Once you have completed work on your first handful of projects, as long as you have impressed, you will start to get referrals and references. That could well be your biggest source of additional work. While it may be slow in the beginning, that quality of work will have an important role to play in acquiring this additional work. With a growing portfolio of work, you can confidently accept new projects with previous experiences supporting you on every step of the journey.
Get and stay organised
Once you have a client base, it’s important that you are organised. You’ll be balancing different projects, communication platforms, work styles, and systems. If you work to deadlines, prepare for meetings, and maintain appropriate and proactive communication. The integral part of this is the ability to be organised and have resources in place to respond to clients’ needs quickly and efficiently. There are a number of ways that you can stay organised, such as with online tools or physical planners. The most important thing is to implement a system that works for you as an individual. You should also keep a calendar to mark your key events and deadlines to ensure that you don’t take on too much work to the point where you would need to push back the date on an existing deadline. Within the platform you work with, you will also need creative analogue systems to track your various tasks, both professionally and personally.
One of the key things to do as a freelancer is to write everything down. When working with multiple clients, it can be difficult to remember conversations and with whom you had them and when. Also, after talking over a new development with Client A, a deadline for Client B might mean that you need to complete that project first. To stay organised and to prevent yourself from having to contact a client to get them to repeat or clarify something, having a note file on your phone, a Google doc, or a physical notebook within reach that allows you to summarise and track information is invaluable.
Manage your time
If you have a full day available and just one thing to do, or the reverse of that (too many things to do), freelancing can be dangerous. While you don’t have to report to an office at 9 AM and could spend the entire day in your slacks, you need to resist the urges of Netflix and overly long lunches. When starting out, monitor how long you take to complete various projects so that you can set realistic timelines in your proposals and effectively manage your time.
You can then develop your own routine in such a way that it promotes success. This might include having a set workspace, such as a co-working space or your local coffee shop. Or it might involve working an extensive period of time in the morning, with a longer break in the afternoon, and taking care of those smaller tasks in the evening,