Freelancers and Work Automation – 5 Tips that Will Save Your Workday

When you decide to quit your job and go your own way, career-wise, it’s crucial that you make the most out of your time at work.

The position of a freelancer gives a lot of great perks, but this is the case only if you stay organized and focused on your projects.

Failing to meet your clients’ demands and deadlines can result in lower income, damaged reputation and a bleak career perspective.

In order to prevent such a scenario, you should automate as many nuts and bolts of your work as possible. Here’s what we think will help a novice freelancer establish smooth work process and automation.

Insist on punctual and concise communication

How many times did you find yourself discussing some trivial things with your clients? Naturally, when you acquire long-term business partners, you can’t always strictly stick to business topics. While small talk in business can bring some benefits, they can easily gnaw at your precious time.

Therefore, schedule how much time you’ll spend communicating with your clients.

For instance, if it’s an online call, talking about non-business topics for up to five minutes is acceptable. After that, switch to business stuff. You could write down a short draft for such conversations and always stick to that schedule. Using that very copy is also a kind of automation since you’ll always hold on to the same schedule and save your time.

Likewise, it’s imperative not to indulge in long online chats. Skype, Google Hangouts, and Upwork chat service are all great tools for smooth communication. Still, they can devour your time if you don’t use them in a disciplined way.

That’s why you should move on to some handy project management tools, once you’ve sorted out the key business features of your collaboration with the client in question. They’ll prevent you from long communication sessions and keep you organized in dealing with your projects.

Limit the number of software tools (to eliminate procrastination)

Accounting software of the aforementioned software tools can be of great help if you want to automate some of your work features.

Nevertheless, there’s always a risk of overdoing with software tools. Instead of using those solutions for more efficient work, you might end up toying with them without any practical outcomes.

That’s why you should limit the number of tools you’re using.

What’s a must for every freelancer is getting an accounting tool that can be integrated with a bank account. This tandem can alleviate many processes that you need to deal with in your workday.

Apart from that, you should use the benefits of email service as much as possible. More often than not, you don’t have to communicate in real time with your clients. So, instead of contacting them via chat services, just put together an email and send it over to your client. They’ll read it when they have time.

Also, using email is a great automation perk when your client is late with their payment. In that case, it should be a well-structured reminder email that will contain all the key points that will incentivize that client to make their due payment. What’s more, you can just schedule those reminder emails in advance and let the software do that job instead of you.

Improve your billing features

One of the biggest risks for freelancers is running out of cash. While you can do many things to ensure seamless cash flow, not all of them are equally efficient in this day and age.

That’s why you should introduce some automation features in your billing procedures.

First and foremost, automate your invoices whenever it’s possible. Of course, you won’t be able to always to that. For instance, when you’re just starting out a collaboration with a new client, it will take some time to find the right payment rhythm for both parties.

However, when you’ve established a certain work and payment pace, you can adjust your billing clocks in accordance with your payment schedule. That way, you’ll save a lot of time, especially when your client list starts expanding to dozens of clients. Also, you can apply these invoicing tips to make the entire process more efficient.

When it comes to automated billing, it’s important to link your online accounts to your bank account or other money withdrawal services. In case of PayPal, it’s done in a simple way. They have some commission fees, so read more about them before you opt for their services. What you should take great care about are your bank fees. They might differ a lot from bank to bank, so make sure to get all the info you might need about that topic in advance.

Further, automate money transfer from your online payment service to your bank account. You have different transfer options, for instance, once a week, once in a fortnight, once a month etc. Choose the one that meets your financial needs and you won’t have to do it manually.

Get hold of your financial documents

One of the key prerequisites for smooth business automation is getting hold of your financial documents. If they’re scattered in several places, you’ll not be able to track them or keep them under control.

The first thing you need to do to achieve that goal is to scan and save each and every check and sales receipt you get. Here you can read more about the benefits of proper use of sales receipt in business.

As you scan and store your expense records, you simply upload them to the cloud or save them on your office computer. The former option is better since you can use them automatically in many different ways, from tracking your current business expenses to filling out tax returns in a fast way. Still, you should back up even those automated financial records, so saving them both online and on your computer might be the best combo for smooth but secure business organization.

Moreover, keeping track of our financial documents will help you automate your payments. For instance, you can schedule your account for regular payments when it comes to overhead expenses. These payments include the rent and other costs related to your office.

Apart from that, you can do the same thing if you have any outsourcers or other collaborators. Still, if the payments they receive from you vary, you’ll need to manually sort out those changes.

Track your own work hours

Being a freelancer carries the risk of procrastination. We’re all different and sometimes it’s important to impose some strict disciplinary measures upon ourselves in order to get things done.

This is where time-tracking apps can play an important role in the life of every freelancer. Now that you don’t have a boss behind your back, it’s necessary to make a little effort to use your time efficiently. This will result in great organizational and financial benefits for your freelance career.

What you should do is start working in your natural way and switch on the time tracker at the beginning of every work session. After a few days, sit down to analyze the time efficiency data on your tracker. It will give you a great insight into your efficiency, as well as all the potential inefficiencies.

The next thing to do is create a work schedule that will match the peaks of your productivity during one work day. As you start working in accordance with your personal productivity preferences, you’ll automatically optimize your output.

Conclusion

A modern freelancer should automate everything they can, in order to commit themselves to their core tasks. These actions cover a wide range of options, from timely invoicing and billing to concise communication and automated money transactions. Also, let’s not forget the organizational potential of proper time tracking. Some of them can be fully automated, while some others will help you come up with your own schedules that will automate some of your work features. We hope these automation services will improve your work organization and lead to a balanced freelance life.

Mark Thomasson
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus - a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else.
Let's be inbox friends!

Let's be inbox friends!

Drop us your email to receive a weekly digest of our latest blog posts right in your inbox.

To confirm your subscription, please check your email.