February 2nd, 2010
So you’ve had enough of your rotten boss or the hideous job market and decided to give freelancing a whirl. Congratulations. But before you settle into your SpongeBob slippers and turn to the day’s project deadlines, ask yourself this: How’s business? Be honest. Are you bringing in enough work? Making enough money to meet your expenses–and your saving goals? Happy with your current client lineup–or frantically nabbing any project within spitting distance for fear it will be your last?
If your freelance business has yet to meet your expectations, don’t fret. With a little strategy and planning, this could be the year you get there. Here’s how.
Track Your Time
Sure, many freelancers get paid by the project, day, week, month, word, session or click. But it’s helpful to do the math and see what your efforts are yielding per hour. This applies to all indie workers, whether you’re a writer, designer, photographer, programmer, bookkeeper, virtual assistant, social media expert or project manager. If you’re scarcely clearing minimum wage for that client you thought was such a coup, Houston, we have a problem.
Happily, the web is rife with free tools you can use to track your time per project. Examples: myHours, Slim Timer and Toggl. If the hours show that you’re grossly underpaid, you have two choices: ask for more money or replace the client with one that actually pays a living wage.