6 ways you could be slowing down your freelance business
Freelancing doesn’t really have any rules, most people find what works for them by improvising and adapting. Some of the habits you form can help you stay organised and make some decent cash money, but some will slow things down without you even realising it.
If you struggle to say ‘no’ to people, regularly pull all-nighters, or keep paying for things you don’t need, you should read this...
1. Doing things the same way you’ve always done them
We’ve all heard that oft-quoted cliché - the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Some things need patience and repetition (like recording expenses) but a lot of other jobs call for flexibility.
What’s taking up the most time in your week right now? You could speed it up, or even get rid of it completely, with new technology, a different attitude, stricter organisation, or a bit of classic trial and error. The essential ingredient is trying something new.
2. Ignoring your own needs
If you’re used to ignoring exhaustion and working through it, your work will suffer. Isolation and a bad diet feels pretty dreadful, but a lack of sleep will slow you and your business down faster than anything else.
According to the NHS, a third of us don’t get enough sleep. If you pull a couple of all-nighters, you’ll feel irritable and confused. If you keep doing it, you’ll be more likely to get colds and viruses and your mental health could take a battering. Even when deadlines are looming, getting a proper night’s sleep is too important to miss. You are your business, so you need to stay healthy and happy!
3. Letting unpaid work affect paid work
As soon as someone walks into their workplace, they’re being paid for their time. It’s not the same for freelancers. As well as doing what you’re paid to do, you’ve got to put unpaid time into finding new work and looking after your website, accounts, and general business stuff.
If you’re spending too much time putting proposals together or tweaking your portfolio, and it doesn’t turn into cash later down the line, the balance is way off. To fix it, try setting aside a specific amount of time for essential unpaid jobs and stick to it as closely as possible.
4. Letting clients demand too much from you
Some client and customer relationships are a dream - they tell you exactly what they want, love what you deliver, and pay up fast. Others can be a bit of a pain, particularly when they take up more of your time and resources than they’re worth.
If a particular client likes talking things through endlessly on the phone, or keeps changing the brief, it’s time to put up a barrier or just flatly say no. It’s tough, but do it tactfully and you might be surprised how quickly they get the message.
5. Working with people who don’t make life easier
Working with a team, buying from suppliers, and outsourcing to other people should add to your business, not take away from it. Transitioning from working alone to working with other people is tough, particularly because it’s now up to you to bring them onboard (the easy part) and sometimes let them go (the awkward and horrible part).
Despite the horrible awkwardness, you need to be honest with people when you don’t need their service anymore, they’ve let you down in some way, or they’re just too expensive. Again, keep it calm and civil and your bridges should stay unburned.
6. Not getting the maths right
‘Getting the maths right’ doesn’t just mean recording your accounts properly. It means charging a price that’s fair to you and the time you put in, sending out invoices fast, and being firm with clients that pay late. 57% of freelancers feel awkward about chasing invoices because they’re worried the client won’t want to work with them again.
The clearer you are about costs and your due dates, the easier it is to keep money coming in consistently and regularly.
Solna can help you do that with zero effort and absolutely no fuss. Automatically send payment reminders every time one of your clients is running late. Just choose when you want the email to be triggered, and Solna does it all for you.