As a freelancer, you should always try to have a set schedule of hours for working on your business. This will keep you from burn-out and the feeling of always being in “work mode.” It also gives you the ability to separate personal from professional. Your family will come to understand that a certain time of the day you are not to be interrupted.
When it comes to new clients and phone calls, there are a few ways to handle calls.
First, keep a separate phone line and email for business. The reason this is good is because you can turn the phone off and not log into the email. This gives the best ability to keep strict office hours and not on that time. Voicemail will be there upon your return at your next scheduled work day. You will also need to keep the “itch” at bay to check messages and respond to emails outside of those hours. Touching base with customers will alert them that you are available at any given time.
Second, be available every second of every day. Okay so not exactly but it feels like it. Answer every phone call and always keep your calendar and a notebook nearby to write down any notes about the potential customer. The benefit for this method is your customer knows you are reachable to answer any questions they may have. The downside is if you are not prepared, you can sound like you are caught off guard. I have found most are understandable if you tell the client you are outside your office hours or between appointments right now. I keep a working notebook for just such an occasion for client notes and deadline information. Office hours are great when times are busy and you have the work, but when work is slow and the office may not always be open, it’s good to appear busy and reachable – without looking desperate.
Third, a combination of both options. It’s good to hold regular business hours and portray the image of a busy freelancing professional. However, it is okay to show you are available for new clients instead of appearing so busy you do not have time. the client wants to believe you take time out of your busy day to cater to their needs but also not so much that you are waiting by email and phone itching for them to give you a project. Appearing “on the go” but available for a few moments to chat helps portray that image. Let them know you have taken notes and will get back to them as soon as you get back to the office.
ARTICLE ORIGINALLY POSTED JULY 26, 2011
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When you are sick, the only thing you want to do is lay in bed and sleep off the illness. It is easy to call the full time boss and tell them you are not able to come in because you are sick. However, few contract clients care if you are sick when there is a deadline nearby.
As is my case today. Not only am I in my first trimester of pregnancy with all those lovely symptoms, I also have a head cold turning into a sinus infection. My head feels too heavy for my body. I have a major deadline this week and if this deadline got pushed back, it would interfere with other deadlines over the next couple months.
The best way to meet a deadline while sick is to first make a list of what must be done and leave off anything that can be left for another day. Then, make sure you are loaded up on necessary medications and eat small meals to keep up your energy. Work in small spurts and be sure to include naps throughout the day.
Once you have hit your deadline, celebrate with a long nap or early bedtime. How do you cope with working while sick?
At the end of the day, I like to feel accomplished. That could mean as a wife, a mom, a freelancer, or anything. Just as long as I feel there was something I could cross off either my own to do list or that of someone else.
Either I have the skills or I find them. Working as a small business or for a small business has shown me that your role might be defined, but that does not mean you don’t wear other “hats” when needed. I am the worker type. Give me a task and I will find a way to make it happen.
The “worker bee” mentality comes in handy when looking for work. I do not feel any task is beneath me and I am more than willing to help out where needed. It helps me discover talents and I can cross off something from a to do list. Sometimes it shows me what tasks I do not like. Such as painting a house. Not into it, not really fun, but happy to help when I was needed. More than happy when the project gets finished.
I started my Thirty One Gifts business as a way to obtain free and discounted products solely because I enjoy the product and appreciate the company’s foundational principals. What I never realized is how much this passion could turn into an “odd job” and then into a “fun job”. The more I put into it, the more I receive from it. It has also allowed me to supplement my income at a time where it is more needed. I also find it enjoyable and look forward to not only parties with my hostesses, but also the optional meetings. The encouragement has kept me going.
Have you had an experience where you took on a job or project to help out someone that turned into something more valuable and fun for you? Let’s here about it in the comments.