When switching from corporate life to the freelancing world, it can be a challenge to learn how to juggle multiple clients.
How do you keep all of your projects organized and on-track when you’re first starting out?! How do you decide what tasks to prioritize each day?! How do you keep your clients happy when you’re busy also working on other projects?! And as a one-woman shop?!
Well, we have just the answer for you today, love 😉
Here are three easy and powerful ways to better manage your client load (tried, tested and true by yours truly!) to keep your freelancing business running smoothly!
1. Create a Daily Download
When it comes to juggling multiple clients while freelancing, one HUGE question you likely have is, “How the heck do I manage, keep track of, and efficiently complete all of my tasks?!”
Too often than not, the typical responses are:
- Create a blocked schedule
- Implement task batching
- Work a consistent schedule
- Utilize a task management system
And while those are all great and useful suggestions, sometimes they just don’t cut it. Oftentimes, no matter the techniques you implement, you still feel like you’re drowning in the overwhelm of your never-ending to-do list.
Trust me… I’ve been there, love!
So, it’s time to take a step back and start thinking realistically. No matter the systems, processes, or techniques you’ve got up your sleeve, your two pages of to-do list items just aren’t going to get done in one day.
To avoid getting overwhelmed and burnt out, it’s important to realize that as a business owner, there will ALWAYS be more work to be done. It’s not about filling every minute and hour of your day with tasks and work. The key to being a successful business owner (or freelancer!) is to know how to prioritize the RIGHT tasks each day to move your business and your client projects forward…and that also allows you to shut your laptop screen at the end of the day feeling accomplished!
A great way to maintain a more realistic schedule is by implementing what is called a “Daily Download.” Essentially, this means spending five minutes before and after work checking in on your priorities. In the morning, review your one to three main priorities for the day. At the end of the day, set your one to three priorities for the next day!
By following this method, you’ll jump-start each day, knowing exactly where you need to focus your time and energy. Rather than trying to tackle every single to-do list item, you’ll prioritize what really matters and will move your projects forward. Plus, you’ll feel way more accomplished and end your workday with peace of mind that you moved your essential client tasks forward!
To put this method into action, I absolutely love utilizing the “Daily Download” sheets from Ink Well Press! However, if you’re looking for a more robust planner with the similar “Daily Download” concept, I highly recommend the Full Focus Planner!
The key to the “Daily Download” system is that you only prioritize 1-3 big tasks each day.
2. Overcommunicate to Success
Clear and consistent communication is absolutely key when it comes to successfully juggling multiple freelance clients!
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you streamline communication with all of your clients. You can do this by creating an Asana project specifically for each client. This project management system is a great way to provide progress and status updates, or communicate through task comments.
Another great way to streamline your client communication is to host weekly check-in calls via Zoom. These calls should be just long enough for you to provide a detailed update and ask questions. If you decide to take this communication route, your calls should occur at the same time and day of the week if possible, and be scheduled via Google Calendar.
You can also send weekly progress updates via email on the last day of your work week. Format your emails using bolding and bullet points so that they can be easily scanned. Be sure to also include any questions you have or if you need to make any deadline adjustments. Additionally, I highly recommend creating an email folder for each client. This way, your communications are organized and can be easily found and referenced!
No matter how you decide to streamline your communication, it’s important that your clients are aware of your process and communication guidelines. Always communicate clearly, ask questions, provide updates, and set clear expectations from the very beginning to the very end of your client projects!
Having a consistent process to communicate with your clients each week prior, during, and at the end of the project is going to be a game-changer!
3. Know When to Say No
It’s so easy to end up with too much on your plate when juggling multiple clients. More times than I can remember, I found myself working 12-hour days trying to make progress on my never-ending to-do list. However, this very quickly led to me feeling seriously burnt out in my business!
It’s important that you’re aware of your bandwidth before you begin feeling too overwhelmed or start missing deadlines.
Before you accept any more clients or projects, be honest with yourself about the number of work hours you can put in each day and week. Ask yourself these questions:
- How many hours a day can I spend working without feeling completely drained?
- Within those hours, how many do I need to devote to building and working on my own business? (Think basic admin tasks, pitching, development, etc.)
- Therefore, how many hours can I realistically devote to client work each week?
Now that you know how many hours you can truly devote to client work each day and week, how does your current client workload fit in? Do you have room to take on any more projects or new clients, or are you at capacity?
If you’re approaching max workload capacity, don’t be afraid to increase your rates or to just say no. As hard as it may be to consider turning down a project, sometimes it’s a necessary part of business! If you already feel overloaded, taking on more projects will lead to sub-par work, too long of days, and total burnout. Trust me 😉
Instead, explain that you’re fully booked, but that you’d love to secure them in your project calendar for next month, or even the following! The key to not feeling overwhelmed but still ensuring that you have a steady client flow and income is to start booking in advance!
If you think you’re ready to increase your rate so you can take on fewer clients and projects, check out our best tips on how to do it!
At the end of the day, you’re the only one who knows when too much is too much. Be honest with yourself, know your limits, set boundaries, and respect your needs!
Once you have these strategies in place, juggling multiple clients CAN be easy… and enjoyable! Take a deep breath, know this is all part of the process and let’s turn you into a client-managing machine 😉