Three Simple Tips For Managing Freelance Projects

In an ideal world, every client would have her act together.Desktop with Macbook, monitor, and notebook, etc.

 

But as fulfilling as a freelancer’s world is, it’s rarely ideal.

  • Some clients don’t know what they want.
  • Some clients change their minds—often.
  • Some clients don’t communicate well.
  • Some clients [Fill in the blank—the list goes on.]

 

Besides doing your craft well, freelancing demands a flair for project management, too. You will find yourself in situations when you’ll need to grab the reins to keep assignments on track.

 

That means having your act together. Here are three simple steps to help start projects on a clear note and see them through successfully.

1. Get confirmation of all deliverables and determine dependencies BEFORE you start the project and agree to a deadline.

Often, projects involve more than just your work. For example, if I’m writing content for a website, I typically cannot begin until the layout of the site is determined and SEO requirements have been defined. Make it clear that your ability to start or finish your to-dos is dependent on others pulling their weight. If you have slackers on a project team, you will need additional time to complete your work.

 

2. Reserve time on your calendar for the different components you need to tackle.

This will save you headaches and help prevent the onset of panic attacks because you’ll have a plan for getting your work done.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” said a wise man named Benjamin Franklin.

Block out periods of time on your calendar for attending to the tasks associated with the project. It’s best to overestimate to give yourself some wiggle room in case not everything goes as planned.

 

3. Ask for feedback as you go.

Presenting your entire body of work at the project deadline can lead to disaster. Just one incorrect element or a misunderstanding can snowball into a giant re-do requiring hours and hours and hours of labor.

To get a pulse on whether or not you’re on target with your work, check in with clients regularly to present sections of completed work. As you get feedback and input, you can fine-tune what you’ve done and use that knowledge to make sure everything you do from that point onward will be closer to spot on.

I’ve found this tip invaluable. It enables me to make changes as I go in the event my writing tone is slightly off, or I need to rephrase certain terminology.

 

Keep Calm – And Get It Done.

Most freelancing projects are never completely free of challenges. But when you have a solid project management approach in your back pocket, you can keep a cool head and help steer the work process in the right direction.

 

What tips do you have for managing your freelance projects?

 

6 Ways to Rock Your Week, Week After Week

Rock the weekIn response to me retweeting one of his tweets on Monday, one of my favorite quality content connections on Twitter, Brett Relander, responded with a “Thanks” followed by, “Rock the week!”

 

Rock the week.

 

While I’m typically self-motivated and ready to go on Mondays, those three single-syllable words gave me a little nudge. An added push to pick up what this week will lay down. It injected some extra motivation into my mindset.

 

So I got to thinking, what if we solopreneurs would approach every week with a “rock the week” attitude? What if we’d start every week with some fire in our bellies to dig in and do it like we know we can?

 

More importantly, how can we approach every week that way?

 

Reflecting on work habits that have helped me get enthused and stay productive, I’ve listed a few tips that might work for you, too.

 

Six Tips For Rocking Your Work Week

Get organized.

Have a plan for tackling what you need to do each day of the coming week. Schedule time for projects, tasks, and meetings on your calendar. By having a plan for getting things accomplished, you’ll minimize the risk of things slipping through the cracks.

Leave some wiggle room.

Even the best-laid plans go awry. Impromptu, last minute projects. Requests for changes to work already submitted. Unexpected RFPs needing near-immediate attention. Technical issues. All of those things take time you didn’t plan on spending. By building some unspoken for time into your schedule, you can address the unexpected without falling too far behind.

Get energized.

Pump yourself up for the week ahead. Play some music by your favorite artist. Watch a motivational video. Listen to a motivational podcast. Read a motivational blog post. Even take a brisk walk or work out to get your blood flowing.

Eat like you mean business.

Fuel your body with the good stuff—veggies, high-quality protein, lots of water…you know the drill!

Reflect on what’s good.

Yeah, sometimes life as a solopreneur gets tough. But there’s always something to be thankful for. Consciously embracing an “attitude of gratitude” really can shift your perspective and make challenges and business roadblocks less intimidating.

Keep your eye on the prize.

Stepping away from the minutia to focus on the big picture can help, too. Rather than viewing tasks and projects as “just work,” instead view them as serving a greater purpose.

