Monday, December 07, 2009

Necessary evils of freelancing

One of the necessary evils of being a freelance writer is all the administrative stuff that goes along with it.

Keeping well-organized records is incredibly important. For instance, emails organized in separate folders by client help you to keep track of project details, payment amounts, etc.

I've always been a stickler about keeping records. I save ALL client emails, record each payment in an Excel spreadsheet, save PayPal receipts as PDFs, and scan checks before depositing them. Unfortunately, lately I've gotten to be pretty lax about emails, and as a result my inbox was up to around 6,500 emails by the time I finally went through it last week.

Learn from my mistakes. I spent an entire day going through emails before I finally got my inbox down to about 1,000. A day spent reading old emails, filing, and (sadly) responding to some very old emails from the contact form on my websites that I had missed in all that mess. Luckily, none of them were missed client opportunities, but in a way they were worse: Most were pleas for advice from people who had happened upon my blog on feline hepatic lipidosis.

Don't let your inbox get out of control. It takes a few minutes to answer an email, and a matter of seconds to file where they belong. Much better than wasting an entire day that could have been better spent on billable client work!


Devon Ellington said...

I save all my relevant, work-related emails, too, and because I get several hundred a day on various projects, it's a magilla.

I let it get out of control, and now, that I plan to move hosts in the next couple of months -- it's a nightmare to go through, transfer to a flashdrive, etc.


Katharine Swan said...

Oh, Devon, I feel your pain. I have been making an attempt to be more organized since I went through all my emails, but I still haven't been filing everything. Perhaps I should do that once a month -- I always have a slow period at the very beginning of the month!


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