Freelancers are people who have taken the leap of faith and managed to quit their regular 9 to 5 cubicle jobs for accomplishing professional freedom and growth. The starry thoughts of the absence of job delegation, no boss hammering down at project deadlines, and super-flexible working hours are tempting yet far-fetched. However, the truth is that Freelancers face the biggest challenge of managing their time well and for good.
Time management becomes an issue for writing freelancers because of two reasons. The first one being the good old ‘Writer’s block’ and the second one obviously being the freedom to operate at hours they want to. Lack of a disciplined schedule becomes the root cause of time management problems, which might eventually lead to loss of income.
There has to be a cheat-sheet for managing time well as a Freelance writer. Also, what can freelance writing professionals do to complement their income while they pursue time management on the go?
Let’s find out.
Be ‘Cover Letter’ ready
Time management comes into the scene only when you have project deals at hand and closing in on project deals will require you to market your work. As a freelance writing professional, a great Cover Letter is your best tool for marketing your profile to interested clients.
So, always have a customizable and solid Cover Letter ready so that you can share them as soon as you spot a new opportunity. Given the extent of the competition in the freelance writing field, the faster you send out your cover letter, the better will be the chance of you landing up with your dream freelance project.
Figure out your productive hours
Every professional has some fixed hours during the day when they feel the most active and end up accomplishing a larger number of tasks. While some people are able to complete tasks during the AM, others might be nocturnal achievers.
Figuring out the most active part of your day is the key to getting most things done. Therefore, you must figure out your time and get to work only during these hours so that you do not end up procrastinating or slouching on your work table.
Don’t let the clients fool around with your rates
Most of the freelance writers who are starting career as a blogger often face the issue of clients negotiating against the proposed charges. Not sure of what they are worthy of, these freelancers give in to the expert negotiations and end up working at comparatively lower rates. On the other hand, experienced freelancers often end up wasting a fair share of their time while they are trying to convince the clients that the proposed price is fair and square.
Such situations must be avoided and writing freelancers must stick to their charges and choose to simply walk away if the client begins negotiating beyond the obvious. If writers manage to save time off these negotiations, they can get more work done which is obviously a good trait for time management.
Sort your tools
To function well as a great freelance writing professional, you will definitely need some tools such as certain software, image creation tools, Grammar check programs etc. It is a good habit when you keep these tools handy and save your time. Graphical tools such as Canva, Plagiarism and Grammar assisting tools such as Grammarly and project management tools are some of the great products that successful freelance bloggers and writers swear by.
Always charge for Client meetings/sessions
The process of getting hired as a freelancer involves an initial session(s) with the clients. While some clients may award the project right after a single session, others might require more than a single session to finalize things.
Freelancers should stick to the rule of charging for such sessions/meetings so that the time gone into the brainstorming and project finalization gets rewarded. They must not forget that every minute off their schedule is precious and can churn money for them when managed wisely and appropriately.
A schedule will be of great help
The best time management tip for a Freelance writing professional is to create a work schedule and stick to it. However, this schedule should be realistic, provide ample time for relaxation, let you reflect on client feedback and get things done.
While creating a suitable work schedule, you must keep in mind that a fixed window for medium/big projects is ideal. You can plan out the initial tasks and complete them within the designated time period which is less than the deadline provided by the client. This would be helpful when the client has feedback for submitted work and requires you to revise it.
Do not overbook yourself
We have been taught that time is money. So, we tend to take up a lot of projects thinking that we will be able to manage time for all of them subsequently, which is obviously not true. This only contributes to stress at work, leading to loss of focus on all the projects.
Since writing has a creative streak to it and a lot of brainstorming goes into the process of compiling a piece, it is better to stay contented with only a certain number of projects for a time period. Overbooking the schedule will only lead to faulty submissions and pissed-off clientele.
Dig into the project requirements before your commit
This is probably one of the most important requirements for managing your time well as a freelance writer. One couldn’t agree less that the dearth of well-paying writing jobs often leads us to take up almost any kind of project that might or might not suit our professional standing and goals. However, this can do more damage than what one can imagine.
Before committing to a new project, you must carefully communicate with the client and make transparent decisions for the completion of the project. You should be clear on the following queries:
– Arrival on a mutual payment charge and mode
– The extent of research involved
– Transparency with the task delivery dates
– Client’s expectations. Always ask the clients to share a sample of work they would like to expect
– Critical client feedback when necessary
– Time-window for appraisal, if any
– Number of hours of weekly availability and log-off days
Based on the kind of writing service a freelancer provides, these questions might vary.
Let your clients know that things take time
Depending upon the kind of challenging clients one may encounter, freelancers often have to adjust the time duration that would be required to finish a project and deliver it. Reducing the actual timeline for a project completion will always have an adverse effect on the quality of the submission. The same client will not be happy with such a situation and might ask the freelancer to rework on the drafts in exchange for good reviews and no further payment. A tough situation, indeed.
Therefore, never entertain new clients who request impractical fast work turnaround time because it will eventually lead to an unpleasant work schedule and loss of revenue or reputation.
As tempting as it might appear, Freelancing is also a very challenging line of professional given the fact that you can’t be sure of fixed paychecks at the end of each month. Always abide by the professional mantra of ‘Quality over Quantity’ which is religiously followed by successful freelance writers who manage their time well and are making good money out of it. By following the right directives, you will soon be making the same kind of good money by following your passion for writing.