Freelancing can be wonderful. Fulfilling. Liberating. You have the control over your tasks. Your time. Your life. You can work from home. Quit those long commuting hours. You can set yourself the schedule that YOU like. Your work-life balance leans toward life.
But it can also lead to non-stop working hours. Think about it. You get to have all job positions in your business. If you launch a blog, for example, you’ll be coping with tasks related to management, strategy, sales, marketing, administration, bookkeeping, product creation, content creation, social media, photography, graphic design, web design, networking, and the list keeps going on and on… And let’s not talk about family chores on top of that!
I don’t want to discourage you, on the contrary, I want you to know what it really means to be a freelancer. And how can you avoid getting exhausted 🙂 You’ll need help. Now, you’re the one who has to choose which kind of help you need. If you could have more time, what would be your ideal situation?
- Someone takes care of your kids or household – and you get more time to work.
- Someone takes over the work tasks that you don’t like doing – and you have more time for yourself and your family.
When you’re starting a new business, you’ll probably have to go for the first option: You’ll need to concentrate on your business to make it happen. And it’s totally OK. It’s something temporary. Or, unless you’re happy with the situation, it should be temporary. These long hours planning, creating a strategy, writing, promoting, testing out new options, new tools… They can be thrilling but also exhausting in the long run. And you wanted to be a freelancer to own your time, not to forget about sleeping, right?
3 Ways to Freelance Efficiently
1. Hire a VA
Once your business is rolling and you’ve achieved some sort of routine, it’s time to search for someone who lets you quit performing those tedious tasks which take up so much time, or which you don’t like doing at all. Think about taxes, for instance. Wouldn’t you like to forget about taxes and invoicing for one and for all? What about social media? How many hours do you need to promote your business on social media? Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone who takes charge of social media for you? Someone with more experience than you?
Now, I know that not anyone can afford the help of a virtual assistant or an accountant before the business begins making some profit. At least I can’t. I’d love to, but I have to stick to my one-woman-show until it makes some sense to spend money on anyone else. You have to be able to guarantee their salaries, right? 😉
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2. Use Automation Tools
So, how can we do it? How can we organize our businesses – and ourselves – without going completely insane? These steps I’m going to recommend below may take some time to set up, but afterward, your life will be much easier. As if you’d have won 12 hours a day 😉
♥ Create your own workflows – Whaaaaat?? Yep. You have to document everything you do. If you ever want to ask for help, you’d better know exactly which steps you want your helper to do. And you’d better begin working on it right now.
Besides, I bet you have many repeating tasks. Isn’t it better to go through a checklist where you just tick the tasks performed, instead of trying to remember what you have to do next? Do you know how many little details you could be forgetting? And how much time you can save if you don’t have to check what was it again what I had to do? So, next time you perform any activity, write down the steps you follow. It’s that easy.
-> I use Trello. It may not be the fanciest tool, but it’s extremely easy to use and practical. Even if you can’t find the time to do it nicely:
– Open Trello.
– Create a list (it’s just a click) and give it a title.
– Create a checklist inside that list and keep Trello open.
– Every time you make a new step, write it down on your checklist.
– That’s all. Next time you wanna perform the same tasks, go on and tick the tasks on your checklist. Easy peasy 😉 And it’s free!!
♥ Use a social media automation tool – You can love it. You can hate it. But you need social media. It’s a time-sucking machine, but it also helps us be noticed without having to spend hardly any money. So you’d better get used to the idea 😉
I don’t know how often I’ve recommended Nelio content. It’s a plugin for WordPress which works exactly as you’d expect a content and social media calendar to work. It’s free – although I may be testing the basic paid membership. I’ve checked out its functions and it’s only around $10. I’ll give it a try and let you know if it’s as worthy as it seems 😉
Anyways, try the free version. It’s perfect for content and social media scheduling. The only “but” I would pronounce to the free version is that you can only schedule a post for every social media profile. That’s why I may be going for the paid version.
