You’re doing it! Even if it was an inconsistent start, you now have a steady stream of client work. There are even clients in the queue! With consistent work comes the feeling of accomplishment, pride, and knowing you have a successful freelance business.
But with all this work comes new problems: how do you manage multiple projects? Each project has specific requirements, deliverables, and timelines. As a freelancer, you are in charge of project management. It’s up to you to find systems that will track and deliver results to clients. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the long list of important tasks. Instead of allowing chaos, check out these essential elements that every successful freelancer incorporates to stay ahead of their workload.
It might seem obvious, but getting organized is essential for managing multiple projects. Map out timelines for each project due date. Then, make a more detailed timeline of each project with action items and how long each milestone will take. Create due dates for yourself so each milestone is getting completed. From there, prioritize which freelance projects need attention now, and which can wait.
Create folders in your inbox and track client emails and make sure to respond in a reasonable about of time. When attempting to accomplish everything at once, you quickly get overwhelmed. No one can do their best work in that state. Batch your work and focus on one project at a time.
Track Your Time
Your time is your most valuable resource. As a freelancer, it’s up to you to track the time for each project. For some people, this is a major upside. For those who are procrastinators, this is a nightmare. Depending on how each project is structured, it's important to track the time.
If client work is paid hourly, you will definitely need to track the hours. It’s still worth tracking the time for the set project to know how long it took. From there, measure the hourly rate. If a client project is $1200 and it takes 12 hours to complete, the rate is about $100 per hour. If it takes longer, the hourly rate decreases. Either way, knowing how much time is being invested helps determine if ongoing work for this specific client is worth it.
Communicate With Clients
As a business owner, the relationships you build with freelance clients is everything. Those relationships create ongoing work as well as solid referrals from happy clients. Unhappy clients leaving bad reviews can really damage your reputation. Without your freelance clients, you don’t have a business.
It might seem obvious, but having strong communication with clients is key in keeping them informed on their project and confident in your professionalism. Communicate where you are in a project, explain your process as you go, continue educating them why something is done in a certain way. If a project is going over budget or past the deadline, communicate that to the client well before. They will be grateful for your open and honest communication, even if they don’t like the message. They will receive the information so much better when they aren’t left in the dark.
If you get to the place where you must juggle multiple projects, it’s a welcome sign that your freelance business has reached a steady new stage. It also means you need to manage your workload and keep those fantastic clients around.