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    8 Replies Latest reply on Mar 20, 2010 10:07 PM by Uncle Leon

    Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.

    lisuccess Newbie

      I need advice badly. I've been a freelancer for the past 3 years and only recently I have been earning a steady income. At one time, I would have to work extremely hard with marketing just to get a customer or two. Now I have 5 steady clients, finally. However, I need some advice on how to correct the following flaws:

      • 1. I'm fast with some clients when it comes to completing projects. Other clients I'm slow with turning in projects. This has caused me to miss out on $1000 worth of freelance work in September.
      • 2. I'm unorganized. Every time I try to get organized with my daily work schedule, something comes up and hinders me from doing it.
      • 3. I need advice on how to schedule "me time". I never have time for myself and my other endeavors.

      Advice is Welcome!
        • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.



          I break people down freelancers into two personality categories - structured and fluid. The structured freelancer typically works best when they break their day into defined time frames of specific functions while the fluid freelancer often feels stifled by a structured day.


          For the structured freelancer, I recommend that they set a daily schedule of tasks and time buckets. For example, a structured freelancer may have a schedule where each day from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM they read and answer their emails; then from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM they write a blog post, and so on.


          However, using the same example, but inserting a fluid freelancer into the equation, I recommend that they create a requirement whereby they will spend one hour each day for emails, one hour each day creating content, and so on, but they can complete these time requirements whenever they want throughout the day - as long as they complete all tasks daily.


          To help the fluid freelancer keep to their time commitments, I highly, highly, highly recommend time management software. The software doesn't need to be fancy or expensive. I was able to download a free basic program from the Internet.


          With this program, I enter in project names or task-specific time buckets as categories (and you can include your me-time, too, if you want). The software acts as a stopwatch and keeps record of the total time spent by category until I erase the data. I review the total times for each category at the end of the day and at the end of the week.


          It is amazing how easy it can be to lose sense of the actual amount of time spent on each project. Having time management software that keeps a record of total time is a great way to alter your schedule accordingly.


          For home office freelancers, I recommend that they make a firm, formal agreement with their family. It can include appropriate emergency interruptions and scheduled breaks during the day when they will be available - otherwise they must be left alone.


          They need to remind their family that if they had to go to work for someone else, they wouldn't have the luxury of allowing the family to stop by or call whenever they want. Working at home is no different. If they want to keep their home based business, they need to create a firm agreement and resist from enabling interruptions; lock the door, put an "at work" sign on the door, don't answer questions yelled through the door unless it is an emergency.


          If you are still finding that you have too many distractions at home, look for shared offices or business incubator centers where you can rent a private space to focus on your business.


          I hope this helps.


          Doug Dolan


          The Freelancer's Guide


          • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.
            DomainDiva Ranger
            I feel your pain. I am doing three things as we speak.

            I make a list and clear up the small items first. Then on to the big stuff.

            There must be a reason you have some clients you are slow with. Try to identify the why of that.
            • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.
              LUCKIEST Guide
              Unorganized Entrepreneur, I can help you.

              Who are you?? Go to Members page and share some info. Thanks
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              • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.
                morepro Newbie
                It sounds like you could possibly improve in a few areas...
                • Scheduling free-time. If you don't plan for it, you'll end up taking it from something else (more important). Rigid schedules don't always provide the best return - allow for flexibility.
                • Prioritize your schedule based on the length of time you've had a particular client, estimated income they might provide over the year and/or any other significant factors. While new clients require more time to work w/ up front, you can ill afford to upset an existing client and lose their business.
                • Write down short task lists & stick to them... Don't over do it (start small).
                Hope these help. Consider getting an assistant or a small business consultant to help you, or even attend some project planning seminars to learn more.
                • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.
                  ICSuniversal Newbie
                  My tips of the day:

                  First of all I live the motto "Be Here and Now" meaning that I focus on one thing at a time. I give my attention to that one item and complete it with my full focus. In this manner I only have to touch the item once.

                  I keep an agenda of items which need to be done and no I do not finish them all as I focus on completing the Task which will be the most effective. In other words, the one task which will give me the most in return for completing the project. In return once I complete these projects it allows me some space or peace of mind. I usually try and enjoy that feeling by enriching my quality of life with family and social events.

                  Technology is another big piece which provides me the tools to work in many areas at my given time. I am proud to say I have a small home based business ICS (Internet Communication Systems) I love what I do and it is empowering to be able to help others. Good luck ... :)

                  Finally, I make time for the important items such as myself. I live in Pacific Standard time and today I woke at 3am completed a 30 min. work out, jumped on the internet (while having my breakfast) and came to the Small Business Community to get engaged with these Forums. I hope to be around more often and provide my suggestions.
                  • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.
                    AndrewRSA Wayfarer
                    One of the first things I work on with all my new clients is a project schedule; it identifies the milestones to be reached and the steps for getting there. And, of course, we lay out the timing. I'd suggest you do the same for all your projects. Also, don't underestimate the power of subcontracting certain work out. I see one of the other replies suggests hiring a small business consultant. Not to plug myself, but I think that's a great idea! If you'd like to chat, let me know. The fact that you have all this work is a very good thing. I suspect you just need some basic organizational help to make sure your quality doesn't suffer from overload.

                    Andrew Levinson
                    Managing Director
                    Riverside Strategic Advisors LLC
                    • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.
                      Meg2010 Newbie
                      Think about this....maybe your interest is more on the marketing/strategic side as opposed to doing the work yourself. If what is more interesting is the marketing aspect, think about hiring employees to do the technical work (or anything you don't want to do). This will free up your time and allow you to be guilt free. Just a thought!
                      • Re: Unorganized Entrepreneur Needs Help Badly.
                        Uncle Leon Tracker
                        Although this is a very old post (original question), it has had recent replies, so I will post for the sake of others who might benefit.

                        First "Me Time". - Schedule it. Just like any other assignment, put it on your schedule calander. If someone requests your services for that day and time, you're booked. - That's it.

                        Second - organization.

                        I agree with the previous recommendation about making a "List", but disagree about doing the easy or quick stuff first.

                        I suggest categorizing your list into three groups:
                        The "A" group: - Important and urgent. List the items in order of importance and urgency. I suggest you make this list on the
                        computer so you can rearrange them as the situations change.
                        The "B" Group: - Significant to important, but not as much so as the "A" group.
                        The "C" group: These are things that should be done, but are not important.

                        As you "work" these items, their importance may change to more or less urgent (normally more). For example: If something that was not urgent on Monday doesn't make sufficient progress, it may become more urgent as the week develops.

                        After you have the list made, review and anallyze to determine (First) if you can eliminate any items totally; (second) whether you can delegate any items.

                        Begin working on the items on the list each morning, clearing the items in "A" before proceeding to the "B" list.
                        At the end of each day, review the list and make any adjustments appropriate to the list for the following day.
                        The next day, begin again.

                        There may be items on the "C" list that you never get to. - So what? Since you may not be able to do everything, at least you are doing what is important to your business.