Should you be 24/7 available for your client when you are a freelancer?
Clients often like to think that if they hire a freelancer for a particular project, the person is working only for them from that point of time. It is kind of a thinking when all of the teachers in high schools thinks that their subject is the most important to learn. When companies work with freelancers they think that freelancers are should be available all the time. Companies like to think that freelancers are working from home, and if they are at home, what else could they do if not working all the time. Does it sound familiar? This misperception can generate inconvenient situations for both the company and the freelancer. To avoid such situations, we collected some tips that can help you improve the quality of your work – life.
Set working hours
Most of us went to freelance to have a better work-life ballance. Even though, the term freelance contains ’free’, which might mean to many ‘always available’. But freelancers also like to have schedule to be able to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
For that reason, freelancers are highly recommended to set boundaries with the client before starting the project. There are freelancers/business owners who are happy to work every single hour available but it often leads to burn out and can cause health problems.
What you can do is checking your inbox a fixed number of times during the day. At the same time, you should avoid becoming the person who – even in her/his personal time – is unconsciously checking emails to make sure that every single email the inbox is marked as read. Clients often tend to press out as much as possible from freelancers, just like when a company does it with its newest employees. In the beginning of a working relationship, it is natural to say ‘yes’ to a small hustle but you can’t do it forever. Clients are going to ask you to do more and more. So, should you be 24/7 available for your client when you are a freelancer?
To avoid these scenarios, make sure to be clear about the work you are offering for the client. Anything that they expect from you which is not a pre-arranged task, they cannot think that you would do it for free.
Keep it clear
If right at the start you immediately respond to every email, the client will get used to it. But then you realize it is not sustainable as it can cause harm on your life, and so, you take some time before responding. Your customer is going to have the feeling that you are ignoring him/ her, or worse, you are lazy! Also, you have to keep in mind which client you set which boundary with. Many freelancers feel inconvenience when talking to clients about their responsibilities to other clients. If you’re open with your clients about your other deadlines, you’re more likely to come across as a businessperson who’s trying to follow through on commitments.
There are multiple ways to track your time and projects. Below we introduce some tools , that help you get more organized. There is the good old trustworthy project tracking tool, which can be a simple notebook. You can write down your projects and that allows you to plan your work-life schedule. But there is a new method of manage your business and time in a notebook, called ‘Bullet Journal’( https://bulletjournal.com ). You can easily track your daily ‘to do’ lists, and everything you can imagine (such as future log, monthly spread, weeklies, dailies, and habits). It is a fantastic way of manage your projects and your time.
Other than the ‘write down’ method, there are many project tracking applications (Trello, Asana, MeisterTask, and so on). They can guide you through your projects by, creating lists of your tasks. You can even create task reminders, and you can leave messages to your colleagues. Tracking applications can provide you with many other features, which can boost your productivity.
Note to self
Freelancing also makes clear something that’s true for workers in today’s economy: you need to be on your own side, or no one will be. There’s really no such thing as job security in the 21st century. Freelancers are just more aware of that than most employees. The goal is to manage your time, not let your time manage you.