The Freelancer’s Guide to Managing Multiple Clients
Thanks to the digitalization of the workspace, professionals across various industries have given their careers a refresh in recent years by becoming self-employed freelancers and working from home.
According to sources like Statista, the number of people freelancing in the United States went from 53 million in 2014 to 57 million in 2019.
However, due to the forced shift to remote working caused by COVID-19, freelancing has suddenly taken over as the main employment model. As a result, many companies have swapped their traditional workforces for freelance workers.
With this trend becoming increasingly popular, the demand for freelancers has overwhelmed many self-employed workers. If you’ve been put in this difficult position, you’re likely struggling to manage multiple clients.
If this is the case, don’t despair. We’ve compiled some tips to help you handle the increased workflow that comes with working for various clients at the same time.
Scheduling and organization
Scheduling as a freelancer should be your top priority if you’re looking to establish multiple business relationships at the same time. Keeping an organized and well-planned work schedule will allow you to manage deadlines and prioritize projects accordingly.
The way to go here is to implement a software solution that includes a calendar with automated reminders. These apps can help freelancers keep a record of their progress and track their workflow to help them manage projects. You can also make use of a file management software like DAM for Google Drive to organize your work materials.
Additionally, you must understand the extent of your capabilities. This means you should only work within the confines of what you can genuinely manage. This is especially important if you’re working for multiple companies. The best way to manage client relationships remotely as a freelancer is to set sensible deadlines and accept a realistic workload.
Organization doesn’t only extend to the work you take on, but also the work that goes into running your freelance business. Make time for admin tasks like invoicing to ensure you’re paid correctly and on time, and leverage the best invoicing tools for freelancers to keep yourself on top of your finances.
The workplace isn’t the only aspect of freelancing that has been drastically changed due to digitalization. Those old enough to remember might be familiar with pagers. Also known as beepers, these devices used to be the main communication tool for professionals 30 years ago.
Things changed with time and now we have written communication via email or instant messaging. Especially, for freelancers, when they have to send out a pitch via cold email or have to update on any task on slack (or any other communication software) written communication works best.
However, keeping it flawless and free from typo and grammatical errors was a hurdle which no longer remains the same because of online grammar checking tools.
Nowadays, with the exception of the health industry, they have been replaced by cloud-powered software solutions that include anonline phone service. This technology has made its way across multiple industries.
Freelancers mostly use VoIP phones to keep their clients in the loop. However, companies also use them as a communication tool in areas like customer service. Some of the best UK call center departments use VoIP phones exclusively.
If you’re a freelancer working with multiple clients, here’s one of our top tips for remote workers: update your clients on your progress every once in a while. A weekly call can keep them informed and allow them to offer any input. Although, mentioning all details of work and process flow along with cost in the recruitment proposal would be enough. But if the project is long-term with several basic tasks, keep your clients updated about the process.
Maintaining a back-and-forth flow of information avoids misunderstandings and is essential when it comes to customer relationship management, especially if you’re a freelance worker.
Compartmentalization is a very long word for a very simple concept. In essence, it means “keeping boundaries”. If you want to be able to maintain the freelance lifestyle in the long run and avoid burnout, you need to separate your work life from your personal life.
This is especially true if you’re a remote worker. It may sound funny, but “covidsomnia” is real. According to a study conducted by the University of Southampton in August 2020, the number of people that experienced insomnia in the UK rose from one in six to one in four during the lockdown.
In many people’s cases, anxiety and insomnia came as a direct consequence of working in the same room where they slept. This work-related anxiety can express itself in many ways and take a toll on one’s well-being. In cities like Chicago, IL where many remote workers may be experiencing these same issues, teletherapy services have seen a rise in adoption. Teletherapy provides an accessible means for freelancers to discuss the unique challenges they face, seek advice, or even just communicate their feelings in a safe, private environment. The best way to avoid blurring the lines between office and house is to work in a different room or – ideally – a studio.
If you don’t have the space to do so, don’t worry; you can always get your hands on a good pair of noise-canceling headphones and work from a café or coworking space. It should be obvious, but only do this when you’re working. If you’re going to host a meeting with your employer, secure a more private, quiet, and professional-looking area.
Although good mental health is essential to avoid stress issues, you should consider establishing a somewhat healthy lifestyle too. Remember those organizing skills we discussed earlier? Well, scheduling your workflow to accommodate your clients’ needs is important, but you shouldn’t neglect your own either.
Try to schedule a real routine in terms of working hours and include some time for personal plans. Here’s a list of things to do during your breaks:
- Hit the gym, go for a walk, or do a small workout at home.
- Do some yoga and stretches, especially if you’ve been sitting all day. Your neck and back will thank you for it!
- Practice some meditation or take a hot or cold shower to relax.
- Have a balanced and healthy diet and stay hydrated. Do not abuse caffeine and sugar. Read about health insights.
Learn new skills
If you’re working for multiple clients, there’s a chance they’ll ask you to do something you’re not familiar with at some point. Due to the digitalization of the workspace, the number of jobs to do from home has increased exponentially recently.
If you’re a copywriter or marketing expert with experience talking about other companies’ customer service departments, for example, consider training to become a client support expert. You could put your blogging skills to good use by applying to work on a conversational support blog inside a customer service team.
If customer support isn’t your thing and you’d like to stick to advertising or copywriting, you could look into becoming a sales representative. If that idea seems like something you’d be interested in, maybe start by looking at cold calling tips, for example.
Regardless of what new area of freelancing you decide to explore, learning a new skill will give you new and exciting opportunities working for different clients at the same time.