  • Opportunities that can lead to larger, more lucrative opportunities.
  • Revenue to get you closer to your financial goals.
  • Opportunities to demonstrate your expertise and build your professional reputation.
  • Activities to make your business operate like a well-oiled machine.

 

No secret formulas or rocket science here, but hopefully some actionable advice that could make the difference between a “blah” week and one that rocks.

 

Rock on!

 

How do you keep your motivation from waning and productivity from slipping in your business? Please share your tips here!

 

By Dawn Mentzer (a.k.a. The Insatiable Solopreneur™)

 

 

Can You Handle a Full-time Freelance Career?

According to the 2012 Freelance Industry Report by Ed Gandia, 65.5% of freelancing professionals work full-time as freelancers. Freelance writer's work stationTheir career is freelancing. They don’t freelance “on the side,” and they don’t have other part-time jobs to subsidize their income.

 

Given that Freelancers Union estimates “Nearly one in three working Americans is an independent worker,” that’s a lot of people making a living by freelancing.

 

Freelancing provides home/work life flexibility, the satisfaction of doing what you love, and the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge on your own terms.

 

Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy! Personally, I’ve found I’ve worked harder as a freelancer writer than when I worked for a corporation. Don’t misunderstand; I wasn’t by any stretch a slacker for my employer. But starting and running my own business has demanded a whole new level of commitment in time, attention, and emotional investment.

 

Are you up for the challenge of freelancing?

If you haven’t started yet or are new to freelancing, here’s a list of some things you’ll need to consider as an independent contractor.

 

Setting up a website
Along with that goes: finding a web developer/designer, web hosting, domain name registration, content (both text and visual), ongoing content updates, etc.

 

Taxes
When self-employed, you’re responsible for submitting your tax payments to the appropriate agencies, because taxes aren’t taken out of your paycheck from an employer.

 
Income tax (federal, state, local), Social Security, Medicare. And depending on the nature of what you provide to your customers, maybe even state sales tax. Before you get rolling with your freelance business, talk with a tax professional to find out exactly what tax obligations you’ll have and when they’re due. A tax pro can also help you estimate how much you’ll owe so you can plan ahead.

 

No Guaranteed Income
Clients can come and go. Projects come and go. Even when you have several clients who give you regularly recurring weekly or monthly assignments, they may not last forever. Unlike having a steady paycheck from an employer, your income might wax and wane. I’ll bet you’ve heard about the “feast or famine” cycle before. You will probably experience it as a freelancer, especially when you’re starting out.

 

Marketing
If you’re thinking just being present will draw prospects to you, think again. You need to put yourself out there and build awareness of your services. Expect to spend A LOT of time marketing yourself, especially when your business is new. Social media and blogging have been immensely effective tools for me. Be warned, however, they require attention every day and will demand hours of your time each and every week. To keep the momentum going and nurture online business relationship, you can’t ignore your social media or blog even when you’re super busy.

 

Paid Time Off
As a freelancer, there is no such thing.

 

Sick Time
Again, no such thing.

 

Face-To-Face Networking
Arguably, this could be lumped under marketing, but I believe it’s important enough for its own mention.

As convenient and effective as online networking is, the in-person variety can boost your capacity to build trust. When you meet someone face-to-face, they get a better sense of your personality and likeability. By attending networking events, you can get your foot in the door and close deals more quickly. And you can easily build upon those new relationships by following up via connecting with contacts on LinkedIn and other social media channels.

 

Be aware, however, that it takes time and consistency, just like online networking does. Don’t expect to go to a single event and walk out with a new customer in the bag.

 

Also important to know: networking events typically require a registration fee or membership to an organization (like chambers of commerce or professional networking groups).

 

Health Insurance
I’m extremely fortunate in that I have medical, dental, and vision insurance through my husband’s policy at work, but not all freelancers are as lucky. If you’re not married or your spouse’s plan won’t cover you, you’ll need to look into getting your own policy. It’s an expense you’ll need to factor into your pricing.
Time to Do the Work. Time to Run the Business.
Expect that you won’t be spending 40 hours a week on billable work for clients. Having a freelancing business demands time for taking care of administrative tasks, marketing, prospecting, and other responsibilities. That’s another thing to factor into your pricing. Your billable time will need to compensate for the time you spend on non-billable tasks.

 

Dealing with Numbers
Running your own business requires some degree of competency in managing your financials. Even if you outsource elements of your bookkeeping, you need to have a basic understanding of tracking and reporting the money coming into and going out of your business.

