There are many reasons to get into freelancing, but so many of us dove in because we had something we loved to do and we didn’t want the mental clutter of working in an office to get in the way. So why does it sometimes feel like you still can’t just sit down and complete your projects because it takes so much time to run your business?
Here’s some good news: you could cut out a surprising number of those chores with task automation. Let’s take a look at how to automate tasks to send your freelance business soaring.
Automate Your Invoicing
I don’t know about you, but I find it tedious and stressful to continuously track and follow up with invoices. As your business grows, so will your client list and that means spending even more time sending and tracking invoices.
There is invoicing software that can do this for you. It has a professional template already created and when your invoices are ready, it sends them for you. Better yet, you can link your payment options so your clients can quickly and easily pay you right away. When they pay through those links, the software marks the invoice as paid. It’s easy to see your outstanding invoices at all times.
Use Email Templates
There are probably certain emails you send time and time again: sending your portfolio to a new client, sending project proposals, requesting a meeting with a client, and so on. There’s no use reinventing the wheel every time.
For these frequent emails, create email templates. You can pre-write the message complete with all the links you want to include. When you need to send that email, all you do is pull up the template, personalize it a bit as needed, and send it. Just about any emailing system already has this option built-in, so you already have access to this for free.
Apply Expense-Tracking Software
Expense-tracking software is one of the handiest task automation tools around for freelancers. You have far more tax deductions when you’re self-employed and keeping tabs on them all will save you hours of work when tax time rolls around.
There are plenty of software options available. Many allow you to simply snap a picture of your receipt and the software imports all the relevant details and categorizes the expense. During tax season, all you have to do is process a report that lists all the expenses. In the case of an audit, the software will store the receipts you upload too.
Automate Social Media Updates
Posting on social media is a great way to build your reputation and your business. It isn’t a job that comes easily to everyone, though, and it can be time-consuming to craft original posts every time you have an update.
Did you know there are website plug-ins that will automate certain posts for you? You can use these plug-ins to automatically post every time you publish a new blog on your site, for example, or each time you add to your portfolio. Of course, it’s still a good idea to post other types of content on your social media pages from time to time, but an automated plug-in will handle the more tedious posts.
Set Up Alerts for Job Postings
Another task that tends to soak up a lot of time for freelancers is hunting down new business. There are multiple ways to automate that process so you get leads directly in your inbox.
One option is to set up Google Alerts. A Google Alert will email you any time it finds content that relates to specific keywords you’ve chosen. If you set up an alert for keywords related to the type of freelance work you do, Google will email you any time someone posts an ad for services you offer.
Maybe you’re a freelance graphic designer for example. You could set up a Google Alert for “need a freelance graphic designer” or “graphic design work.” You’ll turn Google into an automated lead delivery machine.
A second way to do this is to set up alerts on job boards that often have freelance opportunities. There are some job boards dedicated specifically to freelancers or to certain specialties like freelance web developers. Most of these boards let you set up alerts so each day, they email you the new job postings.
Automate Your Meeting Schedule
Sometimes it takes more time to go back and forth about scheduling a meeting than it takes to hold the meeting itself. If you’re tired of the endless emails, apply some task automation to your schedule.
Use an app or program like Calendly or the many other scheduling apps available. You can include a link to your calendar in your emails or on your website. This way, clients can see what times you have available and can request a meeting when it works for them. All you do is accept or decline and then show up.
Cutting Time with Task Automation
As a freelancer, you are the product you’re selling. You’re selling your time and expertise to clients, so it’s frustrating when that valuable time is taken up with minutiae and housekeeping tasks. Task automation can free up your time so you can boost your income while focusing more on the work you actually want to do.