Some people, rather naïvely, start up their own business thinking that doing so will mean that they have to spend less time working. In fact, the outcome is usually just the opposite. The difference is really that the person who started the business tends to enjoy their business much more than they enjoyed punching a clock for a living. As a freelancer, however, most people are going to have to track the amount of time they put into their work. Time tracking tools can oftentimes identify reasons why a business may not be taking off as it should.
How it Works
Freelance writers can serve as useful examples of some of the techniques that need to be developed to effectively work as any type of freelancer. For example, a freelance writer has to develop an understanding of how much their time and effort is worth and, quite frequently, that can be difficult. Some freelancers will feel that they should be paid a great deal of money for every single article that they produce while other freelancers will under bill, counting on a huge quantity of work that may never come.
By using time tracking tools, a freelancer can accurately figure out how much time they are spending on a project. If they are spending a couple of hours, at most, on an article and trying to charge a client $100 for that article, they are obviously not going to be competitive. Having time tracking data could help them to realize that they could simply take on more work and bill their clients less, ending up with happier clients and just as much money.
Conversely, a freelancer who is taking on too much work could, with time tracking software, see exactly how much time they are spending on each individual piece of work in an order. If they are billing too little for their time, this will become immediately apparent by looking at data. Good time tracking software will have visualization tools built into it that makes this easy to assess. Over time, it becomes possible to track how much time and effort needs to be put into a specific type of writing as compared to others. This allows the freelancer to come up with accurate bids on work. Of course, it also means that they are able to deliver on time, as they will be able to tell people exactly how long it will take them to get a project done.
All of this can help freelancers to increase the amount of income that they get. Using the example of a freelance programmer rather than a writer, the lesson is the same. The programmer may find that they are able to crank out a particular type of work very quickly and that, in fact, they may be able to turn a small client into a very large client by doing so. They may also find that, when a client really wants to underpay them for a job, they have a good reason to tell the client why that is not feasible for them. They can simply show them data as to how long it takes to complete that job, how much work is involved and so forth and, being given that information, a client may be more amicable to paying a realistic rate for the work that they want done.
One of the things that freelancers tend to forget is that they need a certain amount of free time. When somebody runs their own business, it is very easy to get so caught up in that business that they forget to give themselves a little bit of time off. With good time management software, they can effectively schedule themselves to be at work for a specific amount of time during the day and, when that time is done, they can already have blocked off some time for them to get away from it all for a while. This is what makes being a freelancer worth it in the first place and, with good time management tools, it is much easier to get that little bit of extra freedom at this type of lifestyle entails.
Freelancers, especially when they are starting out, tend to have a difficult time determining exactly how they need to keep records of jobs. This can make it difficult for them to convince clients to pay up on their bills when they need to, as those clients may not really understand what they are paying for. Time tracking software, when it is used diligently and consistently, provides a very easy way to generate reliable records that can be sent to a client. If a client has a complaint – such as feeling that a project is taking too long – the freelancer can simply send them the time information and let them look at it for themselves. If every part of the job is documented as to how much time it took, it’s usually much easier for the client to understand why they are being charged.
All of this comes down to better communication. The time tracking software makes it possible for freelancers to communicate more efficiently and accurately with their clients. Additionally, the freelancer is able to make sure that they understand their business by keeping a record of jobs that they have already completed. When it’s time to put in a bid on a job, the freelancer can accurately say how long it will take, how much it will cost and can accommodate any differences in the new job as compared to jobs that they have already completed.
There is no downside to time tracking software for freelancers. It does not turn being a freelancer into a situation that is all too similar to working at a large corporation. In fact, good time tracking software means that freelancers get more time off, spend their time more productively and generally have much happier clients than they would otherwise.