One of the hardest parts of being an independent contractor as a service-based provider for others is maintaining a realistic schedule for balancing work and personal life.
Most people start their business believing they’ll work at least 40 hours a week. Soon they learn that nothing could be further from the truth. Fear not, you can organize and craft a schedule that allows you to work more efficiently and make the best of your time.
Your ideal client
Like with most things to do with your business, it’s imperative that you know who you want to work with. What types of client will you get along with best and what services can you realistically perform? Start with the client and then solve a problem for them with your services.
Are you an early riser or do you like to stay up late at night? Most of the time people are one or the other. If you are a person who doesn’t like to keep to a particular schedule, you’ll need to develop tasks that are deadline focused instead of time centric. For instance, if you don’t want to have to do a task at 8 a.m. each morning, don’t offer that service.
Considerations When You Have A Family
What kind of schedule does your family have and how much can you rely on other members of the family to take your work seriously? Even if they don’t take your work seriously right now, you can still create a business around your family’s schedule. Communicate in the beginning what’s expectations they have from and what you can expect from them.
Create A Schedule
Take in account, the importance to develop a set schedule of when you will be performing your client’s work. Even if the time you come up with is from midnight to 6 a.m. It’s still possible to have a service-based business as a contractor. Figure out what time(s) works for you.
Create Your Business Schedule for Yourself
Don’t forget that you’ll need to set aside time for working on your own business. You will still have email lists to maintain, content to create, sales pages to craft and so forth for your own business. Not to mention billing, invoicing and bookkeeping.
How Much Time It Takes
As you work on creating the services you’ll offer, keep track of how long each tasks will take and then match them to the other things that you’ve got going on with your family, and the type of schedule you can maintain. Knowing what goes into providing a specific deliverable will go far in ensuring you create a business that works for you. You can use a free app called Toggl to keep track of each tasks.
Schedule Everything in a Calendar
Don’t assume you’ll remember something, much less everything. When you have multiple clients, you need to have a calendar. Not only will you need to calendar the work you are doing for yourself and clients, you also need to include in your calendar anything you really want to make time for – including date night.
Use a Project Management System
Don’t skimp on purchasing and investing in tools and software that will help your business run more smoothly. Tools like Basecamp.com, FreshBooks.com, and Trello as well as others can help you do more in less time.
Maintaining a realistic schedule requires you to be mindful about the time you have available and the type of work you really like to do. It might sound great to be working from 8am to 5pm, but it’s quite different in practice when working from home as a contractor. You really need to be disciplined and prioritize your work load.
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