After a five-year stint as an employee, I went full-time as a freelance author in January 2020. I d been laid off from a brief task in December, so I scooted to discover work and took any projects I was offered.
I made enough to make a living in the very first few months, however it was well listed below the wage I d made as an employee. After two months of scavenging for work– and accepting the truth that I was running a full-time freelance company– I ended up being more picky about the projects I d handle in an effort to increase my earnings and save my peace of mind.
An unanticipated Google product ended up being incredibly handy in helping me find out the very best balance of work to create the company I desired: my Google Calendar.
As writers, were definitely acquainted with all things Google Workspace (previously GSuite) from Google docs hacks for completing tasks to Google docs add-ons to tracking changes in Google docs.
In April, I nearly doubled the income I d made in each of the previous 3 months.
How I use Google Calendar to enhance my freelance writing business
Heres how Ive used time obstructing in Google Calendar to quickly increase my self-employed income and reduce my tension over the past year and a half.
Block time for each task
That suggests I estimate how numerous hours itll take to finish a task (in my case, either writing or modifying), and I obstruct that numerous hours in the calendar ahead of the due date.
Till I did the mathematics.
Focus on high-yield clients.
You can set that number in a great deal of methods: based upon your salary from a previous job, covering your standard expenditures, or striking an arbitrary target that seems like success to you, like earning 6 figures.
As an employee in media business, I d been working as an editor. After starting as a personnel writer, becoming an editor was the natural development to level up, gain more duty and increase my income.
Rather of just keeping a running to-do list of work, I block time in my calendar for every assignment I accept.
If I fill all the work hours in my week and fall short of my incomes target? I need to examine and re-balance the tasks Im handling from each client to make certain Im not filling my time with low-rate work.
I get better at estimating for how long itll take me to complete work, so I understand precisely just how much work I can handle each week.
Once I realized this trend, I focused on discovering composing work and dropped my hourly-rate modifying gigs one by one– beginning with my 20-hour-per-week anchor client..
This is necessary: I do not put assignments in my calendar based on due dates. I block time based on “to-do” dates..
Adding projects to my Google Calendar lets me see my workload along with scheduled occasions or conferences, so I prevent unintentionally handling deadlines that encounter a day complete of client calls– or over-scheduling customer calls throughout a week filled with assignments.
Since I was accepting whatever, I took on some writing customers with quite low per-word or per-article rates. I figured they d assist fill in around my anchor editing customer..
Calculate revenues per hour for every single customer.
Dropping that customer and the guaranteed work seemed like the dumbest move I could make just a number of months into scrambling to earn a living after being laid off. But it settled. I more than doubled my average hourly rate after that and earned almost twice the earnings in Q2 of 2020 that I d averaged in the first quarter.
When youre very first starting as a freelancer, setting income goals can be difficult. How do you know what to aim for prior to you understand your potential?
For example, if I took five hours to write a $250 article, that works out to $50 per hour.
This is how I figured out– to my surprise– composing is a lot more financially rewarding for me as a freelancer than editing.
Its a lot more difficult (in my experience) to ask for $50 per hour than to request for $250 for a short article thatll take 5 hours to write.
Then I got a few composing tasks.
Regardless of how Im being spent for an assignment, I keep track of the hours I invest dealing with it. My Google Calendar time blocks make that easy due to the fact that I can change them if I invest basically time on something than anticipated.
However you decide to do it, I advise setting income goals, because theyll guide how you spend your time.
Computing a hourly rate creates a level way to compare all of my clients, no matter the type of work or pay structure.
Tracking my time helps my organization in 2 methods:.
The approach likewise makes it easy to provide myself authorization to work on side jobs, like my newsletter for writers, without stressing over the unbillable hours.
Since I know just how much time I invest on every job, I can figure out how much Im making per hour from every customer, even the ones that pay by the word or deliverable.
One year later, focusing on around my incomes per hour has assisted me double that month-to-month income again– with average hourly revenues around three to four times what I d been charging that “anchor” editing customer in early 2020.
I can quickly see which clients use up the most or least of my time. (Pro pointer: Color code customer jobs on the calendar to make this easy to see at a look!).
So I sought editing gigs when I transitioned to freelance work. I was delighted when I landed some routine customers, including one gig that guaranteed around 20 hours of work weekly– half my lineup filled out one fell swoop!
Arrange work based upon earnings objectives.
Heres how that works: As I obstruct time for assignments in the week to come, I accumulate my predicted earnings for each task. I stop when I have enough projects on the schedule to hit my target for the week.
Thats in part due to the fact that I work rapidly, and per hour rates punish performance. However its also due to the fact that clients have a manipulated bar for per hour rates, often determining them versus what they d pay a per hour staff member.
That makes it truly easy to see whether I have the bandwidth to take something on when its offered. No time in the calendar before the requested deadline? Say no.
I have a weekly earnings target based upon how much I desire to make this year, divided by 48 weeks (leaving four weeks of trip, mental or ill health days). Integrating that target with time blocking my projects makes it extremely simple to remain on track– and adjust my work or client roster when Im off target.
For those that do not pay a hourly rate, I take the amount I earned for the task and divide by the variety of hours I invested on the job.
Tape-record real time to complete work.
Even with low rates, I was earning way more per hour from writing than from my hourly editing clients.
If I just need to resolve Wednesday to strike my target? Thats 2 days totally free to take pleasure in a long weekend or make progress on a side job!
Why Google Calendar for company?
I can be “busy” throughout work blocks. Developing calendar occasions for my blocked work times lets me show up as “hectic” to avoid individuals from scheduling meetings throughout those blocks.
Image by Zan on Unsplash.
I can track all the info I require for an assignment. Google Calendar lets me add notes and live links into an events description and connect Google Docs and other properties straight to the event, so its simple to utilize for individual project management.
Its what I use to set up everything else. All of my meetings immediately reveal up there, so it makes good sense to arrange my work in the exact same location.
That makes it actually easy to see whether I have the bandwidth to take something on when its offered. No time in the calendar before the requested due date? Dropping that client and the ensured work felt like the dumbest move I could make just a couple of months into rushing to make a living after being laid off. I can set occasion notices, so Ill get a ping when its time to move onto the next assignment. If Im not all set to move on, its an excellent reminder to change an events time to keep track of my real time invested.
About the Author: Dana Sitar.
Dana Sitar has actually been writing and modifying for digital media considering that 2011, with bylines including Inc., the New York Times, Slate and more. She shares recommendations for authors, editors, students and educators on how to compose well at danasitar.com.
I utilize Google Calendar because:.
Using this system has assisted me remain on top of my freelance work, even as Ive included more clients and more irregular work. Its helped me figure out what type of work is the very best fit for my goals and abilities, assess the value I receive from customers, and enhance my customer roster and work to increase my income and produce the kind of organization that fits the life I wish to live.
It comes with notifications. I can set occasion notices, so Ill get a ping when its time to move onto the next assignment. Its a good reminder to adjust an occasions time to keep track of my real time invested if Im not prepared to move on.
You can track your hours and obstruct time for work using simply about any organizer or calendar method you desire, on paper or online.