In this article, I’m going to be going through five ways you can create a flexible freedom-filled freelance schedule without your client ever knowing.
Because while we’re working in service-based businesses, we can still appear available to our clients and produce amazing services, while also having a flexible schedule to suit us.
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I’ve been working as a freelancer for the past 10 years and in that time I’ve cultivated and refined a good number of ways to manage my own freelance schedule on my terms.
Never has there ever been a better time than right now to remotely manage your freelance relationships. We have so many tools and techniques to help us manage our schedules better.
5 ways to create a flexible freelance schedule
So if you’re looking for more flexibility in your freelance schedule, check out these five techniques I personally use.
1. Batch your tasks together
No matter which industry you work in, you likely have the opportunity to batch your tasks. Honestly, I wish I’d tried this technique sooner.
With regular monthly clients or one-off pieces of work, there’s no reason why you can’t spend focused time completing all your tasks at once or even work for one particular client.
There’s a real benefit in single-tasking. If our brains are able to focus on just one thing, we’re more likely to get it done faster and probably better quality.
So if you have loads of similar tasks or better yet work from one particular client, only scheduling to do that one thing and keep going until it’s done. Trust me, you’ll be able to work faster and get better work done that way.
2. Only send work when it’s appropriate to
This point follows on from the previous one. Although you might have gotten all your work done in one go and very quickly, there’s no need to then send it all at once to your client.
You may be in a position where your work spans the course of a month. In which case, you might not want to send your client all their work at once.
Or you might have a client that specifically requested that you complete pieces of work at certain dates.
So all you need to do to get around this is schedule your emails. You can schedule your emails to send your clients the pieces of work ahead of time at the certain date they requested or the date that you choose.
Either this or you can set a to-do or task so you can send them manually later. This way, you’re able to take advantage of batch working and saving your time. But at the same time, you can stick to your client’s schedule and keep them happy.
3. Don’t reply to client emails immediately
Your client is going to respond to the way you communicate with them on a regular basis, especially if you’re working with them remotely.
So if you regularly check your emails and respond to them immediately, you may want to think twice. By communicating in this way, you’re signalling and teaching your client that you’re available to them whenever they need you.
Instead, it’s worth only checking your emails once or twice a day, or making sure that you don’t immediately respond to client queries.
My top tip is to create an autoresponder and a specific client-facing email address. So when a client emails you, they’ll get an automatic email response, letting them know when you check your emails and that you’ll get back to them at that point.
You can also add that if it’s a real emergency, they can call you. I’ve used this when I’ve been really busy working on projects. And I let clients know that I check my emails at 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM. So I’ll get back to them at those times.
4. Be attentive when you’re actually working
When working remotely from our clients, it’s easy for them to feel detached from us.
So while you’re enjoying your new flexible freedom-filled freelance schedule, it’s important to check-in and communicate with clients when you’re actually working.
Communication is everything in the freelance world. So take some time to send your client a friendly message or update them with the work you’re doing on that day.
This way you set their mind at ease, and there’s no confusion over what you’re doing and that you’re actually doing it because you’ve told your client.
Because you know as well as I do that you don’t need to work a nine to five schedule to actually complete the work you need to get done. It’s not the time that counts, it’s how you spend it.
5. Seek to pursue monthly or retainer work instead of projects
Your schedule gets a whole lot more manageable when you switch from project-based work to monthly or retainer work.
In fact, by being able to predict the work you have coming in each month, at least to some extent, you can make even better use of batching and managing your time better.
But achieving this type of shift can only be done by you. If you don’t already, is there a way that you can shift or promote your project-based work into monthly retainer work?
Even if you try this out with a smaller service for now, it will allow you to start pursuing clients that will stick with you for the long term, allowing you greater freedom.
Creating a flexible freelance schedule isn’t just about managing your time. It’s also about how you manage your relationships and a switch from thinking about your freelance work as freelance work and instead, as a business you manage.
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So tell me in the comments, how do you manage your freelance schedule? Do you have any tips to add to my list?