Being responsible for everything related to your business is simultaneously the best and worst thing about being a freelancer. On the one hand, you have total independence over how and when you want to work. On the other, all the time-consuming yet necessary administration is on you. To help you get the most of your business hours so they don’t pour into your free time, here are five hacks that will streamline your work:
1. Get affordable support with a virtual receptionist
The beauty of using virtual offices is that you can easily have secretarial support services when you need them without the hassle of renting a workspace or training employees. A virtual office provides you with a professional business address and mail management, so you don’t need to write “coffee shops” as your business location on your website. They also include phone answering services by a virtual receptionist, so you can focus on your work without worrying about missing a call ever again.
2. Never lose sight of your time
Scheduling, staying on top of appointments, and keeping your clients and stakeholders in the loop can be very time-consuming if you are not using your calendar wisely (or not using a calendar at all). There are plenty of helpful low-cost calendar and productivity apps, but honestly, default calendars with Google, Apple, or Microsoft work great if you take advantage of features like:
- Sharing calendars with clients or collaborators
- Importing other calendars (i.e. social media events)
- Email alerts and reminders for meetings
There’s a lot more, so don’t be afraid to get creative. What you implement on your calendar today will help you keep better track of your work tomorrow.
3. Track your expenses and income as you go
Whether you do your own bookkeeping or rely on your accountant, this will help you cut a significant amount of time when preparing for taxes. You can create a spreadsheet at the start of the year where you fill in your expenses as you go or automate your finances using different expense tracking apps or software. There are apps available at a low cost, and some make logging purchases as easy as uploading your receipts.
4. Automate your invoicing
Invoices are more likely to be paid correctly when they are sent immediately after service. Of course, getting paid is vital to maintaining your business, but it’s easy to look over or delay your invoice when you have a lot of other responsibilities and are doing it all manually. That’s why many freelancers turn to automated billing and invoicing software, which can be used to schedule and send invoices to your clients at a set date on your behalf. Invoice finance is another great option as it allows you to maintain steady cash flow without having to chase clients for payments.
5. Learn from fellow freelancers
Whether you’re working from a coworking space or attending networking events, don’t avoid other freelancers just because you’re not seeking collaboration or they’re not a potential client. The best way to discover new ways to optimize your work as a freelancer is by learning from the real-life experience of others. You could save days of unnecessary work and avoid a negative business experience simply by hearing out someone who’s been through it already. Likewise, you’ll have the chance to help others with your recommendations, which is always a great feeling.
Consider the above tips, stick to your guns, and you will find yourself saving time and energy. The freelancer life isn’t easy, but deploying a few clever hacks can give you the space you need to relax.