How Freelancer Hoarding Hurts

This comes on the heels of my doing somewhat menial tasks like cleaning out email, checking blog links, and making sure new commenting guidelines are in place. Sounds boring, eh? Well, today's one of those days when I don't have much to do and when it's super-warm, doing a solitary task makes sense.

As I'm a student and freelancer starting a separate venture, being organized is key to success and being taken seriously. Back in the day, I'd sign on to random freelancing outsource sites, and rarely did I keep a record of what I'd signed or was aware of the rights imposed. All I cared about was getting paid.

Times have changed as many freelancing companies have merged or ridden off into the sunset. If you've been at this for a minute, you may have realized that striking out on your own pays off in many ways. However, if you're happy being a gig worker, being organized can still work to your advantage.

Reasons for Freelancers to Keep an Organization Schedule

1. It can affect getting paid. If you're not receiving payments through PayPal or a similar merchant site, never assume...even small amounts. Sometimes large payment processing centers like Payoneer have unusual communication methods or hiccups (I experienced this a year ago) and your bank account may suffer. Keeping a log of documents upon entering a work agreement can protect you. Otherwise, you may have funds floating in cyberspace.

2. It looks good to clients. Other than showing up to a Zoom meeting in your nightwear, not being able to locate documents during a virtual meeting can kill a relationship...before it happens. While it's common to forget small things that come up in conversation (mine is Periscope), things like past work or proof of something that can't be found online are your responsibility if you use it to plug services.

3. It takes up less space. This should be the main reason but often many freelancers spent more money and time looking for new storage options -whether it be a larger container or rented space. If the business is truly growing, this is great but a waste if revenues are down and/or re-branding is taking place.

Quick Tips for Getting Organized (when you really don't want to)

  • Invest in an accordion-style binder - you can organize by the month or quarter. However, the larger you go, the faster you can separate things like receipts, past sales, or legal documents. If you have more than one specialty, you can use one for each industry if the two aren't related.
  • Convert electronic docs into PDFs - this is super-easy to do if you receive things via Google Drive. If you don't have a Gmail account, opening one can save you some hassle. The reason is that shared documents can be changed by the user without notice, which may affect how (or if) you get paid.
  • Create a schedule - most people choose Sundays because it is considered a day of rest and this is a task many people want to finish ASAP. For the novice organizer, twice a month is ideal but some people feel better when they do it every quarter or semi-annually if they can afford to