As a freelancer, how do you manage client work? When you are a freelancer, you often have to assimilate into your client’s pre-existing systems. It can be nerve-wracking.
One client uses Asana, another communicates with What’s App. Three of your clients use Slack but one prefers email. Do you create your own Trello board and spend a bunch of time managing the systems you are forced to use?
I used to be a secretary.
The good thing, for me, is that I spent 30 years being a secretary. Though you essentially have a choice in your systems and processes, after a while it becomes subconscious. You get used to being interrupted. Resorting priorities is the norm.
It’s like being a chef or working in a kitchen. Orders come in. You have prep work. But you’ll never know if two parties of 12 decide to come in at the same time. Unless, of course, reservations are required.
Option 1: Set up Your Own Systems
I’m sure some companies do this. I don’t personally know any self-employed freelancers who do this though. It could be good for your own workflow. The risk is that it may discourage onboarding from new or existing clients.
I wouldn’t recommend using your own time organizing a new Trello board, for example, but if you use some automation or a virtual assistant, it may be worth it.
Option 2: Assimilate
You can log into to your each of your clients’ systems and processes. This is kind of a pain because you have to remember which clients have which systems. You may have to use their system regardless. In that case, acceptance is key.
On the flipside, you can manage client expectations by making boundaries clear.
“It’s your responsibility to tell your clients how and when they can get hold of you and this includes the times you won’t be available.” The WP Buffs
Option 3: Hybrid System
Set up a routine. Make a list of clients. Systematically go through them at the required intervals. Take notes in a physical book. This is how I manage my clients.
Since I have packages, I know what kind of work I need to do for each client. For example, Twitter Pro, Twitter Basic, and LinkedIn Basic clients get a spreadsheet twice a month with content for them to approve. After approval, I schedule those 15 days.
Making a simple Google Sheet helps me remember quickly which clients are on those packages. This helps for those who have other services like coaching calls or blogging.
It’s your choice.
You’re a freelancer for a reason. You have the freedom to make a lot of choices. Build in time to work on your own business. Save time wherever you can. Creating some kind of system will help you remember to bill on time, do the work ahead of time, and gain peace of mind.