Many freelancers work with several clients simultaneously. However, juggling a large number of projects for multiple clients can go from easily doable to overwhelming, very quickly! As tasks pop up, it’s up to you to have a secure workflow system to deliver quality work on time. Here are some tips on how to make sure you and your clients stay happy while you handle different and diverse tasks at once:
Keep your calendar up to date. Whether you’re extremely organized or not, a calendar is your armor in the front line of freelancing. Label important dates, or create a system for due dates, such as “urgent”, “important”, and “later”. This will help you stay on task with the most significant aspects of these projects first before moving on to other parts that can wait. You can even create a project-specific calendar and share it with your client.
Use a system that works. Management systems like Trello, BaseCamp, and Asana work for lots of people because they help you keep all the small tasks organized, and allow your clients to see what’s in progress versus what’s finished. Find one that works for you, even if it’s a personal system you’ve devised. Just be sure everyone is on the same page and understands it so all parties know how far along a project is at any given moment.
Talk to your client. Always articulate to your clients your availability, your deadlines, and your deliverables. If you think a project for them will take a while, don’t be afraid to speak up. Communicate clearly by writing it down or checking in frequently so both parties know what’s expected of you.
Set boundaries. Developing relationships is how you keep business flowing, but you are allowed to set limits to how much work you can take on. Let your clients your availability for work, as well as availability for calls, meetings, and your office hours.
Only promise what you can deliver. Emergencies happen, along with challenging workdays and unexpected circumstances. If you send in an estimated due date for a project, budget in some extra time in case this stuff comes up. Also, leave yourself enough room in your schedule to do things like eat, take walks, exercise, meditate — whatever is part of your daily routine.
Be realistic. As a freelancer, it’s tough to say no to an assignment. However, if you can’t deliver the project perfectly, on time, and on budget, it may be best to find an alternative solution for your client.
As long as you’re consistent, communicative, and deliver to set expectations, your clients will feel you are partnering with them and will come back to you time and again.