You’ll find yourself juggling several tasks as your freelance career progresses. Yes, you’ll earn more if you work more. And although it would feel great to meet your income targets, taking on too many responsibilities will yield negligible results. You’ll only end up exhausted.
To free up your busy schedule, let’s explore which tasks you can offload to automation tools. That way, you’ll have more time and energy to concentrate on the critical areas of your freelance business.
1. Email Management
Like most working adults, you probably receive hundreds of emails regularly. Reading and answering messages doesn’t require intense focus, but they take up a chunk of your workday. An Adobe report even states that people spend over five hours daily checking emails.
Moreover, you can’t just stop responding to emails altogether. Various parties, from international freelance clients to federal agencies, will reach out to you via email. In some cases, you might even have to respond quickly.
Instead of indiscriminately ignoring your emails, consider investing in robust email management tools. Find a platform that suits your needs. They’ll either specialize in organizing your inbox or streamlining bulk email delivery. For instance, Help Scout does a great job at sending company-wide announcements, while SaneBox accurately sorts incoming messages.
2. Social Media Post Scheduling
Social media posting is paramount to digital marketing success. Regularly engaging with clients and fellow remote workers will help you build a solid online presence as a freelancer.
Like email management, social media posting isn’t cognitively demanding. You can upload scheduled content, respond to comments, and read direct messages without exerting too much effort.
Most people classify social media posting as shallow work. However, it still takes a lot of time, especially as your following grows. You’ll find yourself spending hours just checking your inbox.
If you want to cut the time you spend managing your social media accounts, consider automating various functions. Try different tools that might meet your needs. For example, content calendar apps let you schedule posts ahead of time, while analytics tools quantify your overall performance on social media.
3. Client Onboarding
Client onboarding sets the tone for any freelance project. You and your client will schedule deadlines, reassess expectations, assign tasks, and emphasize objectives during this stage. Rushing the process creates vague, unfeasible goals. Alternatively, overanalyzing trivial details and repeatedly answering the same queries hampers productivity.
The most effective, time-saving approach is to automate several areas of your client onboarding process. Let’s say you ask your new clients similar questions. Instead of going through them in every session, you can create a questionnaire or record a brief explainer video. Just make sure you wholly understand your client’s needs afterwards.
4. Prospecting Clients
Many freelancers dislike looking for new clients. Between reaching out to prospects and attending initial consultations, you’ll easily spend dozens of hours a week prospecting. Worst of all, you won’t even convert all your leads. Most of the time you spend hunting and calling will be classified as unpaid work, which wastes your time and money.
For a more efficient approach, use automation tools. We suggest trying out different programs based on which prospecting tasks you wish to automate. Let’s say you’re a writer. Email-finding tools can trace the editors and admins of different websites working with content writers and guest bloggers.
5. Appointment Booking
Many freelancers spend as much time planning meetings as they do attending them. Depending on the gap between you and your client’s time zones, you might message back and forth for several days.
With that said, emails only take a few clicks to send. Allotting more than an hour or two for scheduling appointments is unreasonable and unproductive.
To streamline the process, use an appointment booking app. Platforms like Google Calendar and Calendly let users quickly schedule meetings and select their preferred dates on customized calendars, which hosts can adjust. Simply send the participants your invite link and wait for their response.
6. Workflow Management
Freelancers often underestimate the time it takes to complete a project. Let’s say you’re a content writer. Even if you can write 500 to 600 words per hour, it’s unlikely to finish 5,000 words in a 10-hour shift. After all, you’ll also have to do topic research and draft edits.
Work projects always come with minute management tasks. Although most might only take a few minutes, you should still work around them and adjust your schedule accordingly.
In-depth workflow management eats up time. Instead, automate it with a project management tool. Popular apps like Asana or Trello can help with almost every aspect of the process, from setting feasible deadlines to finalizing project details. That way, you’ll have more time and energy to focus on your core responsibilities.
7. Contract Drafting
As a freelancer, clients expect you to provide project contracts. You’ll likely have to outline your rates, guarantees, responsibilities, and objectives, plus any stipulations regarding the client’s order.
Writing a contract from scratch generally takes a few hours. You can pull templates online, but you should still set aside an hour or two for editing. After all, generic agreements will only compromise your freelance business.
Instead of copy-pasting random contract drafts, you’ll save more time by offloading the process to an automation tool. There are several apps that produce customized contract drafts. They can create visually appealing contracts that explain your freelance projects’ scope, limitations, and legal requirements within minutes.
8. Basic Finance Tracking
Keeping track of your finances will become more challenging as your freelance business grows. You’ll have to record all payments from every client. Depending on your order volume, even simple finance management could take several hours.
Many professionals hire accountants to manage their finances. Although you could also work with a finance professional, consider using automation tools first. You won’t even have to pay anything. A quick Google search will reveal several simple, free personal finance Excel spreadsheet templates you can customize.
Become a More Productive Freelancer by Automating Tasks
Task automation will take your freelance career to the next level. However, don’t feel compelled to execute a fully functional, efficient automated system right from the get-go. Workflow automation takes time. Eliminate small, tedious tasks first, then gradually work your way toward automating more critical administrative responsibilities.
Also, don’t buy premium automation tools haphazardly. There are several free software programs and mobile apps on the market. With the right strategy, you can already use them to automate several daily functions of your freelance business.