Traps Freelancers should not fall for

  

Freelancer guide tips advice business

Although there are many perks to being a freelancer - working from any location, deciding your own hours -, one of the disadvantages has to do with money insecurity. Some clients might try to get advantage of you in terms of money or expertise, so here are some signs you need to watch out for.

Although you and your client might establish a close relationship, you have to remember this is still business and they have to abide by the rules. If you comply with their requirements, they have to do their part as well. Therefore, should they ask you to pay you later, you should say no.
Delayed or nil payments
When you are just starting out, you might feel like you have to say yes to any project that falls on your hands and you have to accept any terms they impose on you, even if that entails getting paid later on. Even when your new client might seem genuine, you can't rely on their word alone because if you do, they might never pay you.
Although you probably won't get paid upfront, you can ask for a deposit or a sign an agreement that states you will get paid at some upon completion of the project.
An alternative to this debacle is to work for a renown company or to go through a third-party service, such as Upwork.com, Guru.com or Escrow.com, which keeps the money safe for both parties until the project is completed.
Redo work for free
Newbies tend to make this mistake as well. Let's say you've completed an assignment, you followed the instructions and you did exactly what you were asked for, but once you've submitted your assignment, your client has changed their mind and asks you to make some changes for free. Although you might be tempted to say yes just to make your client happy and establish a business relationship, this agreement is not far for you as you are actually working for free and instead of acquiring a loyal client, you are just getting a client that will most likely continue taking advantage of you in the future.
Just remember that time is money and you need to value yourself for others to value you as well. Just because you are freelancer and you are starting out, that doesn't mean that you have to offer free services. You can if you that's what you had in mind or if that extra work will help you develop your skills, but if you have already completed your formation period and now you are offering professional services, you deserve to get paid for every hour you invested in any company's project. Just remember that you have to charge for extra work unless you made some kind of mistake or failed to follow instructions.
There are other times clients might ask you to do extra work for them. For instance, let's say a client explains the project to you and then asks you to quote them a price and once you tell them how much the project is going to cost them, they suddenly remember other tasks they forgot to mention when they explained the project to you. Thus, the add the new tasks and expect you to charge them what you had initially quoted them for. This is called scope creep and it's another trap you have to avoid.
To avoid misunderstandings, make sure you mention you tell your client you will charge for scope creep from the beginning. That way, they can opt to either pay you or do the extra work themselves. Just remember that you have to do what you are getting paid for, nothing more.
Sharing your knowledge
Unless you are Swedish, you probably had to pay good money for your studies and even if are a Swede, getting that degree cost you time. Then why share that knowledge with a client for free? Besides, if you do share this knowledge, then why won't need you anymore. As a freelancer, your skills are valuable because you are doing something they are unable to, but from the moment they know how to do your job, you've lost a client.
If a client asks you to teach them how you do your job, tell them that it would take a great deal of training to reach your knowledge level and it's quite a complicated process. Then they'll have two options. They can either keep you as a freelancer or they can invest in training someone on their team or hire someone full time which is probably more costly than hiring the services of a freelancer.
Although you might be tempted to make many of these mistakes in the beginning, you should avoid falling for these traps from when you start to keep any potential client to take advantage of you and to get paid what you are worth.

 

How to maintain work-life balance

  

remote working

One of the advantages of working at an office is that there's a cut-off time. Once you leave the office, your leisure time begins. That's clear because the structure of your time is linked to space. For remote workers, however, it doesn't quite work that way.When the start and end of your work day depends entirely on you, it becomes harder to secure a work-life balance.

