8 Productivity Tips For New Freelancers

Kristen Walters

Woman sitting on the floor with a laptop.Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

It's a tough job market out there. People are clamoring for good help, and it can be hard to get your foot in the door. So you've got to stand out from the crowd and show them why you're worth hiring. One way is by being as productive as possible so that you can provide real value quickly.

Here are some tips to help you get started in the world of freelancing.

1. Don't overbook yourself

If you're starting as a freelancer, chances are you're taking on work from people you've gotten to know outside of the job market. The last thing you want to do is burn bridges and offend them by turning down requests for work or being slow in getting the work done.

Get comfortable working for one client at a time until you have enough work to fill your schedule. That way, you'll be able to get everything you're working on done on time and leave your clients happy.

2. Automate everything you can

There are many, many ways to automate things. For example, with IFTTT (if this, then that), you can create recipes that will do anything from making phone calls to sending you text messages.

These recipes tie together different web services, which can be a great way to automate your business activities. For example, you could create a recipe that sends emails (to prospects and clients) based on certain keywords or phrases.

3. Use time-tracking software

Using time-tracking software is an example of automating your business activities. Many people use these programs to ensure they aren't wasting time on the job, but you can use them just as easily to monitor your productivity.

For example, I've got a client who is paying me by the hour, and we have a deal that if I don't reach an hourly goal of 120 words for each article that I'm writing, I won't get paid. So, my time-tracking software is essential to making sure that I reach my goals.

To start tracking your time, turn on the program and open the file containing today's work. Many programs will even automatically track your time fo your, taking screenshots every so often and tracking your activities. So you don't have to think about it, get to work.

4. Use a to-do list manager

Many different to-do list managers are out there, such as Wunderlist, Astrid, and Google Keep. If you want something more robust, check out Trello or Asana. Personally, I prefer Wunderlist and Google Keep. They're both great for creating lists of things to do and keeping track of them so that you never miss something.

Please create your own list of tasks that you need to complete for your job, and check them off as you go. It'll keep you motivated because you'll always be making progress. They're both great for managing projects and keeping track of your to-do items.

5. Keep things simple

This is a general business tip, but it's just as valid for freelancers. As a freelancer, you want to make things simple for your clients. The easier the process is, the happier your client will be, which will lead to more work and repeat business. 5) Use The Best Tools You Can

This seems like a no-brainer, but it's a mistake that many freelancers make. You'll never be able to compete with the bigger guys if you're using the same old tools. But, of course, there's no point in spending a lot of money upfront for software that you're not going to use regularly.

6. Focus on perfecting your processes

As a freelancer, every hour counts. You may even work for yourself from home so you can save time on commuting. The last thing you want is to waste time doing things that don't make you money. Instead, it would be best to focus on working only a few hours each day and making the most of those hours. This will require you to create processes so that you can get things done quickly. It'll also take some time to get them set up, but once they're in place, you should save a lot of time.

One way to improve your process is by automating things. For example, if you can create a system where you can copy and paste data from one spreadsheet to another, that's going to save you a lot of time. Work hard at perfecting your processes so that you can minimize the amount of time it takes to do things like invoicing, scheduling, and accounting.

7. Be a good communicator

This may be the most important quality for a freelancer to have. As a freelancer, you'll be interacting with clients directly. Therefore, you'll want to make sure that you are always on the same page regarding deadlines and expectations.

In addition, you'll need to be able to communicate changes in the project scope. If you've underestimated a project, then you'll need to let your client know. The last thing you want is for your client to be surprised by a sudden change.

You'll also need to maintain frequent communication with your clients. For example, if you're sending invoices, you should tell them when the invoice will be due. You'll also need to make sure that you keep your clients updated on how long a project will take, whether or not there will be any delays, and what you'll be handing in next.

8. Meet your deadlines

This is the most important tip that I can give as a freelancer. If you cannot meet deadlines, it will become tough for you to do business. This is especially important when dealing with clients. If you tell your client that you'll have something done in a certain period of time, then give them an estimated deadline and follow through on it, or else you run the risk of losing them as a client.

You don't want to lose clients because they are unhappy, especially when so many other freelancers can do the work. This is also a good business practice for creating trust between you and your clients. If you can set and meet deadlines, then that's an indication that you're reliable. It's a tough job market out there, but if you can nail these seven things, you'll be ahead of the game.

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