Some freelancers like to put their foot on the gas in the beginning of their career and never let go. However, driving fast all the time might make you crash sooner or later. For a freelancer, that means burning yourself out. Having a freelancing career means freedom and you should make use of that freedom.
As an employee, you’re probably going to be working pretty much the same average yearly hours. As a freelancer, you can chose to work less and still increase your earnings, especially if you know how to maximize working hours and get the most out of them: here are six tips to get you started.
1) Increase your rates
First and foremost, to make sure you are getting what your times is worth, increase your rates as your business improves. Many freelancers stick to their lower initial rates purely out of habit or because they are worried it will cost them clients. Think about it this way: what was your skillset when you started? How good was your work? Can you offer a better service now than when you initially set the rate? Are rates in your market increasing? If the answer to any of those is yes, you should think about charging more for your work.
2) Hire freelancer
When the workload starts getting too much to handle, the last thing on a freelancer’s mind is hiring someone to help them. Having someone working with you seems to go against some of the basic freelancing principles – only depending on yourself, having all the responsibility and so on. But it’s a win-win-win situation. Your client gets more work done, you get more freelance projects finished and the fellow freelancer you hired gets some extra experience under their belt (which as we all know, can be crucial at the beginning).
3) Avoid cumbersome clients
If you want to maximize your income, learning to say “no” is an invaluable skill to learn. Some clients end up wasting quite a bit of your time without paying you enough. If they constantly change their ideas, don’t want to pay you anything upfront and are generally too demanding, you might want to avoid them. Such clients not only cost you time and money, but also stress you out, making you less productive.
4) Track effort and results
If you want to maximize, you have to quantify. The idea of working with a stopwatch by your side can seem pretty off-putting at first. But from personal experience, even though it sounds terrible, it actually helps your productivity a bunch. Knowing that I have exactly sixty or so minutes to focus on a task and then I will take a five minute break has pushed me to do more work in the same amount of time.Additionally, tracking your time will help you realize where you are putting the most of your effort and what you’re getting out of it. Tasks which are time-consuming but hardly help your business are worth cutting back on, or even avoiding altogether.
5) Group similar tasks
Batching is a simple technique, but consciously employing it can lead to unexpectedly good results. As long as the tasks can wait, try to group them up by type. Have a time set aside for all phone calls, a time for all your social media marketing and so on. This will speed up your work process.
6) Extrapolate from previous work
Don’t be afraid to take a page out of your own book now and again, as long as your contracts allow it. You can’t reinvent the wheel with each project, so keep some things that might be useful for the future. This can be as simple as having an email signature or various templates for Excel, PowerPoint or Word.
7) Manage your time more productively
Last but not least, time management is essential if you want to earn more money in less time. It is all about managing your billable time better. You can increase your productivity by cutting out distractors. Try not to use your private phone during working hours and don´t spend too much time on facebook.