Life as a freelancer can get a little hectic sometimes, especially if you’re working with several clients at the same time, but it doesn’t have to be. With effective time management and solid organization skills, you’ll have happy clients and your work day will be a lot less stressful. No matter what your skill set, you are providing a service to someone who needs it. Follow these simple tips to help you get started freelancing, or make your existing gigs a lot easier.
Have a Workspace
Just because you can work from your couch, doesn’t mean you should. Having a designated workspace will keep you motivated and remove the temptation to turn the television on “in the background.” If you can stay focused, your projects will be completed more efficiently and of a higher quality. Have all of your tools within reach so you don’t have to run off to find your laptop charger in the middle of a rendering. Try to stay free of distractions and plan to take time away from your workspace to define breaks and work. Having an office space that is functional and comfortable will help you to increase productivity.
Know Your Goals and Priorities
When you are your own boss, you have to designate your own goals. You decide how many projects you take on, and you also need to know how many projects you can handle. Before you accept projects, know what you want to accomplish. Are you looking to build solid rapport with one client? Or are you trying to grow your client base? Keep these things in mind when deciding what projects to take on and on which ones to pass.
It’s important to know how to set goals for your freelancing business and why it is important. Setting goals allows you to grow because you’ve identified what you want to get out of your career. Make sure that your goals are specific and whether you can measure them to know if you’ve achieved your goals. It’s also necessary to have goals that are realistic, thus achievable. Once these are straightened out you’ll have a better grasp on your freelance career.
Organize your Deadlines
Once you have your goals in line, you will be clearer on how much actual work has to be completed. If you’re working on several projects, make sure to organize your deadlines, not only by when they are due, but the amount of work it will take to complete them. Larger tasks may be divided up so you give yourself smaller due dates along the way.
There are many different tools available to manage tasks. Try out different options to find out what works best for you. Spreadsheets, apps, and calendar reminders are all effective ways to monitor deadlines.
Keep Track of Your Projects
Much like organizing deadlines, keeping track of each project is key to staying on top of your tasks. While it can be part of your deadline list, additional details are necessary to stay organized. Know not only when tasks are due, but who their contact is, what details should be included and any other pertinent information to the task. Know how much time you spend on each project so you can track your hours to make sure you’re charging smart rates.
Some people find it effective to have the client complete a form with all the information needed in order to complete the project. That way you can start a project with all of the data you need to complete it. There is nothing like starting an assignment only to find out you are missing an important detail. Waiting to hear back from your client can throw a wrench into the gears of your project, especially when your client has projects of their own to work on that may take priority.
When working remotely, especially on a freelance project, communication with the client is necessary to make sure you’re both on the same page. Whether through email, phone calls, or video chats, keep track of all communications and schedule them in advance whenever possible. Some clients work in completely different time zones or on different schedules, so consider such factors when negotiating. Figure out which is best for you, then remain in touch. Regardless of how you converse, try to get important details in writing whenever possible so you can have a paper trail and records of what has happened.
Organize one place that is most effective for sharing documents and files, and decide with the client in advance how revisions will be tracked and completed. Many of these tasks should be done during the preliminary stages of planning for the project. Knowing how to communicate effectively will allow you to work without any speed bumps along the way.
Once you have the reins on your freelancing tasks, your projects will be completed efficiently and your productivity will increase. By communicating effectively, staying organized and being prepared, you will be successful in your career as a freelancer. Goals will keep you moving forward and growing your business as a freelancer.