Are you having a hard time on how to keep track of freelance work? Don’t worry, you are not alone. As a freelancer, one of the things that you have to get used to is you don’t have anyone managing you. And of course, this is one of the perks of freelancing. No one will be breathing down your neck, micromanaging you, or checking on your progress.
However, here comes the drawback. Since no one is managing you, you must be your own manager. That’s right, you will be responsible for keeping track of your freelance work. No one else will do it for you. Maybe now you are wondering, why do I even have to learn how to keep track of freelance work? This is actually very important as it can help you grow as a freelancer and improve your business. In fact, it’s a must to keep track of freelance work.
Tips on How to Keep Track of Freelance Work
At first, it may seem overwhelming to manage yourself and your work. But it will only seem that way because you haven’t done it before. Much like everything else, things get easier if you practice or keep repeating something. Think of keeping track of your freelance work as a daily exercise that soon will seem like second nature to you.
1. Make a Habit of Keeping Tabs on Your Work
Every time you have an assignment, a task, a new client, or anything related to your freelancing work, you need to write this down. Do not cherry-pick what you will include on your list of things to do or things to accomplish. No matter how big or small it may be, you need to document these.
This is the very first step on how to keep track of freelance work, start by listing everything down. Once you have mastered documenting everything that goes on in your workday, it’s time to make sense of them and organize these things.
You need to learn how to “file” away these documentations. Make a list of your tasks, things that you have already done, client reports, project accomplishments, etc.
2. Create a System
Everyone has their own way on how to do things effectively. The same goes for keeping track of work. It is up to you how to do this system. For example, if you are assigned a task, do you write this down right away? Or do you find this cutting your workflow? Some people prefer to input their tasks as they go while others prefer a system where they make a to-do list before the workday starts. The system is then followed up with an end-of-day update.
Once you create the right system for you, it will be easier to keep track of your freelancing work. It’s best if you have a regular update, whether it be daily, weekly, or monthly—it’s up to you.
3. Follow a Work Schedule
Having a work schedule can definitely make it easier to keep track of freelance work. You don’t have to do fixed hours but you really should have a time set for when you are in “work” mode. If you need some help with these you can try time or work techniques, such as Pomodoro or time blocking. Again, you need to figure out which work schedule will best suit you. During this work schedule, make sure to include an allotted time for keeping track of your freelance work.
4. Use Freelancing Tools
You don’t have to do everything on your own these days. Freelancers of today are very lucky as there are now tools that are specifically made for freelancing. Make your life easier by utilizing the freelancing software Kosmo. It has excellent tools that can help you streamline your freelancing work:
• Clients and Projects
Never have to worry about juggling multiple clients and projects. Kosmo allows you to list your clients and projects so you can easily keep track of your freelance work. It also has a tool for invoicing wherein the invoice will be sent directly to your client and they will be linked to your payment option.
Use the task list tool where you can input the things you need to do. It has awesome features as the task list can be recurring. For example, if you have a client that requires a blog post from you on a monthly basis you can input on the “add task” an option for recurring assignments. From that list, you can then click the “start” button to start your time tracker.
• Time Tracker
Sometimes, you can list down all of your tasks and do them but fail to “acknowledge” that they are already finished. This is where Kosmo’s Time Tracker comes in handy. You will see a list wherein all of the things you have done for a project are shown along with the time & date of accomplishment.
For even more convenience, the time tracker list shows how much you will earn from the project and if it has already been paid off by the client. You can easily track if you have forgotten to bill your client or if you are still awaiting payment.
Importance of Keeping Track of Freelance Work
Maybe you aren’t set yet on learning how to keep track of freelance work. But you really need to do it, below are 3 of the main reasons why you need to learn and do this:
1. For your business
First of all, being a freelancer is technically running a business. You need to keep track of how much work you are doing and how you are earning to find out if what you are doing is profitable. If you don’t do the math, you might find out too late that you are working and not actually earning anything. Remember that you also have bills to pay, like the coffee you buy to help you work or the electric bills for your laptop.
How to keep track of freelance work will be the way for you to keep your business afloat. It will help you choose your clients wisely and find out which projects are worth it and which are something you need to say no to.
2. For your clients
Just imagine you have a client who keeps asking you about your progress on your projects. Maybe they want to know when you will be able to submit a deliverable or they need an estimate for your deadline if they add another task for you. If you keep track of your freelance work, you will have no trouble answering clients’ questions.
It can be annoying for clients when freelancers answer with vague statements. Just imagine if you ask your client when they can pay you and they answer maybe next week. The same goes if they ask you when can you finish a project and you answer maybe tomorrow. You need to set clear expectations for pricing and due dates, which is easier when you keep track of your freelance schedule.
3. For your progress
How will you ever find out if you are growing? As a freelancer, there really isn’t a corporate ladder to climb. But it is important that you keep growing as a freelancer, so how do you do this? When you keep track of your freelance work, you’ll be able to see how much you have accomplished.
If you find that you are able to work twice as fast, maybe it’s time to get new and extra projects. It can also indicate you have room for another client or you can start charging higher as your skills are improving, too.
Need a Bit of Freelance Work Tracking Help?
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it hard to keep to your freelancing work tracking system. Sometimes, you need a bit of inspiration to help you out—yes! even when it comes to organizing your freelance work.
• Follow Productivity Blogs
Social media is the way to go when you need some inspiration. Yes, there are now productivity blogs that show you how people “arrange” their lives. There are also freelancers who have blogs that show how they keep track of their business. This can be anything from bullet journaling to proper alarms and reminders setting. When you see these productivity blogs, they can help you jumpstart your own productivity.
Get inspired and try out the things on the blogs you view. This is the way to find out what works for you. Trial and error can be taxing but it is also a lot of fun. And nothing feels better than finally finding one that actually works for you to help you keep track of freelance work effectively.
• Ask Fellow Freelancers
If you know other people who are freelancers, ask them what works for them. Sometimes seeing someone be successful allows you to envision yourself doing the same. Have a friend who is a freelancer walk you through their method and you may also figure out that you want to alter things to go smoother.
• Get Help From the Freelancing Community
Maybe you don’t have any friends who are freelancers or you are just new in the game. That’s okay because the freelancing community is big and it’s getting bigger over time. The good thing is the freelancing community is pretty friendly. You’ll be able to find and join Slack communities where they share how to keep track of freelance work and offer advice to help you become successful.
How to keep track of freelance work is a very important thing to learn as a freelancer. It can help you not just survive in this business but actually thrive. Use this tracking to help you improve and grow. At first, keeping track of your work can be daunting if you are not used to it. But if you keep at it, it will become as natural as using a QWERTY keyboard on your phone. And again, don’t forget to utilize software or tools so keeping track of freelance work is easier.
Get Organized & Win More Clients
Kosmo has everything you need to run your freelancing business.