The following post is an excerpt from my new e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer. The three volumes in the series are designed to be easy-to-use, practical guides to getting your freelance e-Learning career off the ground. Learn more here!
As you’ve probably noticed by now, a significant part of being successful as a freelancer is staying organized. When you’re your own boss, there’s a lot of work to be done just to keep your business going, which can be frustrating—but the good news is that if you develop a few tracking systems and simple habits, you can minimize the time your business tasks require, so you can focus on creating e-Learning materials.
So let’s get into it! From my perspective, here are the four most important things you’ll need to track as a freelance e-Learning Designer.
While it might seem like an obvious idea to keep track of the money you have coming in, the important part about keeping a close eye on your revenue is that you do it regularly. For example, I recommend getting in the habit of tracking each payment as soon as it occurs—because the longer you wait, the more likely you are to have problems later on.
In the case of revenue, tracking it means using software to record each payment you receive. QuickBooks, YNAB (You Need A Budget), Microsoft Excel, and even Google Sheets are all great tools for this. Be sure to test-drive a few options, because a lot of your decision will come down to which tool is easiest for you to use, and which you’re comfortable using on a long-term basis.
In addition to revenue-tracking software, you’ll also want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on the invoices you’re sending to clients. By tracking invoices, you’ll be able to compare the money you’re owed with the money that’s come in. I recommend blocking out a recurring time each week for invoicing. Make sure each invoice includes key information, like the client’s name, the date, a detailed description of your deliverable(s) and your expected payment terms (for example, if you require payment within 30 days, list “net 30” on the invoice).
Again, the hard part of this practice will be making it a habit, so anything you can do to keep yourself disciplined will be beneficial. In the past, I’ve blocked out an hour each Friday on my calendar for tracking revenue, to ensure that I’m setting aside time for it, and making it part of my routine.
[This topic continues in my e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer.]