3 Tips for Freelancers to Free Up Time to Earn More Money
There are many ways to earn more money. Sometimes it means taking on extra work or it may mean raising rates. Other times, it could just mean being better with your time. Here are 3 tips to help you free up time to possibly make more money.
1. Automate as much as possible
Anything that can be automated cuts out steps and can save you time. By automating, you can rest assured that the task will be handled. For instance, if you want to put money away in savings for a new Mac, an emergency fund or for whatever reason, set it up so it happens automatically. First look at your current bills and other financial commitments. Then, figure out what amount of money you can realistically set aside on a regular basis.
Also, consider how often you would like to transfer the money into the account. It may make sense to have it match how often you get paid so you pull out smaller increments each pay period per month versus one large amount once a month. If you pull it out before you pay regular bills and other financial commitments, you may not even feel the sting of missing it. Once you set it up, you’re free from ever having to do it again.
Another task we might not think of as automation – but it is – are reminders. Setting reminders that repeat monthly or weekly on the same day on my phone aids in remembering to do certain tasks. I do this for any bills or payments whether automated or not just to stay aware of what’s getting paid and what needs to get paid or for invoices I need to pay.
Making sure to only do this when needed helps me stay focused and productive. If you send too many reminders, it’s easy to become desensitized to them. Also, too many of them can be disruptive to your workflow.
Try to only use reminder for things you absolutely need to remember and ditch ones that aren’t helpful. You don’t want your phone to remind you about unimportant issues every five minutes. Also, think about getting rid of certain notifications like social media updates that can hit your mobile device at any time. While you don’t want to miss out on exciting updates from friends, family, clients or co-workers, most status updates can wait. Hearing about someone’s beer preferences or seeing the latest photo of your neighbor’s sixteenth tattoo doesn’t have to happen in the moment.
2. Tweak the frequency of handling certain tasks to maximize your time
There are certain tasks that can be done less frequently to better utilize precious resources like time and money. After I book clients on some of the best finance podcasts, outside of initial setup, I purposely invoice them twice a month. It allows me to plan when I bill, it helps the client know how much they will spend and it keeps everyone on the same page. It also makes for better cash flow for the freelancer and allows for the client to pay smaller amounts twice a month versus one big invoice.
Another way to use my time wisely and stay very focused is to have a process for handling tasks like the mail. It can be a time drain and pile up quickly if not taken care of on a regular basis. Since I find that I’m still handling paper in the form of mail more often than I’d like, I try to organize it for a few minutes daily. While certain catalogs I didn’t sign up for can disappear with one phone call and get dumped into my recycling bin, other mailings may be something I use periodically like flyers, coupons, promotions, etc.
I sort the mail and put it in 3 different places based on what it is. I immediately discard what I know I won’t use at all. I keep a pile for something I may use or need to take action on the upcoming week like a special promotion or pay a bill. Then I stash any offers, promotions, coupons or flyers in a basket. This way, I can hold on to some of the information that I might need later in the month. I can delay the decision of getting rid of this in the moment and stash it neatly. I recycle this pile every month. Most of the offers or promotions will be over by then so I can grab the whole stack in one fell swoop and toss it in recycling without having to go through any of it.
3. Work with like-minded people.
For those that haven’t seen the television show The Profit, self-made millionaire and entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis helps restore failing businesses that request to work with him. He prides himself on following the mantra “people, process and product”.
On a recent episode of the show, he tried partnering with a business owner, but there were too many aspects of the working relationship that didn’t fit his mantra. The owner lied about the inventory she held. There was over a $200,000 discrepancy between what she claimed she had and what. She didn’t want to compromise on the company’s name and packaging. She also didn’t want to admit to other weaknesses that needed improvement.
After growing tired of her unwillingness to make any significant changes, Lemonis broke off the partnership saying, “I’m not paying that fee anymore.” It’s hard to find people you click with 100%, but you want to make sure there’s enough common ground to sustain the working relationship and shared vision of the company. Sometimes, no matter how much money you can make in a situation, it’s not worth the headache of dealing with difficult people. Carefully consider partnerships you take on and the clients you choose to work with. It can save you a great deal of time in the long run and save your sanity.
The Bottom Line
Time is money and any process that I can do more efficiently, eliminate altogether or allows me to work productively with others gives me more time to focus on the more important aspects of my work. As a freelance writer, sending emails, promoting my services and sending invoices are all tasks that can take up my time when I could automate some of those things and spend my time working and earning more money instead.