Managing multiple clients as a contractor

Knowledge base from Boox

By Jonathan London on 14th January 2015

Managing multiple clients as a contractor

There is no better feeling than knowing that your skills and knowledge are both valued and desired. Being able to say that as a contractor you are working on a number of projects is wonderful, especially if they are both highly valuable and interesting.

However, there are only so many hours in the day and while it would be great to own some sort of time travel machine which would allow you to take on as many clients as possible, you are only human and it can sometimes be a struggle to work with multiple clients.

With this in mind, we have some advice on how to ensure that you are able to help managing multiple clients, and yourself, so that you are able to work as productively as possible.

Managing multiple clients

Get that diary out

Remember the shiny new diary you received for Christmas? Well, it’s time to put it to use and go through the clients that you are working with. Take a different coloured pen for each if it helps you differentiate between them and mark in when particular stages of their projects are due and when the completion should take place.

Having a clear idea as to where you currently are is so important as it offers you a fresh start and will stop you from feeling that you are falling behind if you were unclear as to how much was expected of you. After all, you can’t manage your time and work when you aren’t sure how much you actually have to do.

From filling out your diary you should be able to see where you are and the amount of work you need to produce over the coming weeks, month or year depending on what commitments you have made.

Make sure that the deadlines set out are all realistic – it is much better to speak to a client and say that you would prefer an extra day or so to really concentrate on their project than to hand over something that you feel isn’t up to your usual standard or is rushed.

Lists will become your new best friend

If you haven’t guessed already, organisation really is key to handling multiple clients and it is so important to understand the effectiveness that a good to-do list can have.

Lists can help you come up with new ideas while reminding you of the different stages of a particular project that you must complete. There is also something rather satisfying about putting a line through a completed task and knowing that while the overall project may still be ongoing, that a part of it has finished.

What’s more, lists help you see the bigger picture, but in a manageable way –  some people actually have lists of lists!

If you find it easier you can download a number of smartphone apps to help you with writing to-do lists, such as Trello, which is fantastic as you fill in cards with the tasks that you need to do and once they are being worked on, can physically move them around depending on the progress.

Take time for yourself

It can be all too tempting to work overtime to complete a project, but it is so important that you have a specific time each day when you switch off and do your best to forget about your projects. After all, isn’t flexible working one of the reasons for going freelance?

Spending more time than you have been allocated on work can harm your productivity and drive, which is clearly not great in the long run, for both you and the clients you are managing.

Find something that you love doing and ensure that it takes you out of the house for a bit each day if you work from home. Grab a pair of trainers and take up running, or head to the gym to get those endorphins flowing, or learn a new and enjoyable skill through an evening course. Enjoy great television? Well, why not try your hand at scriptwriting or acting?

Ensure that you dedicate time for your family and friends. Your personal life is just as important as your professional one, and both go hand-in-hand when it comes to fulfillment and happiness.

You can say no sometimes

It is, of course, completely possible to be managing multiple clients at any one time, but if you do feel that you are starting to take on too much, then it is okay to say no to new projects (try this advice).

Of course, in an ideal world this wouldn’t happen, but it is more important that you don’t stretch yourself too far. Biting off more than you can chew, so to speak, can result in your work not being up to standard and stress – both of which you really want to avoid!

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