Working for a few different clients at once can be great – it’s a sign that your small business is successful, or on its way to being successful, is great for your work portfolio, and, perhaps the best thing, it means more money.
However, if you can’t complete all of the extra work, all your hard work getting your business to this stage will be wasted – clients will abandon you if you can’t do the work for them by the deadlines.
It all comes down to organisation. This guide will show you how to stay organised and stay on top of the extra work so you won’t make any clients unhappy by not delivering.
Using a calendar
Using a calendar seems like an obvious way to keep things organised. There are plenty of ways to have a digital calendar these days, such as Google Calendar. Going digital with your calendar usually means you can sync everything between your devices, so if you add something to your calendar on your phone, you can see it on your laptop or tablet too.
It’s worth being a bit old-fashioned too and also have a physical calendar so you can see all of your important deadlines even when you have no internet access or your phone’s battery is dead.
Breaking down your projects
Working out how to structure your work (when you do each bit and how long you expect each part to take) isn’t as simple as working on the project with the closest deadline first. You need to break each project down into separate, smaller parts, and work out how long each part will take to complete.
You can then work out when to do each part based on the length of time to complete, and the importance of each part. Breaking down your projects into distinct phases makes it much easier to work on multiple projects at once.
You might find that you’re doing the same thing for multiple projects and could potentially save time by doing it in bulk.
As you complete more and more projects, you’ll get better at predicting how long projects will take to complete, and so you’ll get better at structuring your work – you’ll also get better at taking on multiple projects at once.
Sometimes you just have to say no. If you’ve gone to all the trouble of planning multiple projects, but then a client suddenly asks for the deadline to be moved closer, what do you do?
The timings could still work out and you still manage to complete projects for each client by the deadlines, but other times changing a deadline for one client will mean you can no longer meet the deadline for another client.
In cases similar to the second example, it’s often best to talk to the client and explain why what they want just isn’t possible, and that it will have a negative impact on the quality of service you provide.
They’ll either be understanding of the situation, or they’ll go to another business. If they go to another business because you can’t meet their unrealistic demands, you’ll probably be better off without them in the long run – you’ll be able to give more focus to your other projects.
If your small business is growing and you’re increasingly having to manage multiple projects, our guide will hopefully have given you some useful tips, and you’ll be on your way to a more well-organised business.
If you would like to read more, Upwork has some more tips.