Asking, “How much can I make freelance writing?” is a little like asking how fast water runs downhill.
With freelance writing, the faster you work, the more you’ll make – assuming you know how to get writing clients, of course. Without clients in your queue, it doesn’t matter how quickly you research, write, or polish your work.
I’ve got time issues. I get in the zone and what feels like a few minutes turns out to be hours. Nearly 100% of the times I look up at the clock, I’m surprised by what I see. This has caused some challenges in estimating how long a project will take (and the tips you’re about to read are pretty much what I do to counteract my time-free tendencies).
Start a time journal – Record all of the tasks completed in a day, using an electronic format preferably. This allows for easy analysis and manipulation of the data captured in a reusable format. A good rule of thumb for anything is to write it once and reuse it again and again. Data taken from a journal can be copied and pasted into an electronic calendar, allowing the freelancer to copy and paste repeating or standing tasks. An e-calendar can be printed, if paper is preferred. Keep a journal for 30-days, documenting each task and how long it took to complete. Below is a sample journal entry.
|TASK||TIME TO COMPLETE||PURPOSE||NOTES|
|Creative thinking||30 Minutes||Client project||Storyboarded website|
|Meeting||10 Minutes||Vendor||Upgrade home network|
Schedule the time the day demands
Scheduling client meetings, time for reading email and returning calls generally make it to the calendar. Time for producing actual client or customer deliverables most often land high on the priority list too, but there are other drains on a freelancer’s time which can create problems if they are not planned for. Be certain to plan for interruptions throughout your day, emergencies that can push your priorities down the list of tasks to complete today, plan time for thinking about client projects and the business, plan for project management and the all-important, customer relationship management.
Freelancers as entrepreneurs must juggle working on contracted deliverables, maintaining existing customers, and bringing in new clients, to keep work and income flowing through their pipeline. These important tasks should be planned calendar activities, rather than an afterthought that could be squeezed in where possible.
Make a dynamic calendar
Most people really enjoy a paper day-planner or are in love with applications and devices. Whatever you prefer, make the chosen calendar dynamic; a living thing that works to keep the freelancer on top of their game. On paper that would be using highlighting and different color ink. For example, all client related, time-dependent items could be written in red ink. What that would look like on the calendar would be this; client deliverables, client updates and follow-ups via email, text, telephone, Skype, or in person would be in red ink. All client deliverables could be in red ink also, with everything else in black ink.
When using a digital calendar that is synced up between your online email account, computer, tablet, and smartphone, it can be configured to have any number of colors, sounds, pop up boxes and more to keep a freelancer on track.
The key to freelancing happiness
The key to a happy, peaceful and productive freelance career is managing one’s time to stay organized, in the know about what is coming up next for you, and ahead of schedule on all deliverables. Effectively managing this process can be freelance nirvana.