Work-life balance should allow you to dedicate enough time to both your work and life matters in order to meet your daily goals in both areas. The ideal is to meet your work and life goals on the same day.
First, you need to find a job that allows you to maintain a work-life balance and prepare for the remote transition. This position should offer you flexibility and you can find some of this jobs on Remote.com. If you already have a job you are passionate about you but it doesn't give you much room for personal life, then you should advocate for your needs and make your supervisor aware that you need more flexibility at work. Before meeting your supervisor, you might want to outline a plan of action to achieve this goal.
Once you've found a job that provides you with the flexibility you need, it's time to set your remote working schedule and stick to it. Assess where you are at with your workload by midday so you can determine what remaining key tasks you are yet to accomplish before you clock out. If you have a heavy workload and you feel that you need to work extra hours, it might be a good idea to wake up earlier the next day but still clock out at the same time.
In any case, try to avoid extra hours by pushing yourself during your work hours and planning your workweek carefully ahead of time. The most important rule, however, is to set a cut-off time each day and adhere to it. Force yourself to be on schedule. This will help you push yourself during your work hours, keep you motivated and respect your personal space. To achieve this goal, you have to accept the fact that things can wait until tomorrow. Commuting to a physical office helps you have a cut-off each day. In order to switch off the work mode, you need to have a ritual when work is done to be able to transition to leisure time.
Avoid distractions that might hinder your concentration and productivity. If you need something in the background while you work, instead of watching television, opt for classical music which promotes cognitive thinking.
Staring at a screen while sitting for hours can become overwhelming. Building in break times throughout the day will help you clear your mind and increase your productivity. You can either take a walk or stretch during 10 to 15 minutes so you can return to work refreshed.
If the issue is your home and you are getting distracted with everything around, you might want to try a change of scenery. You can go to a local coffee shop, or even to a library, if you can't work with the noisy background of the coffee shop. Some people prefer to have a coffee shop or a library they are loyal to and they can only work there, but if continuously changing scenery from time to time will help you be more productive, you can always google venues that comply with the characteristics you are looking for and change it from time to time to spice things up.
Time is an elastic thing. You can save time by doing the same chores in a different way. It's all about perspective. For instance, instead of spending time driving to a supermarket and shopping there, you can just order online which will save you the time of commuting back and forth and walking the aisles of the supermarket. This might even save you money not only on transport but on the price of the products and you will avoid the temptation of buying products you don't need.
If working at home distracts you because you are constantly reminded of the chores that need to get done, you might want to consider hiring a cleaning service, or if you want to spend less money, you can even hire a teenager to do specific tasks.

 

The importance of good equipment

  

The importance of good equipment

The biggest resource when it comes to freelancing, and indeed life, is time. “Time is money” is a cliche that we throw around a lot, but it's absolutely true, and in the context of freelancing, time is what freelancers tend to charge for in one way or another (be it by project or by the hour), and so it is really important to have equipment that can support your needs and not to hinder your performance or to slow you down.

The central piece for most freelancers is a laptop computer. The computer was invented to make things easier for humans, although sometimes, ironically, they make matters a lot worse. When you are charging somebody for your time, you can't charge them for the time that your laptop had frozen, shut you out of your browser, decided to spontaneously reset and then taken half an hour to turn back on again - your employers will expect you to have all the sufficient equipment within reason to complete your work with continuous flow. If your computer is showing some signs of age, it might be worth taking it in for a maintenance check up or to consider a replacement, because, god forbid, if you put this off too long it could completely break one day during a vital assignment with a tight deadline. Keep your software updated and keep your computer healthy for maximum efficiency resulting in maximum productivity output.
Much like having a working laptop, having a working internet connection is also absolutely vital for most freelance work. You can teach yourself to type without error at impossible speeds, but if your connection is slow, you will forever be waiting for your browser to load pages which, with today's technology, should be instant. This is particularly important for work that pays by the project as the more projects you can complete in an amount of time, the higher your income, and you will only be able to flit quickly between pages if your internet can keep up with you. You can check your connection quality and speeds using several applications or web based programmes. This can be difficult for those who wish to work remotely so that they can travel, because while many coffee shops and public establishments have free wifi, sometimes it is restricted by data use and slow, and can end up slowing down your work flow. If this is the case, it might be worth investing in a portable wireless router which operates from a sim card to ensure that you always have a trustworthy connection while you are in reception, although these can be expensive.
Software is just as equally as important as hardware. If your work is written, this is not so much a problem as most companies will usually request or accept documents written in Microsoft word, which is available on most operating platforms, but also most word processing applications will allow you to convert to a Microsoft document format, however for more specialised work which uses applications such as photo editing software or music editing software, there are often industry standard programmes such as Adobe Photoshop, which employers will expect you to be up to speed with, and while there are other applications which are perfectly capable of producing similar or even better results, you can't skim over the essentials that most employers will look for. While they don't always have to be your default editing programmes, it helps to be familiar with them as sometimes employers may specifically ask you.
Having the right equipment is an investment, as often it will set you back before you have even begun your work, but, over time, if it allows you to work quicker, more efficiently and more professionally, it should pay for itself and start to see a profit over “making do” with the basic tools that almost every modern person possesses. As well as saving you money, it can potentially save you a lot of patience, as technical problems are often very frustrating and stressful, particularly when deadlines are looming. Do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a nice laptop and some nice software, your wallet and your sanity will thank you later.

