Non Project Activities6:30 with Pasan Premaratne
Aside from undertaking client projects, freelancers need to devote time to certain non project activities. These administrative, educational and marketing tasks are equally as important to the long term growth and development of a freelancer’s career. It’s important that you plan for this.
Aside from working on projects, 0:00 you also need to spend a good bit of time on non-project activities. 0:01 These activities can be broken down into three primary groups, administrative, 0:06 educational, and marketing. 0:11 Administrative tasks are as important to the success of your freelance career 0:13 as the work itself. 0:17 You need to set aside time to handle these tasks, 0:19 when considering the management of your time and establishing a workflow. 0:21 These cannot be tasks that you just fit into your downtime. 0:25 Spend time actively working on these tasks and 0:29 you'll get rid of a lot of the negatives that people associate with freelancing. 0:32 Let's start with administrative tasks. 0:36 One of the most important administrative tasks, and 0:39 one that should always be on the top of your mind is scheduling future work. 0:42 Working on projects is fun but the business needs clients to survive. 0:46 So having work coming in through the door should be priority number one. 0:50 Put time aside to make sure that once a project is complete 0:55 you already have new work lined up. 0:58 This requires understanding a few different things. 1:01 First, the time it takes for you to secure new work. 1:04 If you're relatively unknown and 1:07 just starting out, you have to work much harder to get new clients. 1:09 How long does it take you to find a client? 1:13 Then, what does your timeline look like for 1:16 the current project that you're working on? 1:18 And we just took a look at this in a previous video. 1:19 How much money do you need to survive per month? 1:23 This is also something we worked on earlier in this series. 1:25 Now, put all these things together to figure out when you need to line 1:29 up more work. 1:32 Let's look at a simple example. 1:33 Let's say I need $4,000 a month to survive. 1:35 I'm halfway through a project that ends in 30 days but 1:39 I will only be paid $3,000 for it. 1:42 I obviously need more work to make ends meet. 1:45 Now it takes me around two to three weeks to line up a new project. 1:47 So I know that if I want to meet my goals for the month, I need to start looking for 1:51 new work in around a week or so. 1:55 That way if I take a full three weeks to line up a job, I will have more work and 1:57 therefore, some money, in the near future. 2:02 Now this is an oversimplified example, of course, but the underlying principle is 2:05 that you should always be proactive about scheduling work. 2:08 Now, the second admin task you should set time aside for is accounting. 2:11 Accounting is hard and boring, there's no doubt about it, especially for 2:16 creative types but like all our admin tasks, 2:19 getting a grip on this means you can run your business more efficiently. 2:22 For most people running a freelance business, 2:26 accounting is such an unknown skill that we're going to devote a separate video to 2:28 understanding accounting basics for freelancers. 2:32 For now, know that you should be setting time aside to do it but not so 2:35 much time that it detracts from your main work. 2:39 Accounting helps you understand your finances and keep things in order but 2:42 it won't make you money. 2:45 Third, communication. 2:48 Communication is the key to everything. 2:50 Properly communicating your skill set brings in more business. 2:52 Properly communicating your work flow gets the project done faster, and 2:56 properly communicating costs keeps your clients happy. 2:59 Put some time aside for staying on top of communication, and correspondence. 3:03 This means making sure you're going through your inbox and 3:07 answering your client's questions on time. 3:10 Making sure you get back to perspective clients as soon as you can, and making 3:12 sure you're prompt, clear, understanding, and empathic in your communication. 3:16 Proper communication will reflect positively on you and 3:22 help build trust in you. 3:25 There are a few ways you can get better at this. 3:27 When answering emails, 3:30 you will soon notice that you will get a lot of emails with similar questions. 3:31 Rather than spending time crafting polite emails every time, 3:35 create templates with your most common responses. 3:38 Save these as drafts or documents and every time you get a question, 3:41 copy the relevant answer from the template and modify it to save time. 3:45 Form a habit for answering emails. 3:49 Scan your inbox at some point early on in the day. 3:51 Get back to those that require only short answers, and 3:55 leave the longer, more detailed responses for 3:57 later in the day once you've tackled some of your more important tasks. 3:59 Use labels, filters, or 4:03 whatever tools your email client provides you to organize these things. 4:05 When you're done answering emails, 4:09 get your inbox out of the way until the next designated time period. 4:10 Don't keep it open all day, or you'll be answering emails as they come through, 4:14 breaking up your work flow and concentration. 4:18 Finally, be brief. 4:21 You don't need to write up a story every time you respond to an email. 4:23 If you're to the point, you can answer a lot of emails in a short time. 4:26 Finally, to wrap up our admin tasks, we have client relations. 4:30 Take the time to understand your clients better, and 4:34 what you can do to serve them better. 4:36 This overlaps with most of the areas we have already talked about, 4:38 primarily communications. 4:42 If you find yourself constantly butting heads with your client, 4:44 take steps to improve on your end rather than assuming that they're the ones who 4:47 are always wrong. 4:51 Aside from administrative tasks, the other indirect activities we should be concerned 4:52 about are educational and marketing tasks. 4:56 These are two very important tasks. 5:00 To be a successful freelancer, you need to constantly educate yourself. 5:02 You need to be following up with the latest trends and 5:04 developments, understanding new languages and technologies, and 5:09 breaking new ground yourself. 5:12 All this requires time and dedication. 5:15 If you can, set aside a half day, or a complete day for this. 5:17 Staying on top of education also means budgeting time and 5:22 money towards things like conferences, meetups, and local talks. 5:26 This serves the dual purpose of increasing your knowledge, 5:30 as well as achieving our last non-project task and that's marketing. 5:33 I'm using the term marketing in the broad sense. 5:37 It means everything that increases your brand and 5:40 results in a successful business. 5:42 Marketing involved activities like networking at talks, conferences and 5:45 meetups to meet potential clients, industry peers and mentors. 5:49 It also involves things like blogging about what you know, and 5:54 what you're learning. 5:57 This establishes a trust factor and sets you up as a thought leader. 5:58 Finally, it also includes some of the usual stuff like using the web to increase 6:03 your brand awareness, whether it's through things like advertising or social media. 6:06 These educational and 6:11 marketing activities are quite crucial to the success of your business. 6:13 So schedule time for them often. 6:16 Try and attend two to three conferences a year, local meetups, 6:18 at least, once a month, and start educating people and 6:22 talking about your craft wherever possible. 6:25 Soon, business will start to flow. 6:28
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