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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Not Becoming a Starving Freelancer - Time Management Helps

What makes you money in your job, doesn't necessarily make you money, when freelancing. Many freelancers have to learn that the hard way.

* Are you exceptionally good in your job?
* Do you believe that your boss is not paying you enough?
* Are you tired of working for someone else?

Then you are probably thinking about working as freelancer. Beware that almost everything will change once you have "fired your boss".

* Who will give you the paycheck?
* Who will tell you what to do?
* Who will make you to work harder?
* etc.

Knowing the correct answer to those questions is one key ingredient to your success as freelancer. The freedom, which comes from having no boss, is dangerous to those with no plan and little or no discipline.

Becoming a successful freelancer is not about doing what you have been used doing eight (8) hours a day while you had your job. You need to develop new skills in many areas and deal with all of the business stuff yourself. Most importantly you need to get clients of your own and keep them.

All of a sudden you see yourself having to do "marketing for yourself", which turns out to be more difficult for many new freelancers or business owners as they originally have thought it will be. Yes, it is more involved than just running a couple of small ads, and calling some business contacts that you might already have.

It is tough

Your first "friend" should be good time management. That will help you to feel stronger. It kind of lets you lay out a road that you simply have to follow. This post does not focus on time management, but I give a a few hints anyway.

Time Management in its shortest possible form

* Most important tasks in the morning.

* No more than 6 tasks a day. You should be able to complete those in 6 or 6 1/2 hours. Work from your daily list and you actually feel that you have something accomplished, when you check off the last task for the day. No more endless lists.

* When planning your day, make a real schedule, but allow one or two times, when you want to deal with the daily interruptions.

* Master your phone, mobile, email! You decide, when you pick up the phone or deal with email. There is absolutely no need to be available on demand all day long. If so, then there is something substantially wrong with your setup.

Especially, when you start a new business, it is essential that you spend a dedicated amount of time each day for prospecting new clients or driving more and better qualified prospects to your Web site. The absolute minimum should be 2.5 hours a day. Make it 4 hours in the beginning and you will benefit much from it later.

How to attract potential clients? That depends heavily on the market, the industry you are in. You could buy advertising, write articles, do SEO on your Web site, improve the conversion ratio, partner up with professional or social networks, do cold calling,...

I have learned a lot about effective time management from other entrepreneurs, who faced the same problem after quitting their day job. How can I guarantee a steady and growing stream of revenue?

Should being a freelancer be your final goal?

I say, "Most likely not." Unless you want to share the destiny of more than 80% of small business owners and become a prisoner of your own business. Actually you do not even have a business as long as it depends on your personal skills. Your goal should be to build a business that allows you to enjoy the fruits of it and live your life to the fullest extent.

That means you are working on growing your business and you pay someone else -- freelancers or employees -- to do the day to day -- the busy -- work.

Many entrepreneurs shared with me the insight that your first hire is the most important one. I will explain the details and the reasoning in another article, but for now I just want to say, "Your first hire should be a generalist, who can assist you with every task at hand. The more you advance and grow the more specialists you will employ in the future. But don't forget generalists first and always keep track of your time and use it in a most productive way.

The author John W. Furst provides first class articles and information about every aspect of Internet business and personal development on his Blog. His writings are the essence of 15+ years of experience with business in general and Internet in particular. Recently Mr. Furst shifted his focus towards Email Marketing. Read more at his E-Biz Booster Blog at and check out the Email Marketing Tips Blog Carnival.