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Back to Basics Freelancing - Part 3 Working As A Freelancer

freelance connection freelancing basics Sep 29, 2021

In this episode, we're going to be talking about working as a freelancer. What we want to dial in here is making your freelancing business work for you. There are 3 things that I believe are super important that we're going to cover. 

#1 Boundaries

When you're working as a freelancer you need to know when you are working, how long you're working, and why you're working. If you focus on putting boundaries around these three areas you'll know where your priorities are. 

For me, it's a master list  I work from every single week. I start by planning out my entire week and from there dial into what needs to happen each day. This helps me to be prepared for those "extra" projects that sneak into my schedule. I'm able to say, "no, that will have to wait until next week", or "yea, I can work that in". 

I always set those boundaries up with the first conversation I have with a client. I explain to them that if they have a bigger project, they need to give me some lead time beforehand.

Setting boundaries is so much more than setting them up with clients. Other examples are: noticing that scrolling on social media has become a time suck for you, setting boundaries with your kids.

#2 Your Schedule

Do you have a clear-cut schedule? The first to do is identify how much you want to work every week. It's more than just saying that you want to work 40 hours per week. This includes figuring out how you're making sure you have work to fill those 40 hours.

For me, I set aside time on my calendar for 3 calls per day. Anything more than that I found it takes over from my project work time and puts me behind schedule.

Really understanding what your schedule is which piggybacks off your boundaries; knowing where those boundaries are and where you're willing to give and take on them. 

#3 Communication Expectations

I even have my kids follow certain communication expectations. My kids (15 and 13 years old) were known to spring stuff on me last minute, which doesn't always work in this type of lifestyle. Now, I have them send me calendar invites as soon as they find out about something that is going on. A bonus to this system is that it's showing them how to be independent as well.

For clients, I set my expectations from the very beginning of any conversations I have with them. I let them know what it looks like to have communication with me. I put my clients in 3 different buckets: high, medium, and low priorities.

  • High priority clients - I'm working on an active project with them or I work with them on a regular weekly basis. I follow up with these clients every week on Friday.
  • Medium priority clients - These are clients that I talk to once or twice a month, maybe I do a project once a month. I have a reminder on my calendar to follow up with these clients on any given set Wednesday.
  • Low priority clients - Typically, a client falls under low when I'm finishing up a project for them, maybe I'm still on for any last-minute tweaks. These follow-ups happen on the 20th of every month (tweaked if falls on a weekend). I have a list that I run through set right on my calendar.

Working As A Freelancer and Why

Everyone's why will be a little different but for me, I really wanted to own my schedule and own my family time. So I work when it makes the most sense for me, my family, and to achieve the goal to have the financial freedom I desire. That why is really what you have to keep at top of mind when you're feeling stressed and  overwhelmed with client work. Keep in mind why you do what you do!

Now that you have your why, let's take a look at the front and backend of your business look like working as a freelancer. This is where systems and processes come into play. 

Here's a high-level overview of some of the processes I have on the backend:

  • Every client goes through an onboarding process so they know how to contact me, they know my communication preferences, and what my availability is.
  • In my email signature, I have link to set up a call with me if they need a call. This eliminates a lot of back and forth with the client.
  • When I'm requesting feedback, I ask for specific feedback on my communication, my work ethic, and my processes.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. We covered a ton of information. But, keep in mind the top 3 things that are important as you're working as a freelancer: boundaries, setting your schedule, and having clear communication expectations.

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