Self Promotion

  

Self Promotion create work

When you work as a freelancer, you effectively create a brand for yourself, and as you become more and more established you should, in theory, be able to decrease your efforts in finding work as potential clients may be searching for you and requesting your services without you having to approach them. It is a good idea to have a strong online presence and a programme of promotion so that you can advertise your services and so potential clients can see your work and find your contact details online.

One form of self promotion is your work itself; if you do a good job for your client they are likely to recommend your services to friends and other businesses within their professional circles. If your physical presence is required in the work, or if you meet with your clients, or indeed if you post any material to them, it may be a good idea to send or to take a few business cards with you that they would be able to pass on to other contacts. If you don't meet with your client, make sure your clients have all your contact details, and perhaps provide a link at the bottom of your email signature that leads to a contact page or to an email reply as this will ensure that anybody can easily find a way to speak to you about potential work.
As well as word of mouth, there are other ways you can promote yourself. Before you start an advertising campaign, consider your target audience. Also consider just how remote your work is, as if you are working, for example, as a freelance photographer, you probably do not want to send your advertising too far away from your point zero as you will also have to travel that distance to successfully complete your work. If your work is quite restricted to a small distance, creating posters that you can display in cafes and on noticeboards is quite an effective method. Printed media doesn't tend to stray too far from your base, and gives potential clients something physical they can hold and keep.
If your work is completely remote, you can look more into using the internet as your main advertising space. For designers and visual freelancers, using a visual platform is a fantastic way to connect with potential clients as you can let your visual speak more than your words can. Having a bright and attractive Instagram page with links to your contact details is a good idea, and you can even pay for advertising through the platform so that examples of your work shows to any number of people scrolling through their picture feed. This can be personalised so that you can target a specific audience, minimising your spending and maximising the advertising effect.
You can also set up a Facebook business page to promote your work. This is a good way to connect with potential clients through mutual contacts who can show your page to their friends and contacts with ease through their smartphone or laptop. It also allows you to use words and writing more effectively than Instagram will as it is a mixed platform, and also has a larger space for you to provide contact details. From Facebook, you can also target specific audiences through paid advertising.
LinkedIn is a much more professional platform which allows clients to seek out freelancers and to create professional circles. For anybody taking their freelance work seriously, it is a good idea to have a strong LinkedIn profile and to check it regularly. Here you can also provide details on the kind of work you are looking for, references from previous clients and employers, and links to your portfolio.
It is important to have a strong portfolio somewhere online that you can send to your potential clients which you can also link to from your social networks. This is perhaps your strongest advertising tool as it shows your best examples and provides clients with a snapshot of the style and quality of the work they can expect to receive from you. Make sure your portfolio is clean, polished, and easy to navigate and is reflective of your best work and your preferred style.

 

Saving Money

  

Saving Money create work

It is always inspiring to read success stories that have surfaced from freelancers, however this doesn't always happen overnight, and when you take away the safety net of sure employment and pay checks you are taking a huge risk. While freelancing requires you to go full out, it is often a good idea to dip your toe in the water before you fully commit, and to ensure you have something to fall back onto if it doesn't work out to begin with.

