Having multiple freelance clients is a common practice in this industry, and your employers are not naive not to know or notice. Rather than lying about it, it’s best to be very transparent and tell them straight away. You don’t want to start your work relationship on lies and honestly, most freelance clients really don’t care. The only thing they care about is whether you deliver on what you have promised, and that is high quality and timely freelance work. Read that again.
Needless to say, don’t overwhelm your calendar at the expense of quality or attention to detail. If the quality of your freelance projects are already declining because of trying to juggle multiple clients, that might be a sign that you’re better off working with one client. A good client will reward you with a consistent pay rise if you truly add value to them.
Remember that clients hire freelancers so they can free themselves some time to focus on much more important tasks. What you don’t want is to get a lot of revisions from them because that can only increase both your frustration.
But don’t stress 🙂 We will share with you the most valuable tips on how to manage multiple clients as a freelancer. These are straight from some of our high-performing freelancers who earn around PHP 50,000 to 70,000 a month and also have other clients and freelance gigs. They successfully keep us happy whilst still enjoying a good life.
Get enough rest
According to a recent survey conducted by Sleep Cycle, a sleep tracking application, Filipino adults get only about six hours and 30 minutes of sleep a day, way below the recommended seven to nine hours of rest daily. In fact, Filipinos rank fourth among the most sleepless people in the world.
Sleep deprivation has long been linked to decreased productivity and learning ability, and not to mention, health problems. Studies show that not sleeping or getting enough sleep can lower your learning abilities by as much as 40%.
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep as the best form of relaxation and key to becoming a creative and successful freelancer.
Plan what you will do for the day before your shift starts
We recommend starting your day by setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than usual, then gradually extend the duration. You can utilise this extra time to not only set priorities but also get some exercise, practice meditation, and even engage in a pastime. And when your freelance work hours are about to end, take the time to spend the last 15 minutes planning what you are going to do the next day.
When it comes to time management as a virtual assistant, knowing what you have planned for the day can really help. A straightforward to-do list is the first step in developing that habit for independent contractors.
Stay organised and batch your time with your freelance clients
The Eisenhower matrix is another tool you can use to know how to manage multiple clients and your freelance projects. Make a list of every task you have to complete and indicate the urgency and importance of each one. Add the freelance jobs to the proper quadrant of the matrix once you have the list:
Quadrant I tasks include:
These jobs must be completed right away because they are urgent, crucial activities. This area is reserved for jobs with frequently looming deadlines or that are frequently unexpected.
Quadrant II tasks:
Although less urgent than the task in the first quadrant, it is nonetheless important to do these activities. There is therefore no demand on you to plan or think about them. As you may expect, Quadrant II will be where the majority of your duties are located.
Quadrant III tasks:
While necessary, these duties are not urgent. Delegate if you can is the golden guideline for this area. All of the chores that prevent you from achieving your goals will be in this quadrant. If you are unable to assign these chores, try to complete them as quickly as you can so that you can return to quadrants I and II.
Quadrant IV tasks:
These duties are neither urgent nor vital. Or to put it another way, they are a waste of time. Checking social media or surfing the web are frequent activities that belong in this sector. Never mind them!
Working with this matrix will enable you to better organise your workday and devote more of your time to the freelance projects that demand it.
Leverage technology to your advantage
Take advantage of project management systems that allow you to classify projects and arrange your tasks, which is perfect in becoming an expert on how to manage multiple clients. If you’re an auditory learner who prefers to dictate your thoughts instead of writing them down, you can use a tool or app that could help you with that. Or perhaps you prefer the classic Microsoft Excel sheets or Google Docs. It really doesn’t matter whether your tool is fancy, state-of-the-art, or old school. The only thing that matters is whether it works for you and when it does, use it consistently until it becomes an unbreakable habit.
It’s okay to say no
The tendency to take on too many freelance clients is influenced by what renowned psychologists Kahneman and Tversky dubbed “the planning fallacy, ” which refers to human beings’ innate inclination to underestimate the time needed to complete any assignment. Saying no is also a challenge for some. Filipino freelancers, in particular, are too hospitable for their own good, thus making it hard to reject offers or speak up when they want to renegotiate a deadline.
Learning when to say no is power and it doesn’t mean you can’t do the job. Knowing how to draw boundaries can do so much in saving your sanity and quality of work. You should know better than attempting to do more freelance work than you are capable of.