As a freelance developer, managing time can be very difficult, sometimes this can even become more difficult the longer you have been a freelance developer. As you start to get a few projects under your belt you will also start to acquire a few customers who want continual work on their website, this can cut into development times for other projects.
Don’t panic though, managing your time gets a lot easier when everything is organised in advance. The biggest time saver is preparation.
Get A Good Brief Before Quoting Any Time
When I started out as a freelance developer I would take on projects that seemed very similar to something I had done before, but usually there was something slightly different, even if it was something small like the ability for users to submit testimonials or extra contact forms, it still takes more time.
Getting a good brief before you quote any time is crucial to achieving a great website for the client and having enough time to complete everything you need to. Clients always want the best development they can get even if the price is higher or lower than they expected, so give yourself enough time and know exactly what you need to get the project completed on time.
Having a good brief ahead of time can also help you setup milestones for each part of the project.
Set Project Milestones
Creating and setting project milestones is really important, not just for the client but for yourself. When you have a milestone that you know the client might start chasing for an update, it makes you take action and get stuff done, rather than watching TV.
Project milestones created in advance might have to nudge a little bit, but try and be realistic in the first place so that they should never need to be moved. It is so much easier to say to the client “Milestone A is due in 1 week, do you have those images?” than just out of the blue asking for some images. With good milestones you can also organise other development work around these milestones.
Know When To Turn Down A Project
When I first started as a freelance developer I don’t think I turned down a single project, at the time that was probably exactly what I needed, but I was over worked, stressed and had far to much to manage. Turning down a project feels wrong, but turning down a project does three great things for yourself as a freelancer:
- Turning down a project lets the client know your services are desired by others.
- Turning down a project lets you focus on your current projects and do a great job, increasing your reputation as a great developer.
- Turning down a project stops you from getting burnout and potentially allows you to complete more projects.
Turning down a project does feel wrong, but give it some thought next time you are under pressure and get asked to do some extra development for some one. I’m not saying turn down every project! But I am saying you need to be careful not to overload yourself with too much work.
Set A Live Date
Setting a live date is really important. Unlike print work, the web is continually evolving and people want to get their website updated every so often. The only problem with this is when you are half way through a project and the client wants to change something.
When you set a live date it creates a window of opportunity to complete a project, get paid and start the website on a retainer instead of still part of the original quote.
Get Help If You Need It
Sometimes our ego takes over and we feel like we can do anything and everything, unfortunately that’s just not true. Some days we get loads done and other days we struggle to get through a single page of development. If you ever feel under pressure then consider giving a project to another freelancer or getting help from a freelance project manager to organise your time and acquire assets from clients.
The real true time saver is being organised ahead of time.
I hope this helps and if you have any particular concerns as a freelancer then leave your comments below.