3 New Habits
to Develop for Your Biz
It's that time of year again. Time to reflect on the last 12 months, and time to wonder how in the world it's January already. It wouldn't be New Year's Eve without a few goold ol' Resolutions. And not just your ordinary Resolutions like hitting the gym and learning to cook (although we recommend both!). These 3 habits will take your freelancing biz to the next level!
1. Have the courage to say, “NO”.
This month you've spent a lot of time working up the nerve to say, “see ya later” to those clients who don't deserve you. On Days 1 and 2 you identified where things have gone wrong in the past with bad clients and what your ideal client looks like. Then on Day 4 you created your Principles Document to always remind you of your biz's vision and on Day 5 you created a sane working schedule for yourself.
As a freelancer, it's easy to feel guilty when you're not working. Don't worry, you're not alone. Every freelancer has, at one point or another, taken on too much because it seemed like the safe and secure thing to do. This year resolve to be more choosy! You're an expert and clients need your expertise to boost their business.
Look for opportunities that will improve your portfolio of work and give yourself time to complete those projects so you always do your best work. No more nickel-and-diming for you. Pick projects that excite you and fit well with your long-term plan. If they're projects you can only live with, leave 'em be.
Embrace your expertise and say goodbye to those entry-level projects of the past. You deserve to work on fulfilling and meaningful projects. Not ones that give you chest pain and migraines!
2. Keep Track of Your Time, All the Time.
With everything that goes into running a freelancing biz, marketing yourself, managing your projects and accounts, overseeing employees, and being the creative type, it's far to easy to lose track of your time. This month you learned how to wrangle in rowdy distractions on Days 12 and 14, and why using minimum billing increments is so important on Day 26. You even heard the story of one business owner who found hidden treasure in hear biz just by tracking her billable time on Day 25.
Keeping track of your billable (and unbillable!) time helps you plan for the future. Now, you may not be a fortune-teller, but you do have some seriously kick-ass non-magical magic power. Tracking your time will improve your project estimates and overall productivity. And better estimates, means a more secure schedule of future projects. And that sounds pretty magical to us!
The best part about being a Time Tracking Guru? Your bank account will feel like it won the lottery. Tracking your time helps you figure out your true hourly rate. Sound too good to be true? Think of it this way. Let's say you estimate that a project will take you 20 hours to complete, so you quote your client a flat price of $2000, hoping your hourly rate will be $100. But when you're finished, you find that you actually spent 40 hours working on the project and that your hourly rate is down to $50. Oh no! That's not music to our ears!
So punch the clock, track even the smallest of tasks, and pay attention to the time you can't bill for. You'll never undervalue your time again. And you'll earn more money doing the same amount of work you do now! That's what we call a win-win!
3. Consistency is Key.
Being consistent in your freelancing biz is more about your work life happieness than anything. Sure clients love consitenctly good work, but that's not what we mean. We mean keep consistent policies and your business will be a boomin'. Key places for consistency are communication and billing.
On Days 12 and 14 you learned how to set boundaries for your clients and how to "train" them to not interrupt your workflow. Having consistent communication policies ensures your clients don't drive you to drink (eggnog). If you email a client at 10 p.m. chances are they'll start emailing you at all times of the day too. Keep your customer support times the same and let your clients know ahead of time about how they can reach you. Your work will shine when your not always catering to someone else's demands. And even better you won't have to waste time day dreaming about putting your client on mute.
This month we spent a lot of time talking about billing (ew, gross!). On Day 6 you learned how to overcome the top excuses for not raising your rates. Then on Days 7, 8, and 9 you learned about why you should raise your rates, and how to bring up your next rate change.
This year, take what you've learned and quote similar projects consistently across the board. Set up a Payment Schedule to keep money woes from clouding your head and always invoice your clients the same time each month. You'll impress the hell out of your clients and their client buddies, and you'll find that you hardly ever underbid a job.
The Bottom Line
P.S. Want to become a Time Tracking Guru? You're in luck! We've designed our time tracking software, Freckle, to help you do just that. Freckle makes it easy to view your productivity and develop a 6th sense about your business habits.Take Freckle for a free
30-day spin today!
At Freckle Time Tracking, we believe that everyone wins when freelancers like you charge what they're really worth. So for Freelancember, we've lined up lots of great gifts to help you do it! Keep checking back.Feeling guilty for not tracking your time? Freckle can help!