This week marks 3 years of Rachel Maree: Write Freelancer For You. 3 whole years! It is so crazy to look at where I was 3 years ago, to where I am now. It has been a huge learning curve and a massive adventure. There has been mistakes and triumphs, tears and smiles, and I would not change a thing.
This journey has given me confidence and skills in freelance writing and running my own business. It has made me step outside of my comfort zone and achieve things I never thought I would.
Here are four of the biggest lessons I have learnt over the last few years. I hope they help you on your journey too!
How to be your own boss.
Running a freelance writing business is so much more then simply stringing a coherent sentence together. YOU are the BOSS. You must treat your freelance writing as a business. This means planning, organisation, marketing, delegating, prioritizing, and bookkeeping. Did I leave anything out?
Starting and running my own freelance writing business has been a steep learning curve. As hard as it has been, it has helped me gain confidence and skill in being a boss. Even if I am a one-woman show.
What do I do in my business, as the boss?
I am embarrassed to admit that when I first started out I didn’t set any plans or goals out. I just grabbed my computer, signed up to a content mill, and thought I would make good money and be successful. Don’t do that. Take the time to set out HOW your business will be run, what you want to achieve, and how you will achieve that.
This is how I run my business now:
- Business planning – setting out goals and the direction I want my freelance business to go in. I reevaluate these plans on a yearly basis now.
- Financial planning – set a goal of how much I want to earn per month and what I will do to achieve this. These goals I reevaluate on a quarterly basis, or more often, depending on what goals I have set.
- Schedule – Every Sunday evening I sit down to plan out the week ahead, and then STICK TO IT! Having a plan and following through is the best way to ensure you get the most from your time, especially as a busy WAHM.
- Make time for the “boring” administration tasks – I try block out an hour or so each week to catch up on administrative tasks such as invoices, balancing accounts, paying any bills etcetera.
- Market, market, market! Even though I have clients on retainer I never stop marketing and promoting my business. Why? Because I don’t want to be scrambling if one of those clients no longer needs freelance writing.
How to manage your business finances.
Another valuable lesson that I have picked up over the last 3 years of managing my business is all about business finances.
First and foremost, GET A SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNT. Yep, that is in all shouty capital letters. I need to drive this point home. Open a separate bank account for your business finances. It doesn’t have to be some fancy business account; it can be another personal one. But it must be ONLY for your business. It makes tracking income and expenses so much easier.
The other tasks you need to do in order to manage your business finances:
- Invest in accounting software. I use Rounded and would be completely lost without it. I can track invoicing, expenses, income and it even gives me an estimate of my tax bill!
- Make getting paid easy! Use invoicing software (like Rounded) and give your clients options. I use PayPal, Stripe and EFT.
- Set your financial goals and the tasks you need to complete to achieve this.
- KNOW YOUR WORTH and do not accept anything less. Your time and effort is valuable, make sure you charge accordingly.
Batching for time management is the BEST organizational tool I have ever come across.
Batching for time management has boosted my productivity and streamlined my time. I feel more organized, less overwhelmed and work faster.
So what is batching? Batching is where you simply group similar tasks together to be completed in a set time block.
Let us take a day that my children are home for an example. I cannot work the whole day, instead I know that I have two task windows. One is when my daughter is napping during the day, and the second is when both children are asleep for the night. The first task window is usually about 1.5 hours, and the second can be about 2 hours.
Task Window #1: outline and research June blog posts (this is 4 blog posts all up for my website).
Task Window #2: write June blog posts. I can usually hash out between 2 and 3 blog posts in a 2-hour window, as long as I have the outline and research done.
Batching allows you to stay focused on those similar tasks without jumping between different tasks. It also allows you to take bigger projects and break it down into smaller, less intimidating chunks.
Batching for time management has decreased my stress levels, boosted my productivity and given me a valuable tool to manage my days as a WAHM. I even use it for the house cleaning, errands and never ending chores.
Don’t bite off more then I can chew.
There is never enough time in the day. Maybe before kids I could have taken on that large eBook project, or 3 more monthly clients. But now, my time is limited and so much more valuable. So, I have learnt to pick and choose whom I work with, what projects I take on and how much I work.
I am very careful about over extending myself. In the next few years this will change as our family circumstances change. Such as my eldest starting 4 year old kinder next year. What will I do with all that extra time?!