 

Only the Self-Motivated and Organized Need Apply.
If you have trouble motivating yourself to start projects and see them through to the end, freelancing might not be the best career choice for you. Likewise, if you fail at prioritizing and let tasks and projects slide until they’re past due, think twice before diving into freelancing full time.

 

 

I could go on and on, but I think that should give you a good taste of what you can expect from a career in freelancing. You’re the boss and there are many rewards, but you’ll need to work for them.

 

That said, don’t let your lack of experience or knowledge about business lead you to think you can’t do it. With so many online resources and entrepreneur-focused organizations (like SBA and SCORE, for example), you can access information and gain insight easily. I also recommend talking to other freelancers who will share about their own experiences.

 

Do your homework; then decide if a freelance career is right for you.

 

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

 

Sanity Saving Pre-Vacation Checklist for Solopreneurs

Ahhh. Vacation! Time to unwind, feel the sand between your toes, read a good book, escape your cares, and leave theSouth Padre Island, TX Beach pressures of work behind.

Those are the rewards that await you IF you survive the insanely stressful, tense days before you finally whisk yourself and your loved ones away.

When I started my own freelancing business five years ago, I suffered a number of pre-vacation symptoms – including short temper and scattered brain – prior to departing for our family get-aways. While those things afflicted me when I was on a corporate career path, they intensified after I became a solopreneur. The pressures of wrapping things up are a wee bit more demanding than when I had colleagues within a department to cover for me while I was gone.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With some thought and planning, you can make preparing to go away a less harrowing experience.

Solopreneurs’ Pre-vacation Survival Guide

Here are my ready-set-don’t-fret tips for getting your act together before you leave your office.

    • Let clients know you’ll be going out of town.
      Don’t only inform them about when you’ll be gone; also let them know on what date you’ll no longer be working on assignments. For example, if your plane leaves for Florida on Tuesday, August 5, you might decide you won’t work on client projects after Friday, August 1.I typically give myself at least one business day off before I leave because I always discover there are eleventh hour errands to run and personal tasks to tend to. You might also want to include the day after you return as an off-limits day so you can catch up on things at home or administrative tasks. Email the dates of your unavailability to your clients at least one month in advance. If you tell them by phone, email them a reminder.  They’re human after all, and they’re likely to forget exactly when you said you’ll be leaving and when you’ll be back.
    • Reschedule assignments that would be due during the week(s) you’re on vacation.
      You’ve got the responsibility to come through for your clients. Plan to get their work done before you leave for vacation. About one month before you depart, schedule assignments on your calendar throughout the week or two before you leave so you’ve reserved ample time to complete them. Your clients will appreciate your reliability – and you won’t have to play catch up when you return home.
    • Resist taking on new assignments the week before you leave.
      Yes, the money will look awfully attractive because you know you’ll probably be spending lots of it during your vacation. But if a prospect or client brings a new project your way just before you leave, ask if you can begin to work on it after you return. Remember, in adherence to the last bullet point, you’ve already scheduled client work for that week before vacation. And then there’s always the unexpected that can – and likely will – pop up just as you’re starting to have visions of palm trees and margaritas dancing in your head. Don’t load up your pre-vacation week too heavily, or you could find yourself scrambling.
      • Schedule your blog posts and social media updates.
        Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean your marketing efforts have to go on a hiatus, too. You can still keep your blog and social media accounts afloat by writing your posts and updates ahead of time and scheduling them to publish while you’re gone. If you have a WordPress blog, you can future-date posts. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer make it easy to schedule social media updates, plus Facebook has built-in scheduling capabilities.

 

    • Pay your bills in advance.
      If you’re not set up for automatic payments, schedule time in advance to take care of any bills that will be due while you’re gone. This year, my Verizon Wireless and Visa payments will be due during my vacation, so I’ve created an appointment on my Google Calendar to remit them the week before I leave. That helps me in two ways: 1. They won’t slip my mind. 2. I won’t lose sleep over worrying about them slipping my mind.
    • Set up your automated email vacation response.
      Don’t haggle with this at the last minute. Do it at least a week or two in advance so you’re done with it. Set it so people know when you’ll be unavailable, which would include the time before and directly after vacation when you’ll be preparing to leave or catching up after you return.
      • Change your voice mail greeting on your office phone and mobile phone.
        Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do this too far in advance of your vacation, but take care of it the day before you’ll no longer be available to field client calls.