For starters, you may not wish to abandon traditional employment altogether. You may be able to start your freelancing career in your spare time between your current shifts, and once your freelancing has some more solid foundations on which to build an income, you can start to think about leaving your employment. Likewise, you may be able to change your shift pattern to a more part time agreement with your employer, which would allow you to spend a little more time on your freelance work while ensuring there is enough money in the bank to pay the rent at the end of the month. If you have no current employment and you are struggling to start up with freelancing, there is no need to abandon your dream, but perhaps you can look for something part time, just to ensure you have enough to survive.
Another idea worth considering is building up a savings pot before you leave your employment, or indeed to build this up during your good months of freelancing to support yourself in months which are less fruitful. If you can figure out roughly how much you require to survive as if you were receiving a traditional income, then not only can you figure out how much you need to charge your clients on a bare minimum basis, but you can create a goal to work towards every month. Not every month will be as successful as you hope, particularly when you start out, so having some money to fall back onto always helps, and if you do happen to keep succeeding expectations, well, your annual holiday can be extra fantastic.
As there is no stability in freelancing, especially at the beginning, it is also good to know how you can live on diminished costs and still survive, as when money is not guaranteed, you still have to find a way to put bread on the table and a roof over your head. Here are a few ideas that you can consider to cut down the cost of living while you are starting out.
If you frequently use private transport or public transport for short distances, perhaps you can opt to walk or to cycle instead. While you may still have to pay road tax and insurance on your car, at least you will cut the cost of parking, fuel and maintenance, as well as giving yourself a dose of healthy exercise. Public transport can sometimes be a cheaper option, but prices are always increasing, and often cycling is just as fast.
When you do your weekly food shop, are there any items which you can buy for cheaper? Fruit and vegetables are often cheaper and often fresher from a local market instead of a supermarket. Meat is often very expensive, and going vegetarian or at least cutting your consumption will help you to reduce the cost of living, but do make sure you maintain a balanced diet to keep a healthy mind and to upkeep your motivation to work. Eating at home is always cheaper than eating out, and as important as it is to treat yourself, cutting meals out will be good the bank balance, as will be making your own coffee instead of a trip to Starbucks and making your own lunch instead of buying it every day. Also, cutting alcohol out of your weekly shopping routine will definitely lower the cost.
Have you got subscriptions that can be cut from your bill? Instead of paying to go to the gym, have you weights around the house for working out, or can you go for a run instead? Do you really watch all of the channels available from your television subscription, or would you be okay with a lesser package? You can downgrade a lot of services and still be a perfectly happy person.
While it is important to learn to live cheaply, it is also important to treat yourself when you have the money after paying your bills and ensuring some security. Once you get the hang of freelancing, it won't be a problem to balance your bills, but until then, you're better safe than sorry.

 

How to manage your time as a freelancer

  

How to manage your time as a freelancer

When you are freelancer, the time you put in a project really determines how much you get paid. Regardless of how productive you are a 9 to 5 kind of job, you are probably bound to a salary, so you are not so dependent on how much you produce because you are getting paid the same at the end of the month. You are self-employed, however, you are reliant on how effective you are to finish a project. If it takes you longer than you expected to finish a project, that's money you've lost. If you get distracted while working on a project and it takes you longer to finish it, then your rate decreases.

