MARKETING • CREATIVE • DIGITAL
The Freelancer’s Guide to Efficiency
Freelancer, independent contractor or solopreneur–whatever it is you call yourself, staying organized in your everyday life is something you can’t afford to miss. So how can you stay on top of a large to-do pile while working for yourself? We asked our good friend and freelance extraordinaire, Erica Hanna, for her personal tips and the tools she uses daily.
Mile IQ, an app that has been creating a lot of buzz with freelancers, lets you conveniently track gas mileage with ease. Erica says, “I’m the WORST at tracking mileage, which isn’t good when I’m jetting from video shoot to client meetings all day. But MileIQ has been a lifesaver! I don’t even need to remember to hit start/stop. At the end of a drive, it asks you to classify it as business or personal. Perfect!”
Ever go to one of your social media apps to quickly check a message and suddenly find yourself looking up from your device an hour later? RescueTime provides a solution to this all too common problem. Erica says, “Since I use social media a lot for business, it’s easy to get sucked down the black hole of Facebook or Twitter for hours on end. RescueTime tracks how long you spend in each program on your computer. It was a good reality check. Now I use it to set weekly productivity goals so I don’t get distracted.”
A free online collaboration app, Trello, is perfect for the freelancer on a budget. It’s an online platform where you can create various boards, lists and cards to manage all of your projects and share it all with the people you work with. Trello’s layout style is similar to Pinterest, making it an easy-to-use, low-cost organization solution for freelancers.
Find Moral Support
While working from home may allow you more flexibility and freedom, it can also get very quiet. Without other people around, you may feel less motivated and hungry for feedback. Erica’s solution: “Bouncing ideas off of people is important. I meet monthly with a group of 15 other video freelance professionals. We swap tips about gear, taxes, insurance, etc. It’s great!”
Find a community of professionals who are willing to meet on a regular basis so you don’t skip a beat. Working from home and freelancing doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the benefits of working with a team. There are also plenty of paid working spaces, like CoCo, where freelancers can gather together to work on their projects and receive constructive feedback from colleagues.
Network With People Who Think Differently
Erica’s last piece of advice is to go outside your comfort zone when it comes to meeting other professionals. “If you network with the same people all the time, with the same skill set as you[…], you probably aren’t going to find any leads. It’s like trying to sell dresses to a dressmaker. Last year I went to Mobile March, and it was awesome. It was over my head, but some of it sunk in[…].It aligned me with folks who have other skill sets and a need for my services. Being around people who think differently is a huge asset.”
Whether it’s an app that can make you more productive or a method of interacting with people, there are plenty of ways to be efficient in your freelance lifestyle so you can focus on what’s important: running a successful business!