5 problems freelancers face while working with multiple clients (and how to overcome them)
Freelancers working with multiple clients reap great many benefits – continuous work, a better portfolio, a stronger network, and so on. However, beneath this bright and sunny picture lie many challenges that freelancers have to deal with when working with multiple clients. Here are the five most common ones and tips to overcome them.
Following-up on payments
The freelancing world is a volatile world. Lost bills, delayed payments, unpaid jobs, the list only gets longer. The number one challenge freelancers have to deal with is keeping track of payments from their many clients. The only way to get over this hitch is the good old way of making notes on jobs done and pending payments. It's also a good idea to dedicate a couple of hours a week only for payment follow-ups.
Prioritising projects (a.k.a planning)
We plan to fail when we fail to plan. The saying's not new. However, planning still is a tough discipline to follow and seldom practised. Planning calls for an organised mind, and an organised mind is tough to achieve when dealing with multiple clients. No freelancer can be in absolute control over their work hours without prioritising their jobs on a daily basis. All commitments and agreements over payments and deadlines need to be devoid of all ambiguity. All things need to be put down on paper. Starting the day planning for the day will help in bringing down unwanted stress.
Freelancers unfortunately have to get their hands dirty with mundane paperwork like raising estimates or bills or figuring out tax deductions. The more the clients, the more the stress of paperwork. If the load gets unmanageable, hiring an accountant wouldn't hurt.
Deadlines are unpleasant little things. They catch up quicker than they should. Working with multiple clients puts freelancers at the risk of having to deal with multiple deadlines. An unforeseen request to speed up work from one client can disrupt set schedules and threaten your reputation with the other clients. At such times, honesty is the best policy. Also, it would help to build a network with fellow freelancers. This will help share the load during times of work overload.
Lack of sleep and personal time
The day unfortunately has only twenty-four hours, and handling multiple clients would demand all or most of it for work and meetings and deadlines. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (pun intended). Committing to realistic timelines by factoring in personal time is one way to balance out work and leisure.