't have much going for themselves.  While your Negative Nancy/Ned may have a point, they don't know everything.  Changes in technology, client time zone differences, and the current economy play strong roles in how much productivity time we put in.

However, if you find yourself gazing over the screen or looking up the same information in search of gold and coming up blank near the end of the day, this isn't the time to be passive.  Taking charge is the main reason why many choose to work for themselves  - with it comes good and bad.  If your money resources are limited, look at your library's online business section and see what they have to offer.

Keep Good Records

Finally, probably the thing most of us are guilty of when we get busy but it can also kill our future income.  When you bookmark a site for future reference, do you know where exactly this is located? Keeping bookmarks or online files categorized is the thing that can save our hide.  Even better is to download whatever property you want to keep for yourself in case the domain is no longer in use.

This is also to say that you shouldn't assume something will always be there.  I can recall visiting some really hot freelance writing sites that didn't have a memorable URL or used a shortener.  After some time passed, I realized that I didn't know the site name nor did I remember the referral source.  If this sounds really dumb, it was close to 20 years ago when I began this journey.  Over the years, I found myself having to keep logs for coupons, freebies, and other online marketing tools.