As a freelancer, one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn is to work smart and not hard. In the freelancing world, time is currency, and the more of it you have, the better it is for you and your clients. That said, our Day Translations blog has a few professional hacks for freelancers we’re sure you could use to make everything run smoother for you in this sometimes crazy world of freelancing.
Keep reading to pick up some really great and helpful gems you probably didn’t know you needed until now.
Freelancers are Business Owners
Before diving into our professional hacks, we thought we’d let you know; just in case you didn’t realize, that you are in fact a business owner. Look at it this way, more than likely you entered the world of freelancing to have a little more freedom, to do what you love and to do work and take on projects on your own terms.
If we’re being honest, that is in fact the definition of a business owner. You are your own boss and now it’s time to put systems and processes in place to let this business work for.
That said, let’s get right into some professional hacks you can use to make running your freelance business more efficient and even more rewarding.
4 Professional Hacks for Freelancers
#1 Think and Act Like You’re a Business Owner
First thing’s first, you have to act the part. That’s the only way you’ll get better at it. That said, it’s time to take control of all aspects of your work life and not go against the goals you’re working towards.
Having a solid plan is the best place to begin. In this plan, you should be clear on how you’re going to do your work, the kind of work you’re going to be doing, when you’re going to do it, and also why you’re doing it. Therefore, creating an inclusive and fair schedule where your hardest tasks come at a point in your day when you are most focused, carving out time to do follow-ups and other administrative tasks as well as time away from work.
The real business is mapping out how profitable each project is for you and that your clients understand the time and effort the project takes based on the fees you charge them and the value of work they are getting.
This brings us to the final point of thinking and acting like a boss; your finances. Finances are a big part of any business, and with that in mind, if you haven’t already done so, then it’s time to take control of your finances. Depending on how big your freelancing business is, you can opt to have an accountant or financial advisor. If that’s out of your budget for the moment, you can simply look at your monthly earnings and decide how much you should be saving, what you need to reinvest, and what you need to be paying yourself.
#2 Automate Some Processes
As a freelancer, the fact of the matter is that you simply cannot do it all. This is where automated systems and procedures come in. As mentioned earlier, your time is your currency, which is why time management is so important. Between trying to have a work-life balance and not going crazy doing it all, automating some systems and processes is bound to carry you a long way.
Choosing apps that can help you find new gigs or create and send out invoices for you helps a lot. Alternatively, you can use a free Google Sheet invoice template to create detailed client invoices. If you’re big on social media, you can find tools that automatically post for you. You can even get applications that take care of client contracts for you and help you with the follow-up and dissemination process. In addition, automating data extraction from invoices can also be a great way to streamline your business operations.
There are so many tools out there to help automate those smaller tasks that can become mundane at times. A great way to find the best tools that work for you is to speak to other freelancers about what they use for client invoices or look up reviews on different products and services.
#3 Tackle Tasks One-by-One
Freelancer or not, we’ve all been there. You want to get everything done, and you want to get it done now. But we all know that’s not possible, so the next best thing to do is take things one step at a time. This involves doing one task at a time. This is the only way you can be productive. One of the best ways to go about this is by creating a to-do list and doing each item one at a time. You can use time-blocking strategies to get this done.
#4 Be Comfortable with Every Client You Take On
Doing what’s best for you is never bad, and saying no when you have to falls right into this category. There are going to be clients who are simply not a good fit for you, and that’s quite ok. It could be a case where you’ve worked with them in the past, and it’s proven to be more difficult than it was rewarding, leaving you drained and unfocussed more than anything else.
This takes us to ‘firing’ a client. As long as you and your client share different views and opinions regarding your work, how it’s done, and the processes that you’ve developed, then it’s simply time to let them go. Be polite, be honest and be clear when communicating the news to them. Be clear about what the issues/issues are and be gracious in letting them go. You may just meet them in the future, and they’ve worked on being a better client.
That’s a Wrap! … For Now
There’s so much to cover and so little time. We hope these 4 professional hacks for freelancers that we’ve shared help you on your journey. Of course, not everything will work for everyone, but a working knowledge of the possibilities is a great place to start.