The freelancing industry has skyrocketed in popularity and is projected to grow even more over the next few years. Dubbed the “gig economy,” working for one’s self has turned into the dream of budding entrepreneurs around the world.
Successful freelancing requires more than a unique skill set that you can build your career around. You need to be well-rounded enough to know the ins and outs of running a business, too, including how to keep it organized.
The good news is that once you do the hard work upfront, it is much easier after that! Take the time to streamline and organize your freelance business with these tips. Then you can enjoy the benefits that made you want to be your own boss next!
1. Set a Regular Schedule
There’s a learning curve that almost every freelancer goes through while adjusting to flexible hours. At some point, you’ll be swinging from the late night workaholic tendencies to the lax, “I’m-my-own-boss” opposite extreme.
These extremes aren’t a bad thing at first. They’re almost necessary, even, for you to figure out where the balance is.
Once you know what you can juggle and how much time each thing takes, you can set a regular schedule.
Maybe you need eight hours a day to do your grind, or maybe you can knock it all out in four if you focus and use time management strategies.
You’ll know your needs best. But once you set a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule, stick to it!
2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
As you adjust to working for yourself, you’re going to run into aspects you’re not familiar with. These are the times when you need to know yourself well enough to decide which step to take next.
For example, keeping track of the financials is crucial. Are you up-to-date with the tax laws? Do you know what is required for you to keep your license in good standing? When are the due dates for your payroll taxes if you have employees?
If finances like these are a weakness of yours and you’re not interested in becoming an expert, you need to invest in a CPA.
Similarly, if your work requires you to socialize and network, but that’s not your forte, a marketing person could be a good investment.
Get to know what your freelance business needs and recognize whether you want to, or are capable of, putting in that effort.
3. Go Paperless When Possible
A quick way to get disorganized and stay that way is to try to store everything in paper format.
The digital era is here and constantly evolving. It has brought with it significant resources that can make your job easy for you. Try to eliminate extra work for yourself by investing in programs that let you:
- Combine all your apps into one platform
- Store your documents, including receipts, on the cloud
- Offer an interactive scheduling option to limit unnecessary contact with clients
- Create a website that has all your contact info and social media integrated with it
A customer relationship management system makes your entire business run more efficiently.
4. Build a Process
Every business has a workflow that is involved when it comes to dealing with a client. Each person may have their own unique needs, but as a whole, there’s a process you can build off and automate where possible.
Think about your typical interaction with a client. What’s your step-by-step process? Where can you streamline this and make it easier?
You might be able to create a workflow with processes that include:
- Creating documents from premade templates for easier access
- Having an FAQ section on your website to direct clients to
- Designing an automated email response system
- Automating your invoicing procedures
Make a paper and pencil list or create a graphic organizer. Map out your typical flow from your first client interaction through the payment and follow-up. Then see how you can build that process into an automated system to free up your time.
5. Choose Your Priorities
As a solopreneur, you set the rules, but you also have a lot of responsibility. Prioritizing your schedule is going to be the key to your overall happiness.
There are some time management techniques that can help you do this if it’s a struggle for you. In general, though, keep these expert tips in mind:
- Set boundaries for those around you. Let everyone know when your daily free time is and when you shouldn’t be disturbed. This helps you avoid interruptions and they feel comfortable knowing when they can talk to you.
- Learn your time-wasters and set up strategies to avoid them. If you catch yourself scrolling through social media when you should be working, download an app to block those websites during specified times.
- Always prioritize your personal life over your business when possible. You need to find a balance between relaxing and enjoying friends and family and being successful as a freelancer.
It may take a little time, of course. But if you remember why you became your own boss, you should be able to find the balance you need.
With over twenty million people navigating the freelance world, you can do it, too! The key is to get, and stay, organized, so your time is better spent on productivity and enjoying your hard-earned freedom!