That's easier said than done and you might get sucked into social media or your own marketing and that might deter you from being productive. That's why you need to stay focused to maximise your profits.
Wake up early
Although it is no easy task to wake up at 6 in the morning when you don't have to, once you've had a cup of coffee and a hot shower, you'll feel ready to work because if you do wake up that early, you better be productive. Besides, it's much easier to get work done before lunch time. There are hardly any distractions during that time of the day and there's rarely any background noise. Without any interruptions, you'll be able to focus on your tasks without having to stop to answer a phone call or an email and then having to resume your task.
Be organised
Try to create a better workflow by keeping a notebook by your side and writing down anything that takes up too much of your time, which could be email, social media, administrative tasks, invoicing or even the phone. By keeping a record, you are able to improve and create new workflows to be more efficient.
You might find the answer in an app or an accounting software. There's always a way to get things work faster or using an automated service so you can focus most of your time on the billable tasks.
Get assistance
Although it might be hard to pay someone else for what you can do as well as freelancer, this might save you time and allow you to focus on other more creative tasks. You can either get a personal assistance to help you do the admin work or a cleaner who will help you do your chores.
Time management tools
Never forget that time is money and if the project you are doing for you client requires calls, emails and research you should be accounting for the time you spend doing those as well.
To successfully invoice a client, you have to use time tracking tools to monitor where time is being spent. Along with the invoice, you can email an explanation of everything the client is being billed for. This report should detail how your time was spent. If a client complains, just make sure that next time you tell a client upfront what they are getting charged for.
When you track the time you spend on a project, you can more accurately calculate how much time you'll need in future projects. The more accurate your prediction is, the less chances are of you getting underpaid because of a job you underestimated.
Don't get dragged into social networks
There's nothing wore for ADD than social media. You check Twitter for business purposes and somehow something caught your attention on the news story, then you clicked on the link, ended up on Facebook and before you know it, you are watching funny cat videos on YouTube. You check the time and it's been an hour since the last time you were productive. While it's fair play to use social media for business purposes, you have to get a grip and avoid using it for social media. Yes, we all enjoy it when someone likes your photo, but you can save that ego boost for your leisure time.
Avoid your mobile
If you get a business call, of course you are allowed to take it but you might want to avoid looking your phone because with all its apps and fun notifications, it's easy to get dragged into all the distractions your phone provides.

 

Preparing your work station

  

desk setup

Image: by ThoroughlyReviewed.
One of the many joys of freelancing is being able to work from any suitable remote location, obviously dependant upon your type of work. This means that you can completing your invoices from you laptop in bed while still in your pyjamas, writing articles from your favourite coffee shop, or you can be responding to your emails while enjoying the sunshine from your balcony. While this is fantastic, the majority of freelance work is done from a computer, and it is important to have a tailor prepared workstation for you to claim as productive space. Here are some things worth considering when you are setting up your workstation.

Firstly, do you require a desk? If you are going to be on your computer for elongated periods every day, it probably pays to ensure that you are professionally set up for your own comfort and health, which entails that you have a high quality chair as well that can support your back and posture for longer periods of time. If you are using a desk, is it big enough for everything you need? Will you be taking lots of notes and require extra space for this?
The next point to look at is location. Many people find it helps them to have a seperate work space from a living space so that the two different sectors of their lives don't blend together, but other's don't have so many problems with this. Is a home office essential to your needs, or will a simple desk in your bedroom suffice? Do you require a phone outlet within reach or will you be using your mobile instead? Is there enough light to be able to work without straining your eyes? Is there too much that you can't see the computer screen properly? Would you prefer to set your computer by a window to let in as much natural light to your working space as possible, or will the neighbours provide too much distracting entertainment from the apartment across the street?
Talking of distractions, what else exists in your work space that could take you away from your productivity? One of the benefits of having a dedicated home office is that you are less likely to fill a home office with things that can distract you, as opposed to working in a bedroom for example which is much more likely to have televisions, musical instruments, interesting novels and any number of alternative uses of your time looming over your subconscious as you try to push through as much work as possible. Be aware of this and try to minimise this when setting up your workspace, as otherwise you run the risk of procrastinating your responsibilities and having to cram before deadlines which can effect your productivity and, most of all, your quality often diminishes under increased stressed.
Other things to consider are your environment. Are you able to open a window to let in some fresh air? Are you able to control the climate to a comfortable level so that it doesn't distract your concentration? Does it help you to have a plant in the room to make it feel more pleasant to stay in there? If you are taking Skype or video calls, is there anything on the wall or in the room that could be considered unprofessional or inappropriate that your clients might accidentally see?
It is very important to tailor make your working space to all of your personal and business needs, and careful consideration of all of these elements will ensure that you can maximise productivity, maintain a good flow of work, and to work without distraction or discomfort. One last thing to consider, somewhat contradictory to the rest of this article, is that you shouldn't overthink all of this and you should just do what feels natural. If you worry too much about this, you might find that optimising your workstation becomes an obsession and in fact a distraction from your work itself, even if all done with good intention. If, after some time, you need to change, of course sometimes it pays to simply move your desk a few metres for a slightly different atmosphere and view, but don't allow this to cloud your mind and steal you from your work.

