Making Time for Growth: Strategies for Freelancers to Prioritise Business Development

Making Time for Growth: Strategies for Freelancers to Prioritise Business Development

Are you a freelancer trying to juggle client work, emails, and business development all at once?

You're not alone. It can be hard to find the motivation and energy to focus on growing your business while also delivering high-quality projects on time. But the truth is that if you don't allocate enough time for strategic planning in addition to your daily tasks, it's unlikely that your business will keep up with its goals—let alone achieve them.

That's why busy freelancers like us must have proven strategies for carving out growth-focused time so we can continue pushing our businesses forward without burning out.

In this post, I'll share some of my favourite strategies for making sure I stay organised and productive as a freelancer.

Assessing your current workload

Have you ever felt like you're drowning in work, leaving little time to focus on business development?

If so, it's time to assess your current workload and optimise your working hours. After all, if you don't have the available time, it can be challenging to make time for growth.

To get started, you need to understand how much time you're spending on each project and how much time you have available for business development. One way to do this is by tracking your time using a time management app or spreadsheet. This way, you can see where you're spending most of your time and identify time wasters that are preventing you from pursuing business development opportunities.

Another essential factor to consider is the nature of your work. Do you have a project with a tight deadline or a client that requires more attention? Or, do you have some downtime between projects? Make a list of all these factors and prioritise your work. Remember, if you want to make time for growth, you need to be proactive and make it a priority.

Once you've assessed your current workload, it's time to optimise your working hours. This can mean delegating tasks, outsourcing work, or cutting back on low-value tasks. Automating some of your tasks can also be a time saver, allowing you to utilise your time more efficiently.

If you find that you have some downtime in between projects, make use of this time by working on business development. Use this time to update your branding, work on your portfolio, attend industry events, or work on honing your skills.

Remember, optimising your time requires discipline and focus. It's up to you to set priorities and maximise your productivity. Plan your days carefully, and use tools such as calendars and timers to help you stick to your schedule. With the right mindset and planning, you can make time for growth and take your freelancing career to the next level.

A woman in an office with a busy and cluttered desk is going through documents on her lap.

Photo by Mizuno K:

Prioritising Business Development Activities

As a freelancer or graphic designer, it's essential to be proactive when seeking new clients and expanding your portfolio.

But with so many business development activities out there, it can be overwhelming to know which ones to prioritise. It's essential to identify the ones that align with your business goals.

Here are some practical tips for doing just that, and how to incorporate them into your daily routine.

First and foremost, networking is the foundation of business development. Attend industry conferences and events, join relevant professional organisations, and socialise with other freelancers or graphic designers in your area. This will enable you to establish connections with potential clients and industry leaders and get insights into the latest trends and developments in your niche.

Social media marketing is another key activity to prioritise as a freelancer or graphic designer. Create a consistent and engaging presence on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram to showcase your work and engage with potential clients. Make sure your messaging is consistent and focuses on the unique value proposition that you bring to the table.

Sales efforts such as cold-calling and email campaigns are also ways of reaching out to potential clients. Simple tactics like sending an introductory email or direct message to a prospect can create a long-term relationship with a client, but ensure you don't send messages to people who aren't interested in what you offer. Keep updating your portfolio and other marketing materials, including effective calls to action.

To identify the business development activities that align with your business goals, start by setting specific and measurable goals. Ask yourself: What's your niche? What types of clients do you want to work with? Which business development activities can help you reach these targets?

Scheduling Business Development Time

Scheduling time for business development may sound obvious, but it's worth emphasising how important it is.

By putting it on your calendar and scheduling it like any other task, you're more likely to commit to it and dedicate the time and energy needed to create a strong pipeline of clients. Rather than waiting for suitable opportunities to get new clients, it helps to be proactive in seeking them.

When it comes to scheduling time for business development activities, there are several practical tips you can follow. First and foremost, try to keep your schedule as consistent as possible. Block off specific times of the week or month that will enhance your business growth. Also, make a list of priorities when it comes to business development, so you can focus on the most important activities.

Make a calendar and ensure it has allocated time for business development activities like outreach, marketing, and networking. It's vital to schedule these tasks ahead of time, so you won't be bogged down with work with no time for business development. Create reminders and ensure that you're effectively utilising time according to your schedule.

