Tip 1 – Invoice regularly
Don’t let the amount of money owed from a client get too large. Often when you are busy it is hard to find the time to invoice, but it is important you make the time. When invoices become too large you run the risk of delayed payments or possibly even clients not paying. When you present the invoices make them as detailed as possible, but clearly laid out.
Tip 2 – Give yourself the correct tools
Don’t make it hard for people to work with you as part of teams and try to avoid generating extra work for others. Make sure you remove technology barriers when possible and within reason.
A good example is working with documents and not having the same software as clients and colleagues. With free software such as LibreOffice and AbiWord, opening new versions of MS Word or Excel formats or saving a document as a PDF shouldn’t be a problem.
Tip 3 – Communication
When you are freelancing often your clients are not local or even in the same country. Build communication bridges and don’t just rely on email for communication when possible. When using email make sure you are polite and have an email signature.
If the majority of a project team or colleagues are on Skype, don’t allow yourself to be left out just because you’ve never used it. Install Skype to start rocking the voice world and their instant messaging feature is pretty good also. You can always set a ‘busy’ or ‘DnD’ status when focusing on your workload.
Tip 4 – Set your work boundaries
Make sure you have a work area that is distraction free. If you’re a freelancer you could be working at multiple locations or just from an office. Wherever you are, give yourself the proper environment to accomplish your tasks with minimal distractions, especially if working from a home office.
If you’re a twitter or facebook user make sure communicating with friends doesn’t impact your work. Set yourself social network usage times and avoid the urge just to pop on to see what your friends are talking about unless you are on a tea break. Walking away from the desk for a few minutes and getting some fresh air could help refresh you even more than social network surfing.
Tip 5 – Create an emergency plan
If you lost x, y or z equipment or services how would you carry on with your freelancing work? It isn’t just a case of making sure you have backup procedures in place, but having tried and tested procedures in place.
If your ISP connection went down for three days, what would you really do? Having a rough idea doesn’t cut it, putting a solution in place and testing it could save you headaches further down the line.