Overcoming common problems

  

freelance desk

Freelancing often feels like a dream come true - you can be working in a field that is interesting and engaging to you from a desirable location on a schedule that you planned yourself, but it's not an easy way to earn an income. There are lots of bumps in the road between you and your pay check, but a lot of these are easily solved or avoided.

Technological problems - A computer is often very central to freelance work, and is probably one of the most, if not the most expensive piece of equipment a freelancer requires to successfully complete a piece of work. When a computer is experiencing problems, it is frustrating enough, but when you are paid by the project and you are unable to make any progress, it is absolutely infuriating. Always make sure you have all of the contact details of the support team in charge of looking after technical problems in line with the make of your computer, for example, knowing the number for Apple Support for when your Macbook won't turn on. If you can solve technical problems yourself, it's great, but if not then you should know who you can contact who will be able to help you. Sometimes, it's also a good idea to have a backup plan, for example a second computer of a friend or relative you know you can borrow to finish off any projects close to a deadline when yours just won't co-operate. It might also pay off to know of another place you can connect to wireless internet on days when they might be doing maintenance to yours, or on days when yours isn't working to it's usual capacity, but the joy of working remotely is that this can be anywhere.
Finding work - Even after you have established yourself as a freelancer, there will probably be months where the work flow is a little dry and you struggle to find new projects to apply yourself to. The best way to maintain a steady workflow is by having clients who request repeat work from you, but when this isn't enough there are plenty of websites that connect freelancers to clients that might be able to help you score a one-off project to fill the void where your regular clients aren't requiring so much of your services. It is also a good idea to have some money saved to fall back onto for months where work is a little harder to find.
Getting paid - Sometimes clients are very reluctant to part ways with their cash, and this can create a lot of tension between you and them and an overall bad working relationship. Some freelancers like to request half of the payment before they start work and get paid the rest afterwards. Be clear with your clients when you can expect your work to be completed and how much you expect to be paid and by when before you start the project, and maintaining a good connection and rapport with them will help you to build up a trustworthy working relationship. If people fail to pay, if you are working through a freelance website, often they will help to be able to settle the debate, and if not, you may have to review your contract that you set up with the client and even approach a debt collection agency to assist you in getting your funds.
Meeting deadlines - Every client will believe that their project is your top priority when in priority you could be juggling any number of projects, and balancing these expectations can be very difficult. Make sure to keep your work varied and interesting to you, and to set realistic deadlines that still push you to work and to stay ahead of your competition. Aim to completely your work before it is actually due to ensure there is a little extra time for when things do go wrong, and be sure to structure your time off around the fact that you do actually have to be productive in order to be able to survive. Something will always pop up to delay the finish line, but if you plan for this to happen, it will be much less of a problem.

 

Keeping Clients

  

Freelancer Meeting Business

Keeping clients is a key factor to ensuring a decent and fairly consistent flow of money into your account, and if you manage to maintain a good working relationship, it is very common for clients to keep requesting your work and services. As a freelancer, you are able to pick and choose your clients and associates to build up a professional circle of people you like to work with and who you trust, but keeping these relationships can often be hard work, especially with so much on the line from your side of the deal. Here are some good practices to make habit to ensure that they keep coming back for more.

