Freedom to Freelance

Freedom to Freelance

Amongst the many hats career minded professionals wear are organizational skills, sometimes good yet sometimes egregiously lacking, which all of us need for the betterment of long-term freelance client-contractor relationships.  Avoiding cataclysmic situations, including lack of proper planning, could thwart any positive strides we make during our days.  Therefore, thanks to our guest poster Esther Guy, we’ve been bestowed with these wonderful tips which should keep freelancing professionals on the ‘straight and narrow’ during our days.

Balancing Freelancing Lifestyles

The greatest benefit of being the Sunday afternoon freelancer, per se, is the freedom to choose when you work and the assignments you accept.  Work-life balance is the Holy Grail but how can this be achieved when being your own boss demands so much of your time?

The key is to be organized.  Below are some tips which might help you retain your focus:

  1. Plan your day in advance; divide the available hours between time you can bill for, marketing time, administration and accounting duties.  Ideally you want an 80/20 split between the work you can charge for and the stuff you can’t.
  2. Write a list of things to do and review it throughout the day to ensure that you remain on track.  Constantly re-prioritise the list so that the tasks which deliver the greatest return get completed soonest, not forgetting tasks that plan for the future success of your business.
  3. Keep a diary, electronic or on paper, to track where you’ve been working and the expenses you’ve incurred.  Most of us don’t remember what we did yesterday so trying to remember jobs completed or costs incurred in weeks or months gone by can be challenging without a record to refer to.
  4. Set up 12 envelopes or folders, one for each month of the year, and each night put your expense receipts away safely.  Not only will you avoid a desk full of paper and prevent losing valuable receipts but your accountant will love you forever (and you’ll save on those end of year book-keeping costs!)
  5. Download your bank statements monthly and reconcile your credits and debits.  This way you will know who owes you money and can keep control of your spending.
  6. Each quarter look at past performance and profitability, and then use this information to plan for the next three months.  Can you afford to spend more on marketing?  Is there room in the budget for a laptop upgrade?  Do you need to cut back on spending?  Having a clear idea of where your business is at throughout the year prevents any nasty surprises and enables you to grow and develop consistently.

Being Simplistic Is Key

Overall the key is to keep things simple.  The business plan you created when you started up as a freelancer should become your bible, refer to this document frequently to help keep your plans on track.  If you haven’t read yet, the freelancer growth giving rise to slasher careers isn’t a joke; the field is getting that powerful.

Freelancing remains the 5000 pound gorilla which millions may begin, yet only hundreds will fully finish. In order to remain ahead of the learning curve, start today by clearing your desk, planning next week’s diary or filing your receipts neatly and rediscover why you chose this career path by giving yourself back the freedom to freelance.

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