It can tough for a freelance newcomer to learn how to operate a home business. It happened to me – it took me years to figure out the right routine to advance my freelancing career.
I wish I had someone who would show me the ropes on how to run a freelance home-based business when I first started. I also want to help those who are in the position I was in about five years ago. So, if you are a new freelance home business owner looking to operate more efficiently, then keep on reading.
I’m about to give you a peek behind the curtain on my daily operations. I’ll provide you with what’s, why’s, and how’s… of the way I’m conducting my freelance business from home. So let’s get started!
The Typical Day to Day
I officially open my services at 08:00 AM EST… but that’s not the time my workday starts. I start working about half an hour after I get out of bed. Usually, at around 05:30, I take an hour to work on personal projects to further my career. Such as writing this blog. That way I can focus on taking care of business without the worries of taking chunks of time for promotional stuff.
After that, I take 90 minutes to workout/do yoga/run, then take a shower and have breakfast. While at it, I also take time to talk to my girlfriend (who’s currently in Georgia) to say our hellos and wish each other a good day. if we can’t talk, then good old text messaging covers that field.
After having breakfast, it’s time to open the shop. And from 08:00 AM until noon… it’s time to take care of business.
Taking Care of Business
I refer to those four hours as TCB time, because that’s the time when I work on what’s going to bring money to the bank – copywriting projects, consulting appointments, and information products. Each of these tasks gets 25 minutes of pure focus, and five minutes of rest. I do that way because creative work can drain your energy out. Especially when working on tight deadlines. So, I like to look at my work like a 4×400 run… I work as hard as I can for 25 minutes, then take a good rest for five.
Depending on the demands of my schedule, my lunch periods could be half an hour or an hour long. I believe in healthy eating, so I try to cook my lunch meals during this time. I also talk to my girlfriend to catch up on her day. If the schedule turns to hectic, then I go and grab a quick meal at a fast food restaurant. I use the book Eat This, Not That as a
After lunch, I take the afternoon time to work on those daily tasks you need to do to run your business effectively. Now, these tasks can easily be delegated, but if you can’t hire people yet – or just want to do them yourself – then scheduling them for the afternoon is the best course of action. And the reason for that is… afternoons turn to be full of distractions. Kids come out of school; things could happen at your spouse’s work; something could happen to a relative. If you need to close shop to attend to an emergency, you’re not really at a lost. Because you can pick these tasks up right where you left them the very next day!
The first task in my list is the productivity tasks. From 01:00 PM to 01:30, I make sure the office is well organized, and that I have everything I need to work effectively. I make sure my desktop is not a mess, and that important files are where they should be. I also make a list of any furniture, equipment, or supplies I need.
Once I finish with my productivity tasks, I enter my purchasing period. From 01:30 to 02:00 PM, I buy whatever I listed for my office. Usually, I make these purchases by going to the local Office Depot, or online at amazon.com. If I don’t have to buy anything (being on top of my game), I usually take those 30 minutes to read a book, return a call, or check my professional email in case I need to reply someone immediately.
After the purchasing period, I take the next half-hour to talk to the member of my team. Whether it is on the phone or via email, I like to touch base with those helping me out to see if there’s anything we need from each. Throughout a typical week, I have meetings with my administrative assistant, my marketing assistant, my bookkeeper, my business coach, and my graphic designer. I also have meetings with my junior (copywriter), my lawyer, my accountant, and my website designer to maintain that relationship and present a better service to you.
Sales and Marketing
From 02:30 to 03:30 PM, I work on my sales and marketing efforts. These usually are positioning, branding, promoting, or networking efforts to keep my freelance business in the minds of my prospects. Among the many things I can do through this hour, there’s:
- Research for new prospects
- Reach out to new prospects
- Answer questions to position myself as an expert
- Publish new content on my website
- Write newsletters for my information products
- Produce or launch promotional campaigns
- Follow up on qualified leads
- Network on Twitter and LinkedIn to find new prospects
- Optimize my website
- Analyze my data to see what works and what doesn’t.