 

    • Create an instructions sheet for the person(s) who will be looking after your home while you’re gone.
      If you’ve got a house/pet sitter who takes care of your home and furry family members when you’re on vacation, you can avoid the worry of “Did I tell them everything they need to know?” by creating an instructions sheet. We’ve used one for the past several years, and we update it each time we go away if anything has changed. We include: our dog’s feeding and medication schedule, our plants’ watering schedule (I’ve got 40 outdoor potted plants in a variety of places, so yes, this is a necessity!), the combination for opening our garage door with the outdoor keypad, swimming pool care instructions, our mobile phone numbers, our home’s landline voice mail password, location of our vacuum cleaner, local emergency contacts, and most important – our Wi-Fi password!

I know. It sounds like a lot of work. But when you’ve got everything in order ahead of time, you can spare yourself the debilitating rush of cortisol that comes from frantically taking care of loose ends at the last minute.

Try it, and I think you’ll agree; you’ll relax more easily and enjoy that first vacation cocktail so much more by planning for your departure in advance.

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ Post

[Image is from one of our past vacations at South Padre Island TX]
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Solopreneur Tip: Sometimes You Should Judge a Book by its Cover

I’ve been fortunate as a freelance writer. The overwhelming majority of the prospects I’ve met and the clients I’ve worked with have been respectful and reasonable people.

But you’ve probably discovered not ALL prospects have those same qualities.

Signing on problem clients can cost you time and money—and they can chip away at your self-confidence and sense of self-worth if you let them. That’s why it’s important to recognize the warning signs. Some prospects display tendencies or act in certain ways that you should consider “red flags.”

Exercise Caution, Solopreneurs and Freelancers!

Freelancing tip: Sometimes you need to judge a book by its cover

If you’re someone who patiently gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, you could do yourself and your business a disservice if you see these signs but move forward with the business relationship. Although a prospect who fits one or two of the descriptions might still be OK, you need to be careful.

Problem Prospects Can Cause BIG Headaches as Problem Clients…

When You Should Judge a Book by its Cover_Page_2

As a solo biz owner, you need to look out for yourself. Your time, energy, and talent are precious, so don’t squander them on prospects who won’t appreciate your professionalism and the value you bring. We’ve all been told to never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you have to go with your gut.

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By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ Post

Solopreneurs: Aim High, but Know Your Limits

Solopreneurs are small but mighty. We’re also one-person businesses with limitations in addition to our strengths.Solopreneurs: Swim Don't Sink Preserving our non-employee small business status sometimes means making tough decisions and turning some assignments away. It’s usually a matter of capacity more so than capability, but that doesn’t make it any easier to say “no.” Especially when you need to say “no” to existing clients who you enjoy working with.

 

Just recently, one of my clients approached me with a project opportunity larger than any I had ever encountered. It potentially could have added nearly 20% to my projected revenue for the year – a nice chunk of change for sure. BUT after getting a clearer grasp of all it would entail, I determined I couldn’t take on the entire breadth of it. Even with outsourcing some of the work to other writers as independent contractors under me, I wouldn’t have the capacity to manage the full scope and keep up with my other ongoing assignment commitments and business responsibilities.

 

It made me sad to walk away from such a financially substantive project opportunity, but I know my limits. I’ve learned working around the clock isn’t healthy nor is it a productive way to do business. I know that accepting too much work in a short time frame sacrifices quality.

 

So what do you do when you’re faced with an opportunity that would stretch you and your solo-business a bit too thin?

 

Don’t think every project needs to be “all or nothing.”

 

Even if you can’t handle all aspects of the project, perhaps your client would be willing to use your services for a portion of it. You’d still be an asset, without overtaxing yourself. Yes, your client would need to find other resources to help, too. But chances are that would be the case anyway.

 

Think about it. If you can’t manage the entire scope of work, it’s likely other solopreneurs in your field won’t be able to either.

 

With the ginormous project that recently crossed my path, I gave my client rates for specific components of the assignment. I also shared the volume of work I could commit to on a weekly basis as the project progresses.

 

I haven’t heard whether or not my proposal has the green light yet. If it doesn’t get the nod, it would be a bit of a loss because even the skinnied down scope I proposed would bring notable income. But I’ll be at peace knowing I made the right decision and haven’t overcommitted to more than I can handle.

