Freelance 101: Be on Time and Meet Your Deadlines
If there’s one problem that most freelance professionals struggle with it is the lack of motivation that comes from being your own boss. Working from home means that you’re likely facing all kinds of distractions, from kids running amok to errands to a pile of laundry that isn’t going to fold itself. And even getting out of bed in the morning can become a major chore when you don’t actually have to be at work at any set time. However, you do need to earn a living if you don’t want to get kicked out of your house or have the power turned off, so it would behoove you to create a schedule that you can live with. And there are many reasons why proper time management is essential to retaining your freelance status.
For starters, a failure to meet deadlines and perform to the letter of your contract will almost certainly result in a refusal of further services. You can also forget about referrals from any client who is unsatisfied with your work. Although most customers will give you some leeway should they be the cause of delays or setbacks, you should always try to deliver on time if you can (despite unforeseen road blocks). One of the great things about freelance work is that it allows you to be flexible with your scheduling, but only insomuch as you are able to get your work done in a timely manner.
You not only need to deliver promptly and keep meetings for the sake of your client, though; you also need to do it for yourself. Contract work can be unstable at the best of times, but it’s not just a matter of securing continued employment. The truth is that you are only harming yourself by adopting a lackadaisical attitude when it comes to keeping appointments and meeting your deadlines. As a freelancer, the burden of responsibility for time management falls on you and you alone. If you neglect to follow through on your commitments you’re really only failing yourself. Clients may be disappointed, angry, or even unwilling to pay, all of which are bad for your business. But the damage caused by failing yourself is even worse because you have no one to blame but you.
And someday you may have to return to the type of employment that requires you to stick to a regimented schedule. If you spend your foray into the freelance world procrastinating to the point that your business venture crashes and burns, you’re going to have an awfully hard time reintegrating into the regular working world.
So what can you do to avoid these disastrous scenarios? The first step is to set a schedule. Get yourself a calendar, a daybook, an appointment reminder, or even an alarm clock that you can set to go off throughout the day. It’s not a bad idea to install scheduling software on your computer or even your smart phone (or other mobile device). There are plenty of free programs on the market that are easy to use and will help you meet your time management needs. Then you just have to stick to it. Get in the habit of working at certain times each day so that you’re able to manage your workflow and get everything done in a timely manner. Being your own boss isn’t easy, but it’s a lot better than answering to someone else!
Image source: freelancefolder.com