Shockingly, a recent report has found that business admin is causing a drain on freelancers’ time, with them spending more than 22% of their time on admin. That’s weeks worth of time that freelancers could spend delivering a client’s project, finding new work or simply taking some much-needed relaxation time for themselves.
On average a freelancer puts in 36 hard working hours a week and it is unthinkable that any significant amount of this should be spent on unbillable work. With administrative tasks like banking and accounting stacking up, it becomes easy to see how a freelancer could become unproductive.
The question is, how can you reorganise your schedule, decrease the time spent on admin tasks and get your freelance business back on track?
1. Get business admin help from only one provider
In any business, the easiest and most efficient way to get something done is to outsource it – that is how the freelance world started after all! Well now it is time for freelancers to take advantage of this and find a way of offloading their business admin tasks to others in order to find more billable hours in their day.
Although a freelancer’s business admin might be time-consuming and boring, inconsequential it is not. Issuing invoices and staying on top of accounting are tasks that have to be done right for the overall good health of your freelance business. For jobs like this, it is often best to call in the experts.
Xolo is just this kind of expert. You can outsource your business setup to them, hand over your banking and accounting woes and get everything from one service provider instead of having to manage several different ones. With Xolo by your side, you’ll have a cost-effective and convenient business, with all the documentation being fully digitalised and remotely accessible.
One of Xolo’s customers, Walter L Kuehnlein from Germany says that using Xolo means that his business admin has “become a breeze” and means that he can “concentrate on the ‘real’ work”.
Outsourcing these tedious yet essential tasks will mean you can focus your time on more engaging and revenue-creating jobs instead and means that you don’t have to become an expert accountant overnight as well!
2. Get productive
By their very nature, freelancers have to be productive – every minute of their time needs to be accounted for so that they can watch the billable hours stack up. Unsurprisingly, a study from FlexJobs reported that 34% of the respondents said one of the benefits of freelancing was being more productive.
However, one of the biggest productivity killers is the pile of tedious tasks that builds up due to procrastination over seemingly hard or boring jobs – things like business admin. As freelancers are paid based on tangible outputs, they have to maximise their productivity and not get bogged down.
If you are a freelancer and you open your email inbox several times a day, constantly switch between your accounting apps and project management tools, respond to client queries as they come in, then how much solid and focused ‘concentration’ time are you really getting? By flitting between different tasks, you are letting your business admin kill your productivity.
According to research from Setapp, the leading platform for Mac app subscription services, half of the freelancers they surveyed said that having to undertake time-consuming admin tasks held back their productivity.
To increase your productivity, try creating some new time-saving templates for email responses to clients, dedicate a set period of each week to focus on admin tasks or find a way to automate some of your everyday actions.
3. Get organised
Freelancing means that you are effectively an expert juggler as well. You know how to juggle client expectations, project deadlines, new business generation and, hopefully, business admin.
There are some great online tools available that can help you manage and remember things. Something like Evernote is handy because it is basically a digital notepad that you can carry around in your pocket allowing you to keep track of every brainwave, meeting note, web copy and to-do list.
Asana is another handy organisation tool that allows you to create a project, break it down into sub-tasks and easily monitor what you’ve done and what still needs to be done. Popping your monthly business admin in there alongside your projects will help you get an organised view of all of it.
4. Track your time
Daily life is full of distractions and interruptions, which means that it is very easy to find yourself being pulled off-task. Time lost in a freelance world is certainly money lost and billable hours are something that you don’t want to misplace.
Get time back by investing in an app like RescueTime or Toggl.
RescueTime runs securely in the background of your digital devices and tracks the amount of time spent on different application and websites.
Toggl is a similar platform and works as a digital tracker. Whenever you start work on a particular project, you press ‘play’ and then you can calculate exactly how much time something has taken you.
By tracking your movements, you can become more focused and better understand your daily habits (both good and bad) in terms of time management. This means that you can create a more productive freelance business and waste less time on the burdens of business admin.
5. Get your priorities straight
Finally – and possibly the most important thing when it comes to beating business admin – get your priorities straight.
Although cumbersome, many business admin burdens are essential for the health of a good freelance business so they cannot be ignored. Chasing sales, sending proposals, issuing invoices and managing expenses may not be billable but they are vital if you are to build a fantastic freelance business.
The key to successful prioritisation is being able to distinguish between tasks that are important and unimportant as well as urgent and non-urgent tasks. Important tasks will have a tangible impact on your business, while urgent ones have a deadline and consequences if that deadline is missed. Obviously finishing off client projects so you meet deadlines is important, but so is filing your business accounts.
The key is to plan far enough in advance, so your important tasks never become truly urgent. So, get planning and make sure you get focused on those vital tasks first.
Finding ways of prioritising billable hours while simultaneously dealing with your freelance business’ admin tasks can be tricky. However, it is not an impossible challenge. Follow our advice above, outsource the admin that is particularly worrisome, and you’ll find yourself with a productive and thriving freelance business in no time.