Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Full-time work with part-time hours

I've decided that I need to start telling clients that I only work part-time hours: I put in an average of four billable hours every day, with another couple of hours spent managing client email, blogging, and networking.

This is actually a fairly new phenomenon for me. I used to put in about six billable hours a day (more if I was slammed), but at least two or three more hours were spent on email, job boards, and other forms of marketing.

All of that changed when we moved Panama out here. I head out to the stables in the morning, and generally stay there for anywhere from one to three hours, depending on how much I have to do that day. Most of the time now I don't get to work until at least noonish.

Sometimes it's frustrating to get home, only to realize that I only have a few hours to work before Michael comes home. Often I end up working in the evening to make up some time. But I don't mind it at all — rather, I am grateful to have a job where I have the flexibility to change my schedule as needed.

However, many of my clients — particularly my newer clients — don't understand why I'm not available in the morning. I'm not sure why I haven't had to deal with this problem before, since until earlier this year I was rarely up before 11:00 am — the difference being that I usually worked until 3:00 or 4:00 am.

Needy client syndrome indicates that I will need to be a little more clear about my hours. The dilemma I am facing is that I don't want to label myself a part-time writer, for fear that it will make me sound less serious about my work: The term "part-time" intimates that writing is a hobby, rather than a career.

I think my solution will probably just be to let clients know that I am typically only available in the afternoons and evenings. What do you think?


Kathy@TheFlawlessWord said...

I don't think you need to lock yourself into labels or make apologies or explanantions for your working preferences. You're a freelancer. The whys and what-fors are your business and no one else's.

Katharine Swan said...

Good way of looking at it. Thanks, Kathy. :o)

Anonymous said...

I think you can still be a full time freelancer and set "office" hours where you can field phone calls. I did this successfully when I had a previous small business and plan to use the same approach. It lets a client know when they can get in touch or expect you to be back in touch with them. I think it might be a better way of managing client expectations than saying part time.


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