Oftentimes, freelancers hesitate to launch their own business because they don’t know what the whole shebang involves. But it’s not their creative prowess, organizational skills or ability to approach prospects that they’re questioning. It’s the unknown that paralyzes most would-be entrepreneurs.
What tasks will I have to tackle that I’m not taking into account? How long will each to-do list item take? Can I juggle freelancing from home when the kids are begging for attention? These and many other worries can be dissolved with a quick look at how successful freelancers block off their time each week.
Check out my own weekly schedule below. Hopefully a peek behind the curtain of my business can show you what’s doable — and what you might need to put on hold for another time.
You may notice I don’t cold pitch. Ever. While many freelancing gurus recommend cold calling prospects for a good portion of each week, I’ve never done it (or needed to). Instead, the different self-promotion tactics I use each early afternoon have kept a steady stream of business coming my way. I keep my pipeline warm with professional friendships by promoting potential clients and cheering them on. When they need a freelancer, who do you think is the first person that comes to mind?
Another thing you don’t see here is a big chunk of time for emailing clients. I check my email regularly and often reply by phone or video chat. This saves time and averts potential digital misunderstandings.
You’ll also see my mornings are structurally fixed. My business relies on a combination of rigidity and flexibility. If that sounds like a conflict waiting to happen, look at the schedule again. My afternoons are a fluid time to either tackle passion projects or get lost in the rabbit hole of helpful articles for freelancers.
Make It Your Own
You may have a social anxiety that hinders your ability to FaceTime or Skype your clients. Or, perhaps instead of little kids, you’re caring for an aging parent or unpredictable teens. The point is, my schedule should be a loose idea of what’s possible — not a prescription for how to tackle your own time management.
Here’s how to customize the workflow for your own unique situation: Do you hate mornings (even after the initial pain of getting up)? Then don’t follow my lead by charging out of the gate with creative deliverables for clients. Be smart. Use this example as just that — an example — and yank the creative flow into a slot later in the morning or evening.
Keep a “Not-Do” List
It’s important to acknowledge that no one can “do it all.” In fact, trying to do it all can be a recipe for self-defeat and discouragement. Instead of trying to squeeze in all the to-do’s that gurus may urge you to take on, make a list of things you’re definitely not going to do.
That’s right, I keep a “Not-Do” list. Currently, this list includes Instagram marketing, toastmasters meetings and rescue dog fostering. There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything, and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can focus on money-making (and money-saving) activities that will help you achieve your long-term goals.
What does your weekly freelancing from home schedule look like?