Ten Tips to Help You Run Your Freelance Writing Business More Efficiently
As a freelancer, the more time you have to write, the more money you make, right? But when you freelance, you’re effectively running your own business, and that comes with a ton of admin and management tasks.
They eat into your time without providing you with any actual ‘billable hours’, In other words, you can’t charge any of your clients for the time you spend on them. The less time you spend on admin the more time you have to spend on writing, so it’s worth getting a few things in place to help you run your freelance writing business more efficiently.
Autoresponders are automated email messages. You can set them to be delivered at a certain time and date. You can also set an automated message to be delivered in response to an email you receive. As the owner of a writing business, you can use automated responses to let clients know you’ve received their email and will respond within 24 hours.
This means you only have to check and respond to email once a day, unless there are specific circumstances that require you to do so more often, like on a day when you are emailing back and forth with a particular client to finish up a specific project. You can also use autoresponders to send a broadcast message to all of your clients or prospects to announce some news, an opening for a new client, or a special promotion.
Templates basically make everything easier. You can create template email responses to respond to your most frequently asked questions or email inquiries. You can also create templates for content projects. For example, if you write articles for clients you can create a template for each different type of article. A how to article template, a tips article template, and a review article template for example.
Automated invoicing and financial reporting
Invoicing and your monthly and quarterly statements can eat up valuable time. Automate the process as much as possible and cut back on the time you spend in the role of accountant. You can use tools like PayPal, BillingBoss, Zoho or any number of other automatic invoicing systems.
Use a project management tool or service to make communication with your customers easy. Project management tools also help you stay on track so you deliver every project on time. My favourite free tools for managing my own projects and collaborating with clients are Asana and Workflowy.
Some project management tools also offer calendar and milestone functions. If your project management tool doesn’t consider creating an editorial calendar. This calendar will include every single deadline you have so you can schedule your workdays accordingly. I use the Do Less But Better printable planner as an editorial calendar.
Virtual assistants can just make life easier. They can handle client communications. They can invoice. They can also research, edit and publish content for you. If you have no idea where to start with hiring one, the free resources over at VANetworking.com can help.
Work for hire agreements and other contracts
A simple work for hire agreement or a policies and procedures statement that your client agrees to can help you feel confident and assured that you and your client have a professional relationship. In fact there are a few different forms I like to have to hand to help avoid client misunderstandings.
You can grab FREE templates for all your most important forms in the CoachGlue New Client Kit. These are aimed at coaches, but can be adapted for most freelance or consulting businesses.
Asking clients to fill out a questionnaire for each new project helps ensure you get all the information you need to do a great job. If you offer different types of writing services, consider creating a questionnaire for each type of service. For example, create a content questionnaire and a copy writing questionnaire. But you only need to create each one once, then send a blank copy to each new client.
Use web forms on your website or blog so itís quick and easy for prospects to get in touch with you. For example, you might have an inquiry form for new clients, and/or a general contact form.
Marketing strategy and schedule
Finally, because marketing is the key to lasting success, create a marketing strategy and schedule. For example, if social media marketing is part of your marketing strategy then schedule your interactions. You might schedule thirty minutes each day and one hour on the weekends for social marketing.
The more you can create systems for your business and automate your tasks, the more time you’ll have for writing, which is where the real money is, after all.
Want more training on freelance writing? Check out the Write Your Way To Your First 1K course to help you make your first $1000 from your writing.
While you’re here, feel free to check out lay the useful writing tools I use every day to run my successful freelance writing business.