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Breaking down freelancing organizational pitfalls

By Antoine Aubert

Last update on Oct 07, 2022 · 2 min read

Freelancing has many perks, such as being your own boss, working flexible hours, and getting great exposure. Unsurprisingly the global market is poised to rise at a 15% CAGR by 2026 (Orbis Research), with 56% of non-freelancers saying they will likely freelance in the future (Upwork).

However, becoming their own boss also means freelancers must broaden their skills to ensure a sustainable activity. While most have a solid technical background, building efficient task management is another story and relies on optimized request management.

1) Requests come from everywhere

Sometimes you have to deal with multiple stakeholders at the same time. Some only swear by Slack or email or send requests within a shared Notion page, while others stick to WhatsApp.

On the other side, you may not want clients to have access to your own personal task management tools and mess up your workflows. 

These multichannel workflows hurt time management and communication effectiveness. 

As a result of this lack of centralization, many freelancers manually copy and paste requests into a to-do list, task management tool, or calendar. By doing so, they generate a high risk of priority misalignment with the client and missing a relevant request. 

2) Requests come at anytime

Time management is paramount for freelancers to maximize the value of their work and can be easily undermined. 

On average, office workers get interrupted once every 8 minutes, and it takes about 5 minutes to refocus. Considering that 80% of interruptions are unimportant or nonurgent, 3 hours are spent daily on unproductive tasks.

But freelancers also have to deal with their own commercial pipeline and handle requests personally, adding interruptions to interruptions. 

3) Requests lack context

Clients do not necessarily know firsthand the required information to perform a task. As such, freelancers may be forced to ask for clarifications, leading to time-consuming and distracting back-and-forth messages.

While a freelancer is responsible for ensuring the client has all the necessary elements to perform requests quickly and efficiently, very little automation is done in that regard.

That's even more problematic in the case of projects that include sub-dependencies or teamwork, where the impact on all stakeholders' time and throughput is even higher. 

Possible solutions

  • Filter incoming requests depending on relevance, budget, and availability.
  • Ensure you have all the necessary information upfront to start working. This way, you avoid costly back-and-forth messages once you're already executing the task.  
  • Make sure to immediately paste and track all incoming requests to your task management tool, whether from communication channels (e.g., Slack, Email, WhatsApp), personal websites, or freelancing marketplaces.
  • Ensure you keep clients in the loop once a task is complete or when facing a sub-dependency so that you can provide the necessary visibility to all parties and avoid time-consuming and bothersome requests for updates.

Another option is to have all this done cleverly with Isla.

Isla is a hub to seamlessly send and receive structured requests, eliminating the hassle of back-and-forth messages, interruptions, and context-switching while working. 

  • Avoid unwanted external interruptions with centralized requests and daily digests.
  • Reduce the risk of back-and-forth interactions with clients with prestructured incoming requests and comprehensive off-the-shelf templates.
  • Instantly project in efficient production with seamless integrations to your favorite task management tools and calendars.
  • Automate updates on status requests to provide visibility to your clients and ensure the smooth running of workflows.
  • Control access to your task management tools with Isla as a buffer to preserve your work integrity.

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  • Immediately benefit from a 10x improved work request average quality.
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