Freelancers: How To Manage Your Time Properly
Managing your time can be the difference between profit and breaking even
When you start out as a freelancer it can be really challenging to keep up with your client's requests. Half the time you end up feeling like they are using and abusing you and the other half of the time you're trying to impress to keep the work rolling in.
As a freelancer, I know how tough it can be to push back on clients and stick up for yourself, the fear of losing the work is often too great but with effective project management, confidence in your skills, and pricing you can quickly grow your business to require additional freelance help.
Here are some really quick top tips from my personal experience, and those of some of my close freelance pals to help you out.
Manage Your Time
Managing your time properly can be one of the hardest things; remembering to put a task into a schedule/diary takes time, but if you're vigilant it will save you time in the long run. There are loads of tools out there to help with the scheduling side of things, the tool I use even has a time tracker on it so I know how much time I've spent on a task.
You have to remember when working hourly or quoting your time that your time is money. Don’t let work slip through the net because you're not managing it effectively. My top tip is to plan your day, leaving 3 hours for procrastination, emergency jobs, or self-promotion.
Make a List
Making a list is the difference between procrastinating and working on the things you should be. It's not about making a list for the sake of it, it's actually been proven to increase productivity and help motivate you to get more work done.
Using a list or project management tool you can see how long you predict a task will take, how many of those tasks you can fit into a day and what is a priority. Using a list or scheduling tool helps to give you an overview of what’s required.
When you quote your time on a task, it's often a good idea to add an additional 10% to what you expect it will cost. This can give you a slight buffer when a client adds small additional requirements you weren't expecting. If you want to slip them in free of charge and look great, it won't cost you. You can use tools like Skwish project management to quote as well as schedule and time track.
Freelancing is a daunting profession as you have to go out and get work yourself. If you quote your time properly you can afford to leave yourself an hour a day to actively seek new projects and develop your prospects.
Add New Tasks in With New Quotes
This is probably the biggest golden rule all freelancers break in a bid to stay employed. When a client asks for something out of scope or anything additional, add it as a new task or an additional quote on the same task. It's something clients will always do but you have to stand your ground and ensure you're making your business profitable. You're not a charity.
Ultimately as a freelancer, you have to value your skill set more than the client does. Quite often if you push back on a client they will accept it as they probably know they pushed you too far. If you're good at what you do and are confident in your pricing and your abilities there should be no question the client owes you an income for the services you're providing.