If you’ve ever tried juggling, you probably learned an important lesson: As soon as one ball falls down, others are bound to follow. It’s similar with freelancing. Every freelancer will have multiple clients at a certain point of his career, probably throughout most of it. And you want to keep all those balls in the air, moving around. Here are our six tips on handling multiple clients at once…
First and foremost, you should set your priorities straight. Always have deadlines for all your projects at a place you look every single day. For me, that’s sticky notes on my desktop (not actual sticky notes, the widget ones). You might have notifications on your phone, time managing apps or just a pin-up wall with reminders – whatever works. But you absolutely have to know which task is most urgent at any point of time and act accordingly.
2) Be transparent about your schedule
Our second tip is about client communication. Honesty really is the best policy here. Be upfront with the people you work with and tell them if you have other urgent projects that might interfere with theirs. This will help in drafting a mutually agreeable schedule for everyone. Some clients won’t mind this – many projects aren’t time sensitive. A one week extension doesn’t really matter for them.
3) Say “no” rather than “maybe”
But, keep in mind, some work will be time dependent and your transparency will lead you to losing out on some jobs. But that’s not the end of world. It’s a much better alternative than accepting a project and not finishing it in time. This means possibly leaving a smear on your reputation and certainly burning at least one bridge. Don’t be afraid to say no to projects you know you can’t complete in time.
4) Be realistic with yourself
Do you find yourself always being sure that tomorrow you’re certainly going to do a lot of work, while really you’re overestimating the amount of time you have? Don’t worry. It’s a psychological phenomenon that everyone experiences – short-term gratification with the excuse of long-term commitment. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t fight against it. Once you realize you’re setting impossible goals, you should consciously reduce your expectations to a more realistic level.
5) Split up your work efficiently
Juggling multiple clients at once often also means doing various very different tasks each day. Think about which ones you can do with less effort and which require all of your brain power. The most challenging part of your work should be done at the time of day when you feel most productive. The menial work is more easily completed even if you’re tired. In fact, it might even be a welcome distraction.
6) Get external help
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It might be difficult to go against your lone-wolf freelancer instincts at first, but working together with others opens up a lot of possibilities. Let your client know when a project is too big and offer to team up with a colleague you know and trust. Together with fellow freelancers, you can tackle bigger tasks and form up a formidable team.
Feel free to post any thoughts you might have on the subject in the comment section below this article. The freelancermap team is always happy to hear from its readers.