A guide to managing multiple projects as a freelance worker

Juggling numerous clients as a freelance worker can feel overwhelming. Click here to learn how to manage multiple projects with ease.
A guide to managing multiple projects as a freelance worker

Hero image by Ali Yahya

Research shows that freelancers and contractors report themselves to be much happier than permanent employees.

One of the reasons for this is freelancing allows for flexibility, career growth, and, often, better pay. Flexibility can be a huge happiness factor. And we all know the satisfaction that comes with higher income. 

However, while the flexibility that comes with freelancing can be a wellness boon, it can also trigger stress if not managed properly. 

Are you a freelance worker with multiple projects on the go? If so, this is great, as all freelancers want to have a healthy abundance of work on their plate. Further research shows that lots of work and potentially long hours make freelance workers happier and more productive.

Conversely, however, if freelancers feel they have too many conflicting demands — the same study shows this can be a significant stress factor. 

Are you unable to enjoy the flexibility and perks of freelance life because you're stressed out trying to juggle multiple projects? If the answer is yes, don't go anywhere, because this guide outlines everything you need to do to balance those projects like a self-employed boss

Create a schedule

If you freelance from home, you must create a schedule. If you are a new freelance worker it can be tempting to approach each day like a blank slate and simply go with the flow. 

Unfortunately, this is a recipe for mal-managed time and missed deadlines. When you're doing freelance work from home, there are dozens of things that could sabotage your productive hours. Next thing you know, you've cleaned out the garage, spent an hour on Facebook, and entertained your neighbor over the fence for 45 minutes. 

To stop these things from cutting into your time, create an outline for your days. This may look a little different for everyone.

Try to figure out when you do your best work and what is a realistic working schedule for yourself. Once you've determined that, do your best to stick to your schedule. Of course, there will be times when you need to adjust your day. The beauty of freelancing is you can do this if you learn how to manage your time effectively.

Time batch

If you have multiple projects on the go, one of the best freelancing tips for productivity is to time batch.

Studies have shown that it can take up to 23 minutes to regain focus on a task when interrupted. Having to switch from task to task means you're consuming more time than if you batch similar tasks together. 

For example, let's say you do freelance writing for multiple clients. For some of them, you also create social media posts promoting new content. You also work with images and graphic elements. 

In this case, you could consider batching together similar tasks across your clients, such as social media sharing, image sourcing, graphic design work, etc. 

Create mini-milestones

Deadlines. They have a way of creeping up on the best of us. 

One effective way to stay on track and nail your deadlines is to create mini-milestones. It's easy to fall behind on a deadline that's far away. This tactic helps prevent this problem. 

For instance, say you are writing an ebook for a client and it's due in 6 weeks. If you're also doing other freelance writing, it can be tempting to focus on more immediate deadlines like a blog post that's due in a couple of days.

Far off deadlines trick you into thinking there is still lots of time. In reality, you probably need to be working on the project consistently up until the due date. 

By creating mini-milestones you can ensure that you stay on track and maybe even finish pre-deadline. For the ebook example, this might look like writing two chapters per week and then blocking out time in your schedule for completing them. 

If you're wondering how to create and track your milestones, the Moxie has a feature that's perfect for the job. With just a few clicks you can structure deliverables into completable tasks with due dates. 

Set realistic deadlines with clients

Once you find freelance work it can be easy to over-extend yourself trying to impress a new client. 

Instead of setting manageable deadlines for yourself, you might be tempted to promise the client you'll complete the project at the earliest date possible. However, if you can't keep up, this is more likely to result in unhappy clients than satisfied ones. 

Instead, ask the client if they will be happy to receive the project in a timeframe that's realistic for you. You may even want to add some buffer time to account for emergencies.

In many cases, you might find that clients are happy with this. If not, you can still offer to fast track the project for them. 

Use a comprehensive freelancing tool

When you've got multiple projects on your plate, it's important you leverage the right tools. There are a plethora of apps and freelance work websites out there, but we have a better solution for you. 

Here at Moxie, our mission is to provide freelancers with a one-stop solution to all of their freelance project management and admin needs. Instead of jumping between tools, apps, and calendars, Moxie's easy-to-use dashboard allows you to do it all in one place, without having to constantly switch between solutions and platforms. 

Remember that earlier stat about task switching? We don't want you to have to regain focus every time you jump between checking your time tracking tool and creating an invoice. Or between reviewing a project outline and creating a to-do list.

With Moxie, you can do all of this and more while getting a seamless overview of your freelancing business. Some of our features include:

  • Streamlined and semi-automated invoicing
  • Stripe invoice integration for easy, fast, one-click payments from clients
  • Time tracking
  • Project outline creation
  • Project scope creation
  • Contract creation
  • Expense tracking
  • Payment tracking
  • A client portal
  • Client discovery 
  • Access to expert advisors
  • A built-in community function

To give you an idea of how streamlined your workflow and client communications can be with Moxie, let's take a look at its features in a little more detail. 

Optimizing your workflow with Moxie

First off, Moxie allows you to turn conversations into clients through its communication and discovery features. Here you can ask clients about their project by using a customized or pre-built discovery form. This captures what a client is looking to get out of the project.

After this, you can effortlessly create project outlines and proposals through the drag-and-drop builder. The builder guides you through all the necessary steps to creating a proposal with clear deliverables and enforceable terms.

Once a client has approved your proposal, you can turn it into a contract and get it signed within minutes. Take note, good contracts are an essential step for getting paid on time as a freelance worker.

From here, you can continue to manage communications and documents with your client. All of your invoices, scope of work changes, and completed deliverables are in one place for both you and your client to access.

When it comes time to bill for your labors, you can leverage the integration between our time tracking, invoicing, payment tracking, and project management features.

Lastly, if you're stuck on a project or need professional help, you also have easy-access within the platform to a variety of experts, including tax professionals, life coaches, and more. If you just need feedback on an idea, you can also tap into our active community of freelancers. 

Make your time visible to clients through detailed project outlines and invoicing

If worse comes to worst and you do fall behind on a deliverable, the last thing you want is for your client to think you were slacking. In many cases, projects just take longer than expected. 

If this happens, and you have been making your time visible to clients through time tracking and detailed outlines and invoices, they'll be able to see that you weren't being ineffective and that the project just took longer than expected. 

Keep an open line of communication with your clients

If you feel like you are falling behind on a project and won't make a deadline, communicate this with your client. You could say something along the lines of "Hey, this deliverable is taking longer than expected, I'm just giving you a heads up to let you know I might get it to you a couple of days after the deadline."

Letting clients know beforehand that a deliverable might be late is better than them waiting on it and wondering what's going on. 

Don't overlook outsourcing

The freelance community is an awesome one. If you've got more than enough work for yourself or a client asks for something outside your scope, bring some other freelancers along with you and share the wealth.

Are you a freelance worker looking to streamline your projects and client admin?

As a freelance worker, it's essential that your time doesn't get eaten up switching between multiple projects and juggling client communications. 

If you want to streamline your freelancing project management, workflow, and client-related admin, sign up for Moxie today.

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Our team of career freelancers writes about best invoice practices, what makes a great client, and repeats the mantra, "never work without a contract." We're opinionated about the future of work and will always be on the side of freelancers.
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