How to Manage Your Clients Better to Maximize Your Earnings
Several weeks ago, a fellow freelancer sent me an email asking for suggestions on how to organize his client work.
He said, “I have no problem getting clients, but I just can't manage more clients than I have … I know I would have tons more capacity if I could find a system to keep me organized and on track.”
If you’ve ever …
Shied away from taking on more work because you feared you wouldn't be able to meet your existing commitments or felt overwhelmed because you weren't sure you were on track to meet all your deadlines …
Read on to discover my system for staying productive, on target, and on time.
I confess that my biggest worry is that I will forget something or miss a deadline. This system helps me make sure I know everything I have going with one quick glance, while giving me both visual cues to avoid over-scheduling and audio reminders to keep me on task.
I sleep easier knowing I have all my projects accounted for and work much more quickly because I never waste time thinking about what I should do next.
The first thing I recommend you do is buy a white board, chalkboard, or cork board. Your choice. Next, if you don't already have one, set up an account with Google so you can use their free Calendar application.
My system involves two easy steps:
1) Create a visual overview. On the white board (what I use), list each client, what you have to do for them, when it's due, and how much time you estimate it will take you to complete your project.
If you write your clients across the top of the board and put dates down the side, you can see what you have going at a glance. You can block time for things like follow-up, client-getting, and bookkeeping to make sure you schedule time for them as well.
2) Set up audio reminders. Use Google Calendar to list checkpoints. You can set your computer and phone to automatically give you these audio reminders at different intervals.
For instance, let’s say you need to have a white paper done in two weeks. You can schedule reminders in intervals ranging from one week to one minute. For each scheduled reminder, a notice pops up on your screen or phone along with a sound to get your attention and remind you what you need to do.
When you put a project on your calendar, pre-schedule multiple reminders at the same time so you don't have to worry about forgetting anything. For example, if I have an email due in two weeks, I’ll put the due date on my calendar and indicate I want a reminder one week out, two days out, and one day out.
I like to use both Google Calendar, with its audio reminders to keep me on track, and the white board, which helps me see what I have at a glance so I don’t over-schedule.
You’ll find once you have your deadlines written down and reminders in place, you can free up your mind to focus on writing alone.
Whether you have one client or a dozen, it’s a good idea to create a system for managing your client work. This will get you in the habit of being organized and productive.
When you do, you’ll never have to worry about over-scheduling or missing deadlines. And because you’ll never have to stop to figure out what to do next, you’ll be able to work at your full capacity. So you’ll earn more too.
What systems do you have in place to keep you on track and productive? Share your ideas with The Writer’s Life readers below.
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