I delegate most of these tasks now to my marketing assistant. But when he’s overloaded with work, a take an hour to help him out and keep the marketing flow going.
This is another set of tasks that I delegate – this time to my administrative assistant. But when I must do them, is all about keeping everything straight and tight. For me, administrative tasks are about staying on top of whatever’s going on within the company. So, for a half-hour (03:00 – 04:00 PM) I send out memos, ask for referrals, and reply to all correspondence – in print and online.
Out of all the routine tasks, these are the ones you should delegate as quick as possible. In fact, the first two people you should make a part of your team are your bookkeeper and your accountant. They will lift a gigantic weight off your shoulders. Because they will help you with bookkeeping (duh!), accounting (double duh!), budgeting, recordkeeping, and proper banking.
Again, you can take of this yourself. But investing in financial assistance (when you can afford it) is the best thing you can do at the early stages of your freelance run.
And finally, we’re at the end of the road!
Now, when I talk about management, I refer mostly to time management. For the last half-hour of work, I take the time to put down what exactly I will be doing throughout the day. I divide my tasks into five groups:
- Take care of business
- Personal activities
- Routine tasks
By doing this, I need not worry about what I’m going to do tomorrow when I wake up – I have it all set up ahead of time.
And once that’s finished, I can close the office and enjoy my evening.
Designed to Succeed
Of course, not everyone is cut out to run a freelance home business. There are a certain skill set and character traits you need to develop to advance and succeed beyond your industry knowledge or natural talents.
Freelance home business owners need to be leaders because you will need to recruit people at some point. And you need to guide them into understanding and following your vision, so you can work cohesively.
You also need to be flexible. Because life and the world throw many curveballs at you, and you need to know how to knock them out of the park (yay for baseball analogies!). That’s why I believe it’s better for you to take care of business in the morning rather than in the afternoon. Fewer times you will be distracted by events in the morning – thus providing you with better chances to focus fully on making money.
And you need to be a bit of a rebel – to question the norm. Because if you are a freelancer, then you are a consultant (YES, you are!). Which means your job is to help your clients do something bigger, faster, or better. And to make that happen, you need the knowledge; but you also need the attitude to not conform with how things are done, and (most of the time) find a new way to make your client’s life better.
That’s the secret to success as a freelancer.
Home Field Advantage
I’m sure you understand that working from home is more advantageous to you than renting an office. Otherwise, I’m sure you wouldn’t be doing it.
But maybe you’re not 100% clear on why you have an edge by working from home. So, allow me to list some of the benefits you get from being a freelance home-business owner:
- No commuting: I guess this is obvious, but maybe you don’t realize how much stress you are avoiding by not being surrounding by honking horns every morning. Believe you me, this is all I need to make the switch from office to home.
- Fewer bills to pay: By using your home as a base of operations, you’re cutting down on extra costs – like rent, power, gas, and water expenses for your office. Which would make those profit margins at the end of month bigger (and better) for you.
- Becoming more dependable: NO, I don’t want to answer every single phone call throughout the day. You should respect your work time and make those around you respect it as well. BUT, in the case of a true emergency, depending on the circumstances, you could act quicker and solve a problem more efficiently by having access to your home resources immediately.
- A better parent and spouse: Think of all the time you save by working at home. Now, implement that time into learning more about your kids. Or spending more time with your husband or wife. Your quality of life would improve almost immediately. Which leads me to…
- A better version of you: With more time on your hands, you can start achieving personal goals – becoming fitter, learning a new craft, or adopting a new habit. Whatever makes you be more comfortable with yourself… now you’ll have the time to pursue it.
Am I leaving a reason why it’s better to work at home over renting an office? Leave a comment letting me know – or you can give your POVs on working as a freelance home-based business owner.
Almost all freelancers have no clue how to run a business from home when they start. I was one of them. But starting today, you can develop a daily routine that allows you to take care of business, run your operations smoothly, and have the time to enjoy yourself and your loved ones.