Freelancing is great, isn’t it? You get paid for the amount of work you do, not a salary. This could lead to a great and fruitful career, but it can also lead to stress when you don’t have much work. Whether you’re busy or quiet, freelancers tend to forget some tasks during their working week – essential non-paid tasks.
No, I don’t mean working for free. I would never advocate giving your time and skills for no pay. I mean the tasks you need to do to keep your business functioning. These things take time and it’s easy to forget to schedule them in. You end up doing them at the weekends or evenings and that’s never a good idea. I mean tasks like…
If you don’t send your invoices, you don’t get paid. While payment through Upwork is quick and easy, for the clients you have elsewhere you need to compile invoices. That means totting up the charges for the week or month, including summarising a breakdown for the client. Writing invoices can take time and without them, you won’t get paid. Even with a routine, it can be a drain on your time so make sure you schedule an effective amount of time. What about chasing slow to pay clients? That will take time too. Read about how to compile an invoice according to UK law.
If you’re lucky, your existing clients will not always provide you with enough work to make a comfortable living. If you’re like the rest of us, you will always need to reach out to prospective new clients. That means self-promotion on social media, a blog, networking or anywhere else you might meet other contacts and potential new clients. Freelancing is as much about effective self-promotion as it is about doing the work. Don’t neglect this aspect of your job; make sure you schedule enough time.
Whether you print off copies of everything or simply organise your digital documents into certain sub-folders, you’ll soon get annoyed if you can’t find anything! Filing is one of those thankless tasks but one you simply must do on a regular basis to ensure your paperwork is in order for your tax return or for you to find relevant documents for your clients. You need to be organised with this or you’ll waste a lot of time on unnecessary work.
Clients will want to talk to you by Skype, by email and by phone occasionally. There is nothing wrong with that. Most will keep it brief, realising that the more of your time they take up the less time you have to do their work! Unfortunately, by accident or design, sometimes they last a while. A 10-minute consultation can quickly become 1-2 hours and before you know it, you’re behind. I will post an article in the near future about how to keep client-contractor engagement brief, but for now, just realise that clients will want to talk to you. You need to make time for this too.