Mélanie Larouche | Journalist
Being your own boss affords you some freedom, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here are 5 ways to make sure you can get everything done, even though a day is only 24 hours.
1. Keep a strict agenda
Every self-employed worker should have a daily agenda that they record every meeting and task in. Each job or project should be broken down into steps over the deadline set by the client. The schedule should include, at the least, a one- or a two-day margin of error for schedule overruns. That way, something unexpected or a late delivery from a colleague isn't a disaster. By the end of each day you should have checked off all the tasks you were supposed to complete.
2. Respect time limits
Most projects or jobs are part of a service offer and they've been given an estimate for the time it will take to complete them. You need to respect that time limit to ensure your part in the service offer is profitable. You might have frequent schedule overruns, but you need to stop the bleeding before the project ends up costing you more than its worth. Effective time management means you need to pay constant attention; stay focused . . . and keep an eye on the clock! If you know that one of your clients likes to talk or keep coming back to you about the smallest details, make sure you account for it in your quote. "Time is money!"
3. Schedule some leeway every week
Ideally, you should leave half a day empty in your agenda every week. It will give you the leeway you'll need to handle anything unexpected on the fly or to deal with that last-minute rush that always seems to come up. The half day gives you the time you need to move some things around and reschedule.
4. Effective colleagues
Surround yourself with valuable, reliable and efficient colleagues who can help you complete different project elements. Strong contributors can be a huge help when you want to complement your own service offer and deliver a turnkey solution, or when you're swamped and you need a hand.
5. Email instead of calling
Following up properly and professionally is an essential part of developing good client relationships. And it's not considered unprofessional to opt for an email over a phone call that can eat up too much time. The phone call includes some chit-chat, a joke, the weather, what's new, etc. But an email is quick, efficient and can get right to the point without too much extra in there. Plus, smartphones make just about anyone accessible at any time.