Starting out on your own, making relationships with clients, seeing the paychecks start to come in; you might start to worry about how to manage yourself as a freelancer.
Managing yourself and your time is an essential component in making sure your freelancing venture is a success. At the start, everything seems a bit overwhelming, which is why it’s so important to start organizational habits as soon as you can.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to make sure you keep on top of everything. Here’s 5 simple tips you can implement now to make sure you know how to manage yourself as a freelancer.
How to Manage Yourself As A Freelancer – 5 Top Tips
1) Plan your day
One of the biggest things with being a freelancer is using your time effectively. We need to be organized, productive, and good at prioritizing.
A good way to make sure that we are efficient and stay on track, is to make a plan for each day. Do this in advance. For example, we can make plans on a Friday evening that will carry us through the following week.
There is plenty of software, both free and not free, that can help a freelancer with productivity, organization, scheduling, billing etc.
However, make sure you don’t get too overwhelmed with different software’s and especially make sure that you’re not spending on products that you really don’t need.
3) Learn to say NO
Learning to say no is important and oftentimes very difficult to say. It is important not to take on extra projects and clients where you do not have the time to meet their needs. If you do not say no and instead take on these clients there is a risk your work will deteriorate and this may have many negative consequences, particularly for your existing clients. It is also important to say no when you don’t have the skills required to complete the project required and can’t get someone with the skills to help you complete the job. This is very important because it can damage your reputation and future potential to attract and land clients.
It is also important to know when you should say NO to a particular client. These clients are more trouble than they are worth and are not worth the time and effort in completing the project. They are hard to get in contact with and take several days at a time to come back to you or they are constantly trying to get more work than initially agreed done for free. These clients are usually easy enough to spot and once we have worked with one or two we become excellent at identifying them.
An effective way to deal with such clients would be to say something like “I think that another freelancer will be more experienced in your industry or Unfortunately my workload is too busy at the moment and I wouldn’t be able to dedicate the time needed for this project.”
It is always a good idea to keep a close eye on what your competition are doing. Watch their social media and identify what they are doing right etc.
If they are getting more clients than you, you need to analyze why. Maybe they have a more effective marketing strategy than you, or they are easier to find etc. By identifying these you are now better placed to take action and adjust your marketing strategy or make yourself more visible to clients.
By taking note of the quality of work provided by your competition you can set up ways to enhance or offer an even better service. When you’re networking with other freelancers you can share and exchange knowledge. You can then see if there’s any way you can better this to make you stand out.
Researching the type of service you want to offer will help you deliver a better service and satisfy the needs of your target market. You need to find what your target market needs help with? How would they like that problem solved? Can you solve that problem yourself with your current strategy or do you need to learn a new skill? Could you join forces with someone else to offer a complete service to your clients?
5) Aim for Quality over Quantity
One of the most common ways people get overwhelmed and struggle as a freelancer is by taking on too much work. This has a detrimental effect on your business for a number of reaasons.
First of all, it’s going to be almost impossible to deliver high quality work when you’re rushing through multiple projects and trying to meet deadlines. Creating long lasting partnerships is essential in your freelancing venture to succeed and you’re not going to get follow up business from clients if your work is sub-par.
Secondly, by working on too many projects at once, you’re almost certainly going to miss deadlines. Over promising to your client and missing deadlines is a sure-fire way to upset your client and miss out on repeat business.
Lastly, trying to get through all of that work means your going to have to put in a lot more hours than what’s feasible. Meaning you’re probably going to get burned out.
When accepting projects, make sure you allocate adequate time for your projects, in fact, keep the following in mind. Under-promise, over-deliver. Give yourself a little more time to complete the project to try and turn a high quality product over before the deadline. This leaves a really great impression with the client.
If you keep these 5 simple steps in mind, you’ll know exactly how to manage yourself as a freelancer.