While terrible financial management is the leading cause of the downfall of freelance businesses, I would have to say the 2nd leading cause is bad time management practices.
The other disturbing fact is that many entrepreneurs believe they are using their time properly until they examine the wreckage after the business ship goes down. And they say, “Why didn’t I manage my time better?”
HOW ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT?
Let me tell you a short story…
Jerry was working in web development at a major firm for 6 years. He watched as leadership at the firm began taking shortcuts to gain higher profits. Customer service began to take a back seat to gaining more clients and sales.
Jerry knew that the costs of starting a traditional business were far from his reach. The expert had noticed that many of his peers had started taking on freelance clientele during their spare time. Jerry decided to develop his own website and display some of his high-quality work.
Clients began contacting Jerry and he was coding for small businesses in his spare time. As the clients began flocking to him for services, Jerry decided to resign his position and go full time in his new freelance venture.
Jerry was saying yes to nearly every client who contacted him.
This may have been Jerry’s problem
What started as 5 clients soon turned into 8 clients, 11 clients and the list grew. At first, Jerry was managing the coding jobs until he started getting requests for certain jobs to be completed quicker…
Remember, Jerry had a problem with saying no.
Jerry began pushing off 1 job to finish another job. Soon, the expert was missing deadlines and clients were becoming dissatisfied with the services. While Jerry’s quality was still top rated, his time management practices were extremely bad.
The inevitable happened… The bad reviews began to swamp the marketplace.
You see when a freelancer does something great and on time, clients will tell just a few people. But when a freelancer does shoddy work or is late, clients will tell the whole world.
So how is Jerry’s web development freelance business now?
Jerry went back to work for his old firm at a cut in salary. The bad reviews followed him as he sought new clients and his freelance business went down. And the primary reason was bad time management.
You can learn from Jerry
The story I just told you is adapted from a real situation that happened to one unlucky web designer. And it happens daily to dozens of other freelancers.
If they would have followed time management best practices, they would have had a greater chance at business success.
So in today’s post, I am going to share some effective time management tips that will help you run your business efficiently.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #1: EARLY TO RISE (UNLESS YOU’RE A TRUE NIGHT OWL)
While the temptation to sleep in since you work at home is prevalent, don’t fall into the trap.
Learn to wake up early so you can get the most out of your day. There is an old line that says “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, the early freelancer gets the best clients.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #2: CUT DOWN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is helpful in some ways with advertising your business, but spending too much time on sites like:
- and others
will take the precious time you need to complete tasks. I suggest you just set certain times when you check your social sites.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #3: EMAIL
Just like tip #2, email can also be a time consumption. I know that emails hold importance, but just treat it as if it was regular mail.
I suggest checking your email twice per day and spend a set amount of time in your email.
But make sure to let your clients know about it. One quick way to do so is to setup an autoresponder.
Below is a short template you can use to educate your clients about this policy.
Thank you for your email! Due to my current workload I am only checking email at 9am and 3pm.
If you need anything immediately please call me on my mobile phone so that I can address this important matter with you.
Thank you and have a great day!
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #4: BE SENSIBLE WITH DEADLINES
Maybe you assume you can finish the client’s task by Friday. But you notice that the client is not as concerned with the time as they are with the quality.
Doesn’t it make good sense to set that deadline for Monday, Tuesday or even Wednesday? This gives you leeway just in case you have any unexpected emergencies.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #5: YOU MUST BE WILLING TO SAY NO
This will be one of the most difficult tips to follow. After all, we want to bring in as many revenues as possible. But if you are loaded with work, it just isn’t fair to that client or any other clients you have.
That is the best way to say no too… “I’m sorry, but it just wouldn’t be fair to take on your project because I have my time filled now. I will let you know when I have slowed some.”
“When you say yes to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.”
― James Altucher, The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #6: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE
I believe every freelancer commits this time management error at times, but we must just say no to procrastination.
No matter how much you dread a certain task, it is much better to just get it done than to push it off.
Personally, I like to do a difficult task first thing in the morning and then integrate simple tasks in between the hard ones.
I find that helps my day flow smoothly.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #7: OUTSOURCE
I do not like to use the word freelancer; it is so generic. We are business owners and as such, we have multiple duties and responsibilities.
Successful entrepreneurs know that the only way to complete everything needed to keep their business running properly is by delegating or outsourcing various tasks. 1 person can lose their sanity trying to manage everything a business requires.
Find which tasks can be outsourced and you can use your time performing the revenue-generating tasks.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #8: CREATE A DAILY PLAN OF ACTION
I suggest that every evening, you plan your next day. You may want to carry a daily planner and write the tasks and order you will follow.
I once heard someone say that failing to plan is planning to fail.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #9: TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
If you allow it to, your work/life balance can turn into chaos.
Just like you have to plan your work, you also need to plan your play. You need to take breaks. If you don’t, you will start to dread your freelance business. Your family will suffer and it will affect your health.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIP #10: INVEST IN TIME SAVING RESOURCES
Every day there is new software and tools developed that can help you save time. I suggest you stay aware of any new resources that can help you manage your time in your freelance business better.
No matter what your freelancing niche is, time management is one of the most important aspects of creating a successful business.
Now don’t let time slip by… Use proper management and you can build a successful freelance business.
Have you had issues with time management? How did it affect your life? Let me know in the comments.