If You’re a Freelancer – Do These 5 Things to Manage Client Engagements More Efficiently

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

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Client engagements are valuable to your freelancing journey. They are your means to make a living out of your passions, empower you to hone your skills and expand your network.

However, these engagements can get out of control when you have too many of them or clients have ultra-high demands.

Here are some tips to help you manage your client engagements and ensure they don’t ruin your freelancing productivity and well-being:

5 Things to Manage Client Engagements More Efficiently

Freelancer

Freelancer

1. Make a SMART to-do list.

Create a daily list of tasks that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bounded (SMART). Doing so helps you focus on what you can target and likely accomplish for the day.

Completing it will even give you a sense of accomplishment – empowering you for the next day’s work.

Don’t cram your list with to-do’s that you know you won’t be able to complete. If you have too many to think of, enumerate them and schedule each task.

You can also break down comprehensive processes into sub-tasks and arrange them in sequence.

Let’s say you’re a content writer for a physical fitness website. You can list your target to-do’s for the day’s blog post like this:

  • Research on 2021 physical fitness trends for 30 minutes
  • Create an outline (and content guide for 700 words) for 15 minutes
  • Write the blog post in 30 minutes
  • Polish the 700-word article in 30 minutes

With a detailed to-do list like this, you can organize your assignments and prep yourself for the day’s work.

2. Automate your project management and billing.

If you’re a freelancing project manager, dealing with client engagements can be taxing because you’re not only thinking of your deliverables and deadlines.

You must also determine how much to bill, manage expenses, maintain active communications with clients and team members, etc.

Using several tools for all these related tasks can aggravate your burden, disorganize your work, and easily confuse you. You can then risk committing errors — which you can’t afford to do when handling your clients’ projects.

To simplify things, centralize all your work into an all-in-one platform and automate administrative tasks. Using widely-used project management software is an excellent idea to do just that.

With professional services software, you can:

  • Launch, monitor, and manage your project from start to completion
  • Schedule tasks and appointments
  • Collaborate seamlessly with your team
  • Store, organize and share documents
  • Compute your productivity and the equivalent bill for clients automatically
  • Create a branded billing statement for clients
  • Supervise your project accounting and financials
  • Track your expenses
  • Get business intelligence and forecast trends (with advanced tools), and
  • Generate project and performance reports.

Imagine the numerous project-related and administrative tasks you can complete from one software. This eases your work and enables you to stay on top of your freelancing projects effectively.

3. Say no when you need to.

A freelancer’s work is dynamic. This can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances. It is often thrilling working with different people, but it can also mean instability when your contract ends. You then have to find another client.

Because of that, freelancers face the temptation of taking every client opportunity, even when they end up having a lot on their plate. They work for 12 hours a day, lack rest and social life, and feel burnt out after a season.

As a freelancer, you need to manage your engagements and prioritize your well-being. After all, if you’re not feeling well (physically, mentally, etc.), you will still be unproductive and ineffective. This can further jeopardize not only your health but also your client’s trust and freelancing reputation.

Choose the right client opportunity by considering those that bring value to your freelancing journey (e.g., broader industry network, skills development, etc.). They should also not be at the expense of your well-being.

Alternatively, bravely say “no” to these kinds of clients:

  • Those that frequently insist on discounts instead of your regular rates
  • Those that refuse to pay for additional revisions beyond what you both agreed on
  • Those with unrealistic deadlines and demands.

Moreover, set expectations with your client at the beginning of your contract. Establish clear boundaries and stick to your working schedule. That should be the only time you open your email and communicate with your client.

Prioritize your work-life balance, and you can better thrive in your freelancing work.

4. Clarify project details from the beginning.

It’s a huge nightmare when you’ve nearly finished your deliverables, and the client suddenly wants something else, or you discover you misunderstood what they wanted.

You realize all your time and hard work were for nothing, and you have to redo the entire thing. It’s incredibly frustrating.

Prevent that from happening by clarifying with your client the essentials of an engagement right from the beginning. Some of these details include the project scope, objectives, contract terms, jargon, and more.

For instance, if a client asks you to organize a virtual summit for him, present the activity’s definition to check that you are both on the same page.

Remind the client gently that a summit differs from a conference or any other virtual event. Summits gather major-league organizational players to resolve widescale problems, while conferences convene more generic sectors to exchange ideas and industry updates. Conventions are where fanatics can meet up, and so on.

Clarifying the activity helps you invite the right audiences, design appropriate invitations, craft targeted content, etc.

By defining these things from the get-go, you can reduce significant blunders, avoid wasting time and effort, and better satisfy your clients’ wants.

5. Organize your output production processes.

If your work entails creating digital outputs or products, you’ll likely produce numerous little assets as components of the overall material.

If that’s the case, you need to organize your production process with comprehensive tools. Doing so lets you pull out or modify tiny significant details quickly anytime.

For instance, if you frequently produce content for your client, use content management platforms. They have the features you need for the entire lifecycle.

You can store and organize your digital assets and design materials with intuitive drag-and-drop and other functions.

You can also share these digital assets and materials with your team. This functionality lets them access and modify things when they need to. As a result, you can collaborate more seamlessly with your members.

Content management tools can even assist you with your publication, distribution, and SEO goals and operations.

By organizing your output production, you can manage digital assets smoothly and avoid scrambling your folders to look for files.

Efficient client management simplifies your freelancing life.

Sorting through your client engagements does not have to be complicated. You only need these and other tips and tools, plus perhaps a few tweaks to the way you do things. They may seem minor, but they can have a massive impact on your efficiency when applied. Start reviewing your client engagement workflows, see what to improve on, and watch the adjustments boost your freelancing productivity.

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4 responses to “If You’re a Freelancer – Do These 5 Things to Manage Client Engagements More Efficiently”

  1. Mary Jones says:

    Thanks, Uttoran Sen I just started doing freelancing and I am new to the freelancing world as I had no previous experience of this. This post has helped me.
    And now I can manage my clients effectively.

  2. Robert says:

    Hey Uttoran,
    Excellent site you have here. The key to success in any “business” is building lasting relationships with clients. But what happens when managing clients takes up a lot of your time & energy? The best way to nurture & grow your relationships with each client when you are strapped for time—especially during tax season—is to practice both efficient & effective client management.

  3. Hi Uttoran,

    From my freelancing experience – Transparent communication is the key for clients engagement. Timely updates, real-time commitments, and taking them in the loop in every phase of the project development; that’s how you can win their trust and keep retain them.

    And #3 particularly, is a savior. New freelancers need to understand this; they can’t say YES to every opportunity in just the greed of more numbers. Quality should be the #1 concern.

  4. Maria Walker says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful information about the freelancing, I am new in freelancing just started freelancing from last few days in this world, I had no Previous work or experience. This help lot of people who are new in this field, thanks again for sharing this.

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