Another option would be Nelio Content for post scheduling + HootSuite for social media promotion. And you pay $0. Niiiiice!
If you’d like to get more deeper insights about social media management, read this post I wrote after figuring out what to do to avoid going cray-cray 😀
♥ Use an email platform which allows you to create welcome packs and automated answers – After social media, email writing and answering is the second most time-sucking admin task of all. You’re supposed to online the whole time, you want to thank all new subscribers, and you want to welcome them to your site, right?? Well, try to do it with every single subscriber while you’re trying to cope with all other tasks you have to complete. And what for?? Luckily enough, we live at the perfect time to work as freelancers thanks to the many tools available to us. Let’s take advantage of them, shall we?
-> I use Convertkit. It’s probably the tool I pay more money for, but it’s totally worth it. If you’d like to try ConvertKit, they offer a 30-day refund policy. Just play around with it a bit to see what I mean 😉
♥ Use project manager tool – Again, Trello. I love Trello 🙂 But I can’t end this post without mentioning Asana, so there you have it. Choose your favorite!
♥ Use an appointment scheduling tool – Do you have to schedule meetings or calls with clients? Well, that could mean having to send, get and answer many emails before arranging a time which suits both your customer and yourself. OR you use a tool like Calendly, where YOU specify at what time it suits YOU to have that meeting, and how long YOU want it to last. Your potential customers can choose the date and time among the options you’ve given, and you receive a notification. Isn’t it awesome?? Why shouldn’t you be able to set your own opening times, like any other business?
♥ Use an invoicing tool – I have to confess that I ‘m still using the good old manual method for invoices, but there’s one tool I’ve tried for a client and I found very easy to use: HelloBonsai. It lets you manage proposals, invoices, and payments. Companies have to pay a monthly fee to use it (not so cool), but it’s free for freelancers.
3. Collaborate with a partner
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a total online tool nerd, but I get it that not everyone likes to test tools out. And if you don’t love them, spending time setting up a tool can be awful. So, what can you do if you don’t want to take the time to manage all these tools? You just want to do your work. Not every other admin task you’regiven just because you wanted to work from home. I totally get you!!
I option number one is discarded because of financial reasons, why don’t you just partner with a friend or colleague who loves your most hated task – and the other way round? I find it a win-win situation for both partners:
- At the beginning, there will be no income, so both of you have to be willing to work for a project just for fun. At the beginning. Money will come. But you’ll really be sure that you want to create an online business ’cause you ain’t gonna see no money, babe 🙂 But you don’t have to worry about having enough money to pay an employee, right?
- Think about your peace of mind and your work-life balance. You’ll be performing the tasks you like. And your partner, the ones she likes. Period.
- Even if having to share may not be your first option, you’ll want to look for co-workers anyway in a near future if you want to grow. So why not share strategies, thoughts and, most importantly, tasks from the beginning. You can’t imagine how much comforting it is to take decisions together. Besides, having someone to keep you accountable from the very beginning will help you keep focused. You won’t be able to postpone launches if there’s someone there depending on your work, right?
So let’s recap those options to freelance efficiently again:
♥ Hire a VA. At least on a freelance basis.
♥ Take advantage of automation tools.
♥ Collaborate with a partner, and make it all 50%-50%.
So, what is it going to be? Are you going to hire someone to have more time to work? Or are you going to get some free time for you and your family? It’s up to you!
Are you born to freelance?
Some related posts about automation:
How to Run your Business on Autopilot and Enjoy Your Free Time
3 Steps to Manage Social Media without Going Cray-Cray
How to Choose the Best Time-Saving Tools
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Uhm, yes, yes, yes, and YES. Love these tips. I couldn’t do freelance if it weren’t for Trello, Calendly, Convertkit, and Later for Instagram!
Right?? If we can make our life so much easier, why not take advantage?
Thanks so much for your comment, Emma!