Communication - It is a frequently used cliche, but communication is key, and it is probably used so frequently because it is true. Keep your clients updated with your progress, about any hurdles you have overcome or any problems you are facing, as well as any victories and positive updated you can provide them with. Keep a friendly conversation ongoing with them, as much as they are comfortable with, as the closer they are to being friends with you, the more they will want to work with you and to help you out as a business person. Always be friendly, nice, professional, and approachable. Maybe even send them an email to wish them a “Merry Christmas” to remind them that they are still in the back of your mind.
Keep your promises - Make sure that you adhere to deadlines, and maybe even provide work a little early to show that you are determined and to exceed their expectations, but not too early that they push you too hard to work to too strict deadlines that you can't keep up with. Schedule lots of checkpoints where you can talk to each other about the progress of the project. Provide all the work requested to the best standard that you can and within their requirements. Become like a reliable employee and put your money where your mouth is. If you can keep within your deadlines, they will be more likely to pay quickly and will trust you to deliver in the future when they need somebody to do some more work for them.
Make them feel like they are your top priority - You may well be balancing numerous projects in your freelance life, but every client will think that they are your number one priority, even though in reality they probably are just as important as everybody else. Always ensure your clients that they are important to you, and make yourself approachable and contactable while you are working on their projects, and also after you have finished them. Your client will likely know that you are working on multiple projects, but make them feel like they are special and that their work is enjoyable for you.
Appear professional - Okay, you are good at what you do, but do you appear like you know what you're talking about? If you have meetings with your clients, always be prepared so that they can put their trust into you. Always present yourself as well organised, reliable and friendly. Have an agenda prepared before the meeting, and ensure that all of their questions are answered and all of their worries are put at ease. Clients want to have a good relationship with you, but they also want to know that you can deliver results and be a professional when you need to be. Which leads us onto the next point.
Creating contracts - This will not only ensure that you should get paid, and if not it gives you a basis for legal backing, but also it ensures that the client and you are both reading from the same page of the same book. While this might seem quite cold and formal, it gives you both something to support yourself with, should there be any disagreements, and you should be able to settle arguments quickly.
Looking after your clients is a very important part of freelancing, and you should structure this into the time that you plan to work on a project. Good relationships will keep them returning for more work and will help you to establish yourself even further in the field.

 

How to work faster

  

Prioritise

Particularly for those who are paid by the project or paid by the page, it is important to be able to work quickly as a freelancer in order to make the most profit out of the time that you dedicate to a cause. While quality is important and helps establish your reputation, quantity is what will pay the bills. Here are a few tricks to help you boost your productivity and to work faster.

Make a plan - a lot of people benefit from having a daily plan, and, especially when you are freelancing, often there are no regulations or rules as to how you should plan out your day. It's very helpful to have set times for work and concrete but reasonable goals to achieve each day. It is also very important to schedule time off, and the beauty of most freelance work is that you are able to plan your own schedules around your social life and your time off. Just make sure you put aside enough time to work and not too much time to socialise. Many people find it helpful to have a very visual aid, and so utilise the calendar on your computer, or make a paper timetable and, most of all, stick to it. You may find it difficult to stick to your self allotted timetable at first, but as you become more accustomed to your work and how long tasks will take, your planning will become more refined and more accurate.
Prioritise - when making your plan, make sure you realise what work is the most important and ensure that this gets done first. If you let the important work linger, it will loom over your subconscious and stress you out. Like writing down a timetable, sometimes it helps to have a visual aid, and there is definitely a therapeutic feeling every time you cross a task off a list.
Time yourself - when you are too lenient with your time, or if you leave your allotted time open, you will almost always take more time to complete a task than if you push yourself. Sticking strictly to pre-allocated time slots is a good way to manage your time and to pressure yourself to work faster and produce more. It takes a lot of discipline and motivation to work when you have a whole day to complete something, so allocate the time to start and the time to finish. When you are new to your freelance work, it is also a good idea to time yourself completing tasks so that you have a fair idea of how long they should take in future, and also so you can set yourself goals to try and complete them faster to see an improvement in your workflow over time.
Disconnect - it is far too easy to switch on Netflix, to look at your phone, to type “Facebook” into the top of your browser or to watch the television. You have to be disciplined, and make sure you don't get distracted. If you can switch off your phone, do so. If you can find a quiet room without any distractions such as a television, that will probably be your best chance of getting work completed, and whatever you do, don't give in to the temptation to procrastinate on the internet. Make sure you allocate downtime and time for yourself, when you can allow yourself to give in to all of these temptations, as it is important to keep a positive and motivated mindset, and working too much will destroy this, but when it comes to your productive time, stick to being productive, and make sure the two don't bleed together.
Treat yourself - after you have completed a project, you will likely get paid, but don't let this be your only reward. If you can motivate yourself with small treats, and discipline yourself not to give in and take them before you have finished a task, then even something as simple as a delicious cookie can have a very positive effect on your workflow. Treating yourself for your hard work in small ways but frequently will help you to keep a positive mindset and to stay focussed during arduous tasks.

 

  
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