There are many perks to being your own boss, particularly if you have the skills, experience or know-how to be a freelance consultant. From life coach to personal trainer to professional organizer, many people have found a way to put their skills to work helping others do better, be better or do more. Working with clients can be challenging, however, particularly when you have to juggle multiple clients at the same time. Here are three tips to help you manage multiple clients.
Set Boundaries and Expectations Early
Consulting can often be a feast or famine situation. You may go months only having one, two or a few clients that need your services. Then one day, out of the blue it may seem like every client you have ever worked with suddenly needs you. While it is important to give individualized attention to each of your clients, it is important to set the expectations early that they are not your only client. Even if they are your only client at that time, you want to be careful not to set their expectations based on your availability when they are actually your only client.
Use Project Management Software
Managing multiple clients is just like managing multiple projects. You will have different clients in different stages of development or may even be working on very different projects with different clients. Project management software can help you track exactly where you are with each client so important deadlines don’t get missed and no tasks fall through the cracks.
Track Your Time Carefully
Most consultants bill hourly, so you will need to track the amount of time you spend working on each project or with each client. You may also have one client that demands significantly more of your time than other clients, which you may not even notice if you are not tracking your time. It also helps to use integrated software that works together to accomplish multiple tasks. For instance, if you use Quickbooks, you may want to use the built-in time tracking feature so clients can be billed directly for whatever time you spend on them or their projects. The more integrated your different software programs are, the less time you will spend on administration and the more time you can spend working with clients.