How to Deal With Multiple Client Projects

Tue, Oct 27, 2009

Skills, Time Management

How to Deal With Multiple Client Projects

You’ve just completed a full-blown marketing campaign last week, and now the results are starting to show. You’ve got 10 clients waiting for you to do some work for them, but you just don’t know how you’ll cope. Well, for one, let me establish first that quite simply, the more effective you are with the time given to you, the more money you’ll make per hour. This means that if you learn how to deal with a good number of clients simultaneously, you’ll have the capacity to make a lot more if requests for your work are great.

Allot time

Let’s begin with the basics. How do you as a freelancer set your deadlines? Do you do what most people do and simply pick a number out of the air? Or do you look and actually schedule in the work for completion, and then give the client a deadline? You need to make sure you actually allot times to work on certain client’s projects, because if you don’t, you could find yourself confused and not know where to begin. What results from this? Delays in the completion of the project, and negative client feedback. What results from this? A lost client for future work, and lost business from negative word-of-mouth.

Deadline Forwarding

OK, so you’ve now figured out when you’re going to work on this project, how long it’s going to take, and you now need to come back to the client with a deadline. Stop. You have the opportunity here which could mean great client satisfaction. Let’s say a client comes to you on a Monday, with a small project, and you reckon that you could complete it by Friday, don’t give the deadline as Friday. It’s better to be safe and reach your deadline than say you’ll do it earlier but fail to deliver. Tell the client that the deadline is the following Monday, but you personally have to aim to hit that Friday deadline. If, however, things fall apart, maybe something has come up that will delay the project, you still have the safety of the weekend to get the project completed on-time to the client’s satisfaction.

Focus and Switch

A technique that I find particularly effective is what I call “Focus and Switch”. It’s a technique that you can use when you’re swamped with work from various different clients and you more or less need to get it all done in a tight deadline. Freelancers tend to get a little stuck in such situations, and start work on a project, and then keep alternating between jobs, giving small amounts of time to each project, but making sure they’re all moving forward. I personally don’t find this technique effective at all, because quite simply, nothing gets done. Instead, you should phase out all other work you have to do, and focus on the project with the earliest deadline. Keep going on that one project until it’s done and out of the way (even if it means way before its deadline) and then move onto the next project with the earliest deadline. Work done your list like that, and you should be productive even when swamped.

Conclusion

So as you can see, there are a lot of small work-flow changes you can make that really make a difference in your freelancing career, and can mean the difference between enjoying or not enjoying your work. If you’ve got everything under control, and on schedule, you’re going to feel good about your work, however if things descend into chaos, and you simply procrastinate and don’t plan anything, and therefore don’t hit your deadlines, you’re not going to enjoy your experience as a freelancer at all.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 42 posts on Freelance Apple.

Taiyab Raja is a web designer and entrepreneur who runs an interesting, captivating freelance blog, designs awesome websites for 6creations.com, and in his spare time owns noobs at Halo.

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11 Responses to “How to Deal With Multiple Client Projects”

  1. Mark Christensen Says:

    Interesting article. Another thing you can do is actually using a freelancer yourself. I did this on a project a few weeks ago. Was fully booked when a client of mine had to do a project really fast and I didn’t really have the time. What I did was say yeah sure, I can do that and then I called a freelancer I knew and had her do the job. This way my client was not disapointed with my eventually NO or late deadline… I didn’t make as much as I would if I did the project myself but I made another freelancer some money and my client happy and coming back for more!

  2. Daisy Says:

    Wow! This came in the nick of time. I’m currently feeling a bit overwhelmed but this article sure helps paint a different picture for me. Thanks!

  3. Annie M Says:

    This is such a key article for freelancers to read. It can be so challenging to keep track of detailed oriented projects, but when those projects are multiplied by several clients, the responsibilities almost go up exponentially. Personally, I used a productivity system to keep organized. It’s called REFRAME, and it rocks: http://reframeproductivity.com.

  4. Sknygrydg07 Says:

    I agree with the ‘focus switching’ comment. I have to work like that, or I get confused and frustrated with juggling different tasks. The only caveat to that is when you have multiple jobs that require a similar task, and it becomes time efficient to do that specific task on all projects at once. For example, I’m a video producer and rendering HD video for DVD or web is a very time consuming, computer crunching process. I’ll set up a ‘batch list’ of several projects to export at the same time so the computer is wrapped up for one fell swoop. Gives me time to do laundry and sleep! :)

  5. Bogdan Pop Says:

    Deadline forwarding… Doesn’t everybody do that?

  6. Chuck Spidell Says:

    I’m a big proponent of deadline forwarding. Clients are always happy when a project is delivered a few days early. Always put in padding, whether you need it or not.


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