Freelancing work comes and goes, sometimes in waves that are completely unpredictable. You might have just one or two current projects on your plate today, but in a week, you may have scored a few more. So, what’s a freelancer to do when it feels like you have almost too many projects and barely enough time to complete it all? You, my friend, are in “feast mode.” Here’s what you need to remember when it’s feast, not famine, and you have the happy problem of having too much work.
- Don’t complain: Sure, you’re staying up late and running on adrenaline while you complete each assignment. And maybe you’d like to get out of the office and get some sunshine and see your friends. At the very least, you’ll even settle for a shower and a change of clothes. That’s totally understandable. However, you should remember the lean times and keep the complaining to a minimum. If you’ve been freelancing for any length of time, then you’ve probably had some lean times, too. Revel in your success, but remember that it could end soon.
- Keep looking for more work: This point probably sounds counter-intuitive. You already have enough to do, so why would you want to add more work to your schedule? You need to keep looking because a project could come to an end sooner than you expect, or perhaps that next big assignment from your top client will never come to fruition. As a freelancer, you need to look beyond the next few weeks and months and make a plan. While you shouldn’t spend countless hours looking for a new client (you have to keep your existing clients happy, remember?), you should plan to network, pitch, and apply to positions at least a few times per week.
- Update your portfolio: This is another point that may have you scratching your head, because again, you’re already busy with work. Updating your portfolio (both online and on paper) might seem like an inefficient use of your time right now. But going back to the second point, you need to keep looking for work. And having an updated portfolio will help immensely on that end.
- Carve out time for administrative tasks: Those fiddly tasks that you need to do as a freelancer don’t go away just because you’re swamped with work. Taxes need to be paid, office supplies need to be ordered, and renewals for your professional memberships, licenses, and other items need to be maintained. And of course, invoices need to be filed! Make a standing appointment each week to put away the freelancing projects and focus on the administrative side of running your business. Depending on the size and scope of your business, you may need to do this a few times per week.
- Take a break: You’ve grown your business and you’re making some serious cash while completing projects like a boss. Hurray! Now what? If it’s possible, consider taking a break so you can relax and refocus on the work. You might be able to walk away from your desk for just a few hours, but that short time away from your work may be just what you need to give your brain a break. Go for a walk, meet a friend for lunch, or read a book so you can return to your assignments with some new energy. While it may be difficult to pull away from what needs to be completed, doing so can result in better results.
By keeping the bigger picture in mind, you can enjoy your success today while also planning ahead.