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Managing multiple clients as a freelancer

When starting out as a freelancer, your ultimate goal is to be working with as many clients possible. However when that dream is achieved, having multiple clients at once can become overwhelming and hard to manage, especially when some clients could become more demanding than you envisioned.

The art of balancing multiple clients can be a challenge, but it is achievable. Here are some tips to help you in your quest for successful freelancing.

Establish with the client your expectations from the beginning

Reassure the client what your expectations are with the work you are carrying out for them. And stick to it! This will help with managing each workload because the client already knows what to expect. Also remember to know your boundaries and only take on the amount of work that you know you’ll effectively be able to maintain, which in turn keeps your working relationship with each client more successful.

Keep organised and have a track of your workload for each client

Have a detailed and organised file system when you work through each element of a project. This helps you to keep a record of all the changes, start dates, deadlines and specific details for each client. There are some good apps to help you with the organisation of each project within the management side. These include Harvest, Asana, Trello and Notion.

Have a detailed schedule that you can always refer back to

Keeping to a schedule during the week to organise each project and task will be helpful when it comes to meeting important deadlines and turnarounds. Vary your schedule each week to help with productivity. Look at designing a schedule that specifically works for you. When you have admin to complete, either keep the admin to one day or distribute a small amount of time to complete your admin everyday each week. When you start working on your tasks for each client, try not to multitask as that will lessen your productivity and attention to detail. Slot the creative tasks in-between the admin and the most difficult tasks so you’re not overwhelmed with all the challenging tasks at once. Always remember to take small breaks in-between and keep time aside for yourself.

The more important tasks should take priority

As you build a higher workload with more clients, look at those deadlines and the tasks surrounding them. Once you have a clear idea of which tasks need completing first, add them to your weekly schedule and keep a note that they are priority tasks. Adding reminders can also be useful. Entrepreneur discusses an effective business analysis tool called the ‘prioritisation matrix’ – “a tool that allows you to compare choices and ultimately decide which projects are more urgent, which ones bring in more value, and which ones have the best chances of success.”

Communication is key

Having good communication skills with each of your clients can really help when it comes to collaborating, which in turn creates a good client working relationship. Look at scheduling particular times to catch up with clients, so you can set those boundaries and not have to be on your phone 24/7. If you need to move around deadlines, or rearrange tasks and change timings on specific work, communicate that effectively. Be open – they’ll be more understanding.

Once you have mastered your dream schedule, also remember that it’s important to take a break and work on things that you enjoy also. Even taking a short break away from the office, desk or house can be an effective tool to manage your stress and workload.

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