Success doesn’t happen by chance. It requires strict planning and relentless self-motivation to reach your goals, especially when you’re self-employed.
I was caught off guard a few weeks ago when a girlfriend of several years told me she thought freelance meant “working whenever”. She had no idea how many hours I’ve invested in my writing business over the past seven and a half years.
For some, ‘freelance’ does mean working a few hours each week on a part-time venture, but for me, it simply means self-employed.
Some weeks I work 30 hours, others clock in around 60 or 70. I’m not just a freelance writer. I’m a business woman growing a start-up with annual financial growth of 10-15 percent each year. One year topped out at 30 percent, and 2017 might rival that — easily.
I’m diligently adding new clients to my roster and tucking away ideas and strategies every single day.
My business is anything but a ‘casual’ endeavor.
As a business of one, this hasn’t been an easy task. I’ve faced every distraction can you imagine when you have a home office. Unannounced visitors, personal phone calls followed by upset messages because I didn’t answer and the expectation that I can drop everything and be available for others at any time, despite my work-related projects and meetings.
At the start, I wasn’t as diligent, and I let these distractions interfere with my productivity. When you aren’t paid by the hour, but rather the project, time is money. Low productivity translates into a paltry paycheck.
Now, I’m the toughest boss ever. Work time is for work, period.
To keep my business running smoothly, I’ve adopted a strict scheduling method.
Every single work task is assigned a time slot and day to be completed. Each day I juggle the tasks on my online calendar to make sure every meeting is attended and deadline is met. (For those who are curious, I use Google Calendar. It’s free and available on desktop and mobile.)
Here’s what goes on my schedule:
- Pitch new and current clients story ideas
- Conduct research for client articles
- Create rough drafts of writing assignments
- Brainstorm topics to write about
- Polish, edit and submit copy
- Schedule writing assignments on my calendar
- Invoice clients and follow-up on late payments
- Complete edits and rewrites from clients
- Process monthly and annual accounting reports
- Pay self-employment taxes quarterly
- Answer work emails and messages
- Update my business website
- Analyze current processes and make improvements
- Set and evaluate business goals
- Market my business with social media
- Write blog posts for my business website
- Exercise to keep my business-of-one healthy
- Take lunch breaks and rest periods to replenish my energy
Productivity doesn’t have to be wished for. You make it happen.
Assigning each task a time slot — and sticking to the schedule — ensures each task will get completed and move you closer to reaching your goals.
Do you maintain a strict, tangible schedule to get your work done? Why or why not? I can’t imagine going back to basic to-do lists and hoping to get everything done in a day.
Do you need a reliable writer on your team? I collaborate with marketing and advertising agencies to create content for blog posts, web pages, social media and newsletters. Learn how I can help your clients HERE.