7 Automation Tips For Freelancers To Improve Workflow

These tips will boost productivity and save you time. Using the extra time, you can work on what you really like! 

Freelancing is not just a side hustle anymore. It is a full-grown business where you have to generate leads, provide work, do client management, promote yourself, create proposals, track expenses, and generate invoices and that too all by yourself.

According to this report by Statista, around 59 million people in the US were freelancers. Freelancers have to work day and night without any work-life balance and that's what makes freelancing a pretty difficult job. We all get burned out sometimes as doing multitasking for so long makes people question their existence (Not Really!)

Freelancers, Remote Workers, and Consultants spend most of their time checking excel sheets, mail apps, and chat applications. Managing multiple projects at once makes this task even more difficult. To tackle this, they can automate their tasks and improve workflow.

What and How To Automate?

We all get confused at this stage. I personally used to get into a lot of thinking at this step. Like what should I automate and how should I do it? It all seems intimidating at first but really isn’t. Start this process by doing these tasks:  

  • Make a list of all the tasks 
  • Bifurcate them on the basis of priority
  • Eliminate the tasks in which you are an expert and do it by yourself
  • Choose the remaining boring stuff and automate it

And we are done. You should review this process every month so that you can always come back and decide whether automating certain tasks are hindering you or helping you. 

7  Tips To Automate Your Tasks and Improve Your Workflow

Freelancers should always understand the importance of project management and work accordingly. Here are 7 actionable automation tips for you to improve workflow: 

1. Automate Your Social Media Presence

Managing everyday tasks and promoting yourself while doing them becomes a distressing process. You don’t have to worry about handling your social media presence at all anymore. There are a lot of apps in the market that offers social media posting and scheduling. Some of them also offer rescheduling and repurposing as well. Here is a list of top social media applications that can help you with social media automation: 

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Sprout Social
  • Airtable 
  • Coschedule
  • Feedly 
  • Tailwind
  • Tweetdeck
  • Planable
  • And many more

These were some of the main social media scheduling apps that can help you to post at times while you are asleep and with the help of that you can reach a larger audience. Using these scheduling apps will not only help you to save time but also reduce your distraction. 

2. Automate Your Search For New Jobs and Clients

Finding new business and clients is the heart of freelancing and to be in that business for a long time you need new clients. Everyday. This step becomes a bit tough but can be solved with a little automation. Working on your current project and finding another work while doing it becomes a menace. Here are some of the ways through which you can get new work: 

  1. Google Alerts - Instead of toiling yourself every day for new work, you can set an alert for your work-related field and get to approach new clients before anyone else. For example, if you are a content writer, then you can set an alert for “content writer needed” and similar. This hack will help you to save more time and spend that time doing more work. 
  1. Use Social Selling Tools-  You can use social selling tools that will search for your opportunities in the social space too. Tools like Awario, IFTTT, Reachable, and many more.
  1. Use Job Finder Tools- Use Apps like SolidGigs, Working Nomads, and many more that will deliver the job opportunity to your inbox directly.

3. Automate Your Outreach Activities

If you are consistently creating content, then you might be performing various outreach activities. To manage all those replies and everything will be a tedious and frustrating task to handle. You can outreach your emails with the help of these tools: 

  • Mailchimp
  • Hubspot
  • Moosend
  • GetResponse
  • Convertkit
  • Mailshake
  • And many more.

These tools can be attached with your CRM and the clients’ data can be stored and used for retargeting in the future. You can also manage your clients from there too. These tools would help you in sending recurring emails for follow-ups.

4. Automate Your Appointment Booking

Booking an appointment with the client is a mammoth task. Freelancers often face difficulty in getting their clients on a call or meeting. Synchronizing everyone’s schedule is a headache when the clients are from different time zones and countries. This simple task often takes so much time that sometimes the client gets uninterested. 

You can easily automate this task and cut the fluff by creating a meeting in Google Calendar and inviting your client for the same. You can also use MeetFox, Calendly, and Hubspot Meetings for the same. Using these scheduling tools you can manage your clients and their appointments. Connecting it with a CRM will give you and your client alerts about the upcoming meetings.

5. Automate Task Management

Freelancers are not told what they should do and what they shouldn’t and they don’t like that either. They need their own space and freedom to work and excel in their field. There is no one to motivate remote workers, consultants, and freelancers for achieving the deadline. Due to this factor, having a system becomes more important than ever.

By using task management tools, you can do the following things: 

  • Manage recurring tasks that are to be done daily, monthly, yearly, or at any other time 
  •  You can organize checklist items as subtasks and check the progress of each task
  • Remote workers can take benefit of task contacts that are added besides the task
  • You can track your time through a time log 
  • You can find any particular information by doing an advanced search 
  • You can stay informed about the upcoming deadlines with the help of Calendar View 
  • You can invite other collaborators to your project. This is by far the best feature of SmartTask. You can invite your clients and show them your work and progress. Doing this will instate trust in your client.
  • You can directly do video conferencing from the app itself
  • You get a notification on your phone and desktop every time you update your task

6. Backing Up

Backup is still the most time-consuming manual process that needs to be automated. I still see a lot of unorganized people who use their pen drives or hard disk to store data. This process needs to be replaced with simple online storage like Google Drive

Tip: You can work in Google Sheets, Docs, and other Google apps that will get stored automatically in Google Drive! 

7. Expense Tracking

Freelancers and Consultants often make the mistake of not tracking their expenses. They charge fees on the basis of their skill but forget to add the expenses of the resources used. Also, keeping a track of resources helps them manage their money in a better way. You Need A Budget(YNAB) is a tool that can help you track expenses by keeping all the invoices in one place. You can track the cost and it will get automatically backed up on your CRM. 

8. Automate Client Invoicing

This is the best hack that you will come across. After the work is done, generating invoices and keeping track of them becomes a dreadful task. You can use Freshbooks, Harvest, and Quickbooks to generate invoices and send them to your client directly from the app. This simple automation can save a lot of time and money too. You can send invoices after the task gets completed automatically with the help of these apps. It becomes a lot easier when you connect all of these apps with your CRM.

Bonus Tip - Productivity Tracking

Freelancers don’t keep track of time and always suffer a lot because of this. We tend to postpone things and push deadlines when it's not needed. A simple productivity tracking app like SmartTask can help here. It can keep a track of your time and also present the data into analytics form so that you can track what strategy is working or which strategy consumes your time. 

I hope these freelance tips will help you to automate the process and cut the mundane tasks. These tips will boost productivity and save you time. Using the extra time, you can work on what you really like! 

About The Author

Shyamal is the Founder of SmartTask, an online work management tool that's helping teams be more productive by having clarity on who's doing what by when. Has a penchant for researching and sharing strategies that could benefit a team's productivity.

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