 

Solopreneurs, as you build your business you’ll discover your strengths – and your limitations – along the way. Aim high, but be realistic about how much you can manage effectively.

Your turn! How have you handled telling clients “no” to projects that were larger than you could comfortably manage?

 

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Want to Make a Smart Business Move? Ask Stupid Questions.

None of us like to appear uninformed, uneducated, or ignorant. Where’s the glory in that? But none of us knows It's smart to ask stupid questions in businesseverything there is to know about business. Especially when we’re starting out and not even after years down the road. So, like it or not, there will be moments when we need to disclose our lack of knowledge about one thing or another: By asking proverbial “stupid” questions.

As they say, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Of course, knowing that provides little reassurance when you’re fearing ridicule by your peers because you think you don’t know something that everyone else in the entire world already does.

We need to get over that!

The fact is, we don’t know what we don’t know until we realize we don’t know it. That doesn’t make us idiots. It just means some things haven’t been introduced into our frames of reference yet. When they finally are, we often need to ask basic (a.k.a. stupid) questions to understand them.

An embarrassing blast from my past when I wished I had asked a stupid question…

Back in college, I remember taking an essay exam in a P.R. course and one of the questions involved the concept of getting quotes (bids) from companies for providing their services. I was around 19 or 20 years old at the time (and an A student, I might add), and for whatever reason, I didn’t know that  “to quote” meant to propose a price. (Amazing, I know.) Because of that, the question didn’t make complete sense to me, and I was too embarrassed to get clarification from my professor. So I fumbled through answering it the best I could. When my professor returned my graded test, he wrote a comment telling me that it was clear I hadn’t understood the question, and he wished I would have asked him about it. I got a C on that exam, when I likely would have gotten an A, if only I had put on my big girl pants and asked what seemed to be a stupid question. Seems to me, asking and getting an A would have been the smart move. Live and learn.

Not knowing something is excusable. Not asking questions to gain the knowledge you need when you realize you don’t know something is not.

And not asking questions can be downright damaging.

If you don’t ask questions (even when you think they’re stupid and believe everyone else knows the answers), here are a few of the things that could go wrong in your business…

  • You could make serious errors in your bookkeeping and accounting.
  • You could pay more than you should be for products and services.
  • You could do something unintentionally illegal in how you manage your employees or independent contractors.
  • You could be missing the mark with a product or service.
  • You could be wasting time on the wrong social media networks.
  • You could take projects in a different direction than your client envisioned.
  • You could take on the wrong clients.
  • You could take on the wrong projects.
  • You could be taken advantage of.

Moral of the story: If you don’t know, ask!

Sure, it might be embarrassing for a minute or so. But after that initial hit to the ego is over, you’re left with an answer – and empowering information you didn’t have before.

 

By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Solopreneur™ post

 

 

 

 

F is for “Freelancing”…and 8 Other F-Words Freelancers Can’t Ignore

F is for “freelancing,” and it also stands for a few other words that strongly represent what being a freelancing solopreneur isF-words for Freelancers all about. As today is a Friday, I thought it appropriate to keep the tone light and the content fun with a list of some fwords that freelancers and all solo-pros can relate to:

Faithful – When you make freelancing your career choice, you need to faithfully show up for work – physically and mentally – every day and stay the course.

Focus – Distractions are a freelancer’s worst enemy. Your level of productivity and progress toward your goals depends on your ability to block out the noise and remain on task.

Fastidious – As a freelancer, you always need to be on top of the details and aim for accuracy in all you do.

Frustration – It goes with the territory. There are times when not all will be going your way and you won’t like it one bit.

Failure – You’ll succeed at some things as a solopreneur, but you’ll also fail at times as you grow your business. Realize that you can learn from those moments and become better and more successful as a result.

Fair – To earn a reputation as someone other professionals like to do business with, you need to be fair in how you treat all people. Don’t jump to conclusions or judge based on first impressions. Don’t make mountains out of mole hills.

Firm – As a freelancer, you offer value. Project confidence in what you bring to the table and stand firm when the occasional prospect questions your worth and puts you up against the wall for a lower rate. It’s not always easy to hold your ground, but never undervalue your expertise and services.

Fears – Like every small business owner, you’ll encounter uncertainty and risk that could threaten your ability to succeed and sustain your business. It’s scary. Don’t feel inferior for having fears. The important thing is that you face them head on and do what needs to be done to overcome adversity and move past what stands in your way.

