How to Juggle Multiple Freelance Writing Clients at Once
Let’s face it—there are few lines of work out there that don’t require a bit of multitasking. Even the traditional 9-5 office worker will have days where they’re required to handle various tasks simultaneously. But when you’re a freelance writer, things can get a bit more complicated.
For busy freelancers earning a steady income, multitasking isn’t limited to handling various projects simultaneously—it often involves juggling multiple freelance writing clients at once.
Working with multiple clients has plenty of benefits. It helps you avoid tedium in your professional life and it allows you to enjoy multiple sources of income. Splitting your attention between various clients can be tough, though. It means keeping your projects organized, prioritizing importance, and operating on a fairly strict schedule to meet your deadlines. Luckily there are a few things you can do to make this balancing act a little easier.
Get to Know the Freelance Writing Clients You Work With
If you’ve agreed to work with a client, chances are they’ve already given you a good amount of information about what they’re looking for. But freelance writers who are juggling multiple clients need to know exactly what each one wants down to the smallest detail. This can help save you time while also ensuring the quality of your work doesn’t start slipping.
When you get held up on a project with one client, it can cut into the time you have to complete work for the others. Even if you’ve got the green light to be creative, ask questions before you start so you know precisely what your client expects.
What Questions Should You Ask Your Freelance Writing Clients?
Well, that all depends on the project. But a few things you should be absolutely certain of:
- Who is the audience?
- What tone of voice does your client prefer?
- What are the minimum and maximum word counts?
- Does your client require meta information, social media copy, or graphics to accompany your work?
- When is the deadline?
Get a firm understanding of your project and make notes on it. Freshbooks has great tools for keeping and recording notes on different projects and different clients (as well as time tracking, invoicing and overall project management). Whether you use software like Freshbooks, or keep notes yourself, having the information stored somewhere will create a handy reference point you can use later to make sure you aren’t scrambling to find out what needs to be done. When time is a factor, you’ll be glad you got the details lined out beforehand.
Get Organized and Create a Schedule
It can be easy for a freelancer to become disorganized, especially when it comes to working with multiple writing clients at once. But freelancers have more freedom in how and when they work—and using this to your advantage is vital to success. You can create documents or folders, or again use a software such as Freshbooks to detail the specifics of each client including:
- Login information for hubs, WordPress, etc.
- Formats, guidelines, and templates
- Project notes and requirements
- Important email addresses and other contact information
Document this information for each client you work with and update it as necessary. You may also find that using planning tools as simple as the calendar on your iPhone, or as strategic as Timely can help ensure you’re never caught off-guard by a deadline.
Plan Ahead and Give Yourself Extra Time
Those who have never tried their hand at the freelance lifestyle may think it simply involves doing whatever you want whenever you want. While freelance writers do enjoy a greater amount of freedom in terms of their work schedule, having a schedule is still very important.
If you’ve got multiple clients depending on you, it is imperative that you give ample time to each one. Setting up a schedule can be the best way to ensure that nothing slips past you and that every project gets the focused attention it needs.
The Value of Giving Yourself Extra Time
Even if your schedule is packed full, you should always allow yourself a bit of extra time when it comes to your work. Freelancers often find themselves tasked with meeting tight deadlines, but sometimes an unexpected delay can throw everything off. Giving yourself a little extra time can ensure you don’t find yourself racing against the clock in a losing battle.
Always Account for Potential Revisions
One of the rookie mistakes I made shortly after becoming a freelance writer was failing to account for the possibility of revisions. What happens when you’ve already got your plate full with current projects, and something you submitted a few days ago comes back for revision? The key is to make sure you don’t get overloaded in the first place.
Plan time in your schedule every week for possible revisions. If you never have to use it, great! You’ve got some bonus hours to do with as you please. However, on the off-chance you do need to make revisions, you’ll be grateful for the space in your schedule.
Know Your Limits as a Writer
For freelancers, taking on extra work means extra money. This can make it tempting to accept as many projects as your clients are willing to offer. When you’re working with a single client, you’ll usually have plenty of time to get everything done. But as more clients enter the picture, it becomes easier to get overwhelmed by the workload.
No matter how good your writing is, you can’t sign up for more work than your schedule will allow. Working with too many clients and taking on too many projects can cause the quality of your work to slip and also cause you unnecessary stress.
Don’t Feel Pressured to Take on Too Much
What if you don’t feel comfortable taking on any additional work? Remember, it’s okay. As a freelance writer, you have the freedom to turn down work (or at the very least ask for an extension) when you don’t think you can fit it in. This is one of the major perks of being your own boss. You never want to sign off on a task and then fail to deliver. So if you think you’re being stretched too thin, the best thing to do is make it known before it becomes an issue.