Finally, when setting aside time for business development activities, consider various factors. These include your workload, industry events, and other priorities such as personal commitments, family, and other responsibilities. Remember to set manageable goals and be realistic in your expectations of what you can achieve, keeping in mind your strengths and areas for improvement.

Photo by Anete Lusina:

Utilising Technology and Automation

As a freelancer, using the right technology can help increase efficiency, and productivity, and ultimately grow your business.

First of all, it's essential to understand the importance of using technology to increase efficiency. There are many benefits to utilising technology in your freelance business, such as streamlining processes, automating tasks, saving time and money, and improving communication and collaboration with clients and peers. By embracing technology, you can create a scalable and sustainable business that can grow and adapt to changes.

Another benefit of leveraging technology is automation. You can automate your invoicing, time tracking, and even social media posting. Automation gives you more time to focus on essential activities like providing excellent customer service or networking. The key is to identify which tasks to automate and establish whether automation will reduce human error, drive savings, and help increase engagement.

Here are some practical tips for using technology to automate tasks and maximise your time:

  • Start with the most repetitive tasks. Identify tasks that you repeat regularly and find processes that help you automate them. For instance, you can use social media management software like Hootsuite, which allows you to schedule posts ahead of time.
  • Invest in the right software tools. Research and compare software subscriptions so you can invest in the most valuable options. Many tools offer a free trial, so you can test them and determine what works best for you.
  • Prioritise your tasks. Use a task management system to stay on top of your workflows, prioritise tasks, and ensure projects are completed on time.
  • Recognise potential automation opportunities. Review your current activities and identify further opportunities where automation can help you save time. For instance, set up automations for email responses or reminders for deadlines.
  • Don't overlook the importance of cybersecurity. To ensure the safety of your work and your client's sensitive data, prioritise cybersecurity. Use trusted security software, practice two-factor authentication, and keep your technology up-to-date. Don't overlook the importance of protecting your business—safeguard it today!

By embracing technology and automation, you can save time, reduce human errors, increase productivity, and focus on your clients and project work. Incorporate technology that fits your needs and goals to ensure continuity and advancement in your business.

Pepper, the programmable humanoid robot, is looking up at the camera.

Staying focused and motivated

Staying focused and motivated is crucial for anyone, especially for freelancers who are in charge of their own time and productivity. With so many distractions, it can be challenging to maintain a consistent and motivated work ethic.

Here are some tips to keep you on track:

  • Accountability. As freelancers or graphic designers, an accountability partner or mentor can help us stay focused on our goals, remind us of what we need to do, and offer guidance when we need it most. They'll keep us on track, challenge us when we veer off course, and celebrate our successes along the way. This person could be a fellow freelancer, industry professional, or business mentor who can help us grow our business and reach our full potential.
  • Focus on your reasons for freelancing. It's essential to remember why you chose to be a freelancer in the first place. Remember the passion that started it all; remind yourself of your mental and emotional strengths and the benefits of the job, such as freedom and flexibility. This will help motivate you to stay focused and engaged.
  • Create a routine. Establishing a routine will help you train your mind to engage in business development activities regularly. Set up specific times of day when you'll work on business development activities and make it a habit. No matter how busy the day seems, prioritising business development in your schedule will lead to more significant opportunities.
  • Break large projects into smaller tasks. If a project seems too daunting to tackle, break it down into smaller tasks. It creates a sense of achievement that boosts spirits, leading to more substantial progress. Doing smaller tasks every day ensures that you're taking steps towards business development.
  • Remember, burnout is common, and rest is essential. Taking breaks restores your energy, increases productivity, and refuels your motivation. Overall, by staying accountable, focusing on your reasons for freelancing, creating a routine, breaking up large projects, and remembering to take breaks, you'll stay motivated and more productive in the pursuit of business development.

In conclusion, prioritising business development activities as a freelancer is crucial to building a thriving and sustainable career. In this post, we've discussed various strategies and practical tips to help you make time for growth, prioritise business development activities, schedule your time, leverage technology and automation, and stay motivated and focused.

I encourage you to take action and put these strategies into practice. Remember to be proactive and intentional in your efforts, as these actions will help you achieve your business goals.

By taking the time to prioritise business development, you can expand your portfolio, build a reliable pipeline of clients, and establish your reputation as a top-notch freelancer or graphic designer.

So, start implementing these strategies and take your freelance career to the next level.