What other F-words can you add to the list? I drew the line at 8, but I know there are probably 800 more!

by Dawn Mentzer

Why Your Solopreneur Business Needs “Wiggle Room” – and How to Fit It Into Every Day

If you’re a professional services solopreneur, there’s great satisfaction in having a full plate of billable projects. After all,

Leaving "wiggle room" between projects & appointments lets you "plan" for the unexpected.

Leaving “wiggle room” between projects & appointments lets you “plan” for the unexpected.

that’s what you’ve been aiming for, right? To fill your calendar with billable, revenue-generating work. But don’t forget that you have only a limited number of hours in every day!

As you build your client base – and the list of projects that need your time an attention – make sure that you build some “wiggle room” into your schedule, too.

Wiggle room involves setting aside time every day for the unexpected.

It’s a simple idea. Yet I suspect a lot of small business owners and solopreneurs don’t embrace it. I hadn’t until recently…but the busier I get, the more I recognize how important it is. If I don’t set time aside for those little things that seem to pop up out of nowhere, I risk falling behind on my commitments.

Get organized first!
Of course, scheduling wiggle room assumes that you already schedule your work. If you haven’t made it a habit, I urge you to start blocking out time on your calendar for the different projects you’re working on and your administrative tasks. Paying attention to deadlines is great, but how do you know you’re capable of handling your workload unless you can see that you have the available hours to get things done? And planning your project work in that way will help you give realistic deadlines to clients.

How to fit it in
Now back to wiggle room! As you plan your projects, ALSO ADD WIGGLE ROOM into your day! You don’t have to add hours at a time, but schedule short bursts of a half hour to an hour every few hours between your planned meetings and projects.

What’s it good for?
So, what types of activities might you use your wiggle time for? Here’s the short list of the activities that typically tap into my wiggle room…

  • Responding to a quote request
  • Returning a phone call to a client
  • Tweaking work that requires minor changes
  • Meeting with a client or lead on short notice
  • Providing advice and guidance to business colleagues who have asked for direction
  • Refreshing my brain with a quick wog (walk/jog) on our treadmill

Other less common uses of wiggle room…

  • Cashing it in if I’m feeling run down
  • Driving my daughter’s forgotten packed lunch to her school
  • Medical appointments
  • Grocery store run

Really, you can use your wiggle room for anything that you haven’t otherwise planned for. Again, the essential element to making wiggle room work is to be well-organized in the first place. That may take some practice and discipline at first, but your efforts to plan your work – and your wiggle room – each and every day will make you a more effective, more efficient business professional.

What would you use your wiggle room for? Already doing this? How do you use your wiggle room?

Two C’s Every Solopreneur Needs to Consider BEFORE Accepting Projects

When considering “yes” or “no” about taking on a project, it’s tempting to jump in with a resounding, “Yeah, I’ll do that!”Thumbs up. Thumbs down. if the price is right. But as your business and base of clients grow, accepting every project and new client that comes down the pike can become problematic. Some of the adverse effects include failure to deliver quality work, not having enough time for your long-time loyal clients, and jeopardizing your well-being.


Let the Two C’s Guide You

Though I think you should always consider them, I strongly recommend that these two C’s stay in the forefront of your mind when you find yourself exceptionally busy. BEFORE agreeing to work on any project, assess your…

Capability

Do you have the skills required to do what the client is asking you to do? Remember, your reputation depends on doing quality work. If you’re presented with a project opportunity that requires talents and experience that you don’t possess, it might be in your best interest to decline it. That’s especially true if you’ve already got enough work to sustain you. Never try to be the square peg squeezing into the round hole. That’s never a good fit!

Capacity

Do you have the time to complete the project and meet the client’s deadline? The foresight to plan ahead and strong organizational skills are your best friends when making the call. You need to get a good handle on the scope of projects, determine how much time they’ll require, and reserve space for them on your calendar. If you don’t, you’ll never know whether or not you can comfortably take on any additional client commitments.

Keep in mind that capability and capacity are interwoven. If you’re presented with a project opportunity that’s similar to those that you tackle on a regular basis, it will likely take less time and effort than a type of project that you have little or no experience with. Always pay attention to both capability and capacity when a new client or an existing one brings new work to the table – or you’ll risk making a poor go/no-go decision!

What other ways to you qualify work before you accept it? Please share your tips for taking on work that’s a good fit!

 
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