Birthday Reflections on Time Management

August
21
2009

My name is Duane, I’m a freelancer, and today is my birthday…
As with most previous years, I always reflect a little on this day. I examine whether I’m reaching my goals or not, and in the case of “not”, further scrutinize how and why I’m falling short.

It was not long ago that I decided to offer my services as a freelance web designer. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, is that my decision hasn’t translated into simply being a web designer.

It’s far more accurate to say that I’m a freelancer. Being a freelancer, regardless of what industry specialty you’ve chosen, is far more about entrepreneurship (read free-worker instead of free-lancer). Entrepreneurship tends to often become less about the actual service or skill or product you market. Sometimes it becomes far more about the myriad of little things involved in getting those services, skills, and products to market and keeping the mechanics of steady business flow working well. These aren’t billable hours, but rather hours spent that help to pay the bills.

Do you know where your next meal is coming from?

I’ve been working hard at putting the finishing touches on a rather large client project. It’s slated to be complete by month’s end, and things are on track at the moment. My work for my clients is not what concerns me right now and I’m thankful for that. What concerns me is that I’m not sure what the next big thing will be…and I really should.

My belief is that you can never sacrifice your existing clients’ happiness for the sake of what colour the grass might be on the other side. One of my biggest points of pride is responding to client needs promptly, and always consulting with them as honestly as possible, while being sensitive to their perceptions and feelings. All the while I strive to maintain a balance with my private and family life.

Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to dig your well!

Now, that’s all well and good and it even sounds very “healthy”, except, by not budgeting time to actively pursue more clients I tend to keep very tight focus on current projects, but lousy future business flow. Upon completion of a client project, I nearly always experience a lull. It’s nice to have a break I suppose, but the problem is that I don’t really want one. It allows for laziness to creep in, and it’s absolutely awful for cash flow.

As it is, the website for my own business is “in production”. Even if I was to network and woo some potential clients, I don’t have a proper storefront to send them to! I haven’t blogged or tweeted in months, and I’ve been devoting all of my efforts to client needs, and focusing on that “personal life” balance stuff. Unfortunately, in doing so, I’ve neglected my own professional growth.

So this year’s birthday reflections have yielded one very important time management commandment: always budget time for working on your business future while working hard on your business present.

Do you find juggling all the aspects of running your own freelance business difficult?¬† Do you have any tricks that help keep you moving forward that you’d like to share?
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One Response

  1. […] as I did last year, I’ll use my birthday as an opportunity to scrutinize where I’m at in my two to five year plan. This year will be a little different, because now I have a roster of […]

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