When you decide to be full-time freelance, one of the most common challenges is client management. How to manage multiple clients as a freelancer? It happens when you have so a lot of clients with many projects. It is common, especially if you have got a good reputation for your work. The best way to manage multiple clients as a freelancer is by making better time management.
Time management is a process related to achieving certain goals or targets that have been previously determined to be achieved within a certain period with the effective and efficient use of resources. Good project time management will impact project success over other objectives such as cost, quality, resources, and customer satisfaction. When you are a freelancer, you are the staff, you are the project manager, and you are the owner too.
There are many things to do when you do everything by yourself. If you can’t afford a project manager for your business like a freelancer, you can start learning to manage multiple clients. It is not difficult if you know the tips and tricks. As we have said before, time management is the key to managing multiple clients. So, let’s start with project time management first.
What is project time management?
Project time management is a strategy that regulates how we use limited time to achieve goals through the division of tasks. Time management aims to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. How to manage a project while paying attention to other aspects such as time and resources? When you do everything by yourself, you have to make sure that you know the available time and resources. You have to measure it before you make your work plan. For example, you know that you can work for 8 hours, so you can set the time in 8 hours based on what you will finish.
Create a work plan and set priorities
The success of a project can be seen from the quality of its planning—the more mature the work plan, the higher the success rate and time efficiency. You can do this planning as simple as possible, such as writing down what must be achieved and what wants to be achieved. For example, you have multiple projects to do; you have to write down the deadline and prioritize which project you should finish first. If you do by who pays first, just write down your clients by payment order.
Sometimes the list can be overwhelming. Here, you should prioritize based on the importance, urgency, and effort. It must be expended on a task. The Eisenhower matrix below can help you structure your assignment.
Build a clear communication flow
When it has come to clients, you have to build a clear communication flow with your client. Do regular check-ups with your clients to make everything faster and more effective. It is important to have good communication with clients. It includes the details and the revision. Once you get everything done, you can move to another client. When you have problems in doing your project, you have to contact your clients to ensure that what you are going to do is what clients want. In this step, you can note every project ordered by your clients. Make a highlight on incoming problems and agree about the communication flow. You may set the boundaries to discuss the project during working hours. That’s going to help you accomplish all projects better than not discussing with your clients.
Apply the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule helps you manage project time management. For example, if you work 10 hours a day, there will be 2 hours to be very productive and the remaining 8 hours to work as usual. You must identify urgent and less urgent tasks and then work on them at certain times. View your daily list and determine when you can optimally work on those tasks. You should do important and urgent tasks in two productive hours and other tasks you can do in 8 hours. This method can also help you monitor and measure the performance and results of your team’s work.
Learn to say NO
Sometimes your reputation is more important than the money you expect to make. Ergo, if you are fully booked, the best thing to do is not to take on additional clients or projects. Work on finishing the current project you are in before moving taking more tasks. Sometimes the best way to manage multiple clients is to reduce the number of simultaneous clients you have. Additional, having multiple clients and being all booked up may be a good indicator that you need to increase your pricing. Since you are all booked up, it probably means that you are doing a great job and more people need your services. Therefore, increasing your rate will dissuade certain clients to work with you and persuade the ones who really need you to work with you at a higher rate.
Start building a team
If you have decided that you want to be a full-time freelancer, there is the possibility that you will get too many clients. It is common when you have gotten bigger. It is good to start recruiting staff for your job. Especially when you have too many clients to handle. That’s the perfect time to turn your solo enterprise into a full-blown agency. How cool is that? You don’t want to lose the money, so you need to find some help. If you reach this point on your freelancing journey, you probably will not be able to do all the tasks at once.
You should learn to hire new people (assistants, etc.) and learn how to delegate some tasks to your team members. That way, you can focus on the more important things. Here you also need to pay attention to the availability and capabilities of your team members. Through software that keeps a database of employees, including their skills, you can determine which team members can be assigned a particular task. The calendar feature also helps you see their schedule and available time to work on the task. By delegating tasks, you can track the performance and value of your team members.
If your freelance job is one particular area, it may be easier to handle a team with a similar skillset than having a team with so many different skills. However, forming a team depends on how various your freelance job is. It is still important to delegate your several projects to other staff.
To manage multiple clients as a freelancer with various projects is not easy. If it is a big project, you may need to have a team with the same vision as yours to help you deliver projects. That is why it is important to learn how to manage the team from good time management practices to running regular online meetings.
However, if you can handle everything yourself, it is not necessary to form a team. You have to ensure that you have measured your resource, including time and capabilities. On top of that, you need to know your limit, so you will not burn out handling too many clients. You have to practice setting up goals, priorities and a good work plan, as well as establishing good communication with your clients to build that reputation.
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