July 5, 2021

Why freelancers should hold their own Monday meeting

Written by Martin Baxter

Order, order. Is everyone present?

Okay, so we’ll admit, when we first came across the idea of having a meeting with yourself, we found it quite amusing. But then we thought a little deeper. It would be almost unheard of for teams in a workplace or other organisation to plough on with work day in, day out, without ever stopping to take stock and check in with each other. Even in the very depths of the pandemic, weekly team meetings stayed a permanent fixture in most employee’s diaries, albeit moved into a virtual space in most cases. That’s because organisations and managers recognise the value of convening together, sharing priorities, and working to tackle problems.

So why, then, should it be any different for freelancers? As we’re always saying with regards to insurance, even though you’re a one-person business, you’re still a business. Just as with larger teams, you still face competing demands on your time, have to please multiple stakeholders, have routine admin that needs taking care of, and will benefit from stepping back every once in a while to look at the bigger picture of how things are going and where your business is headed.

So in this blog, we take a closer look at what a Monday morning meeting might look like for freelancers. What exactly should be on the agenda? How do you make the best use of this time? Get the good biscuits out – the ones you’re hiding from the kids – and the fancy coffee brewing: here’s the Dinghy guide to having a meeting with yourself.

Look ahead on your Monday meeting

Many freelancers work flexible or part-time hours, so Monday morning might not be the best time, but try to line this meeting up roughly with whenever your work week starts. Perhaps that’s a Friday evening if you like to work weekends. Perhaps it’s a Wednesday afternoon if you work at another job at the start of the week. The trick is to pick a slot and stick to it.

Your first job is to build your plan for the week. Look back to last week’s tasks and see if you’ve left anything hanging that needs dealing with. Then look at what you have in the diary for this week. Take some time to prioritise your work, checking any upcoming deadlines and making sure they’re highlighted on your calendar. You may also want to split bigger projects down into more manageable steps or tasks so you can make sure you know that you are on track.

Check your freelance finances

Use this space for a regular check-in with your finances. On your agenda should be:

  • Invoices – do you need to send any out?
  • Invoices sent – are there any payments overdue that you need to chase?
  • Outgoings – are any payments due to go out this week and do you have the cash in your account to cover them?
  • Expected income – have you updated your projected earnings for the month based on work that has commenced?

Tackling your finances weekly in this way means you’ll always have a good idea of where you stand, and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises that mean you find yourself in the red. It’ll also help you know when you have enough income coming in, or when you might need to do an extra marketing push for new work.

Client management

Have a running list of all of the clients for which you have projects underway. Remember to include:

  • Any regular gigs that recur weekly/monthly.
  • Any active project work.
  • Any work which is in the pipeline – at the pitching or negotiation stage.
  • Any work which has recently completed (keep it on your list until you’ve received full payment).

Go through each client or project and make a note of where the job is up to, and any actions that you need to take to keep it moving – whether that’s checking back in with a quote you’ve provided, or reminding a client to send you a brief or dataset that they promised you. This will give you a clear sense of any blockages that are stopping your work from progressing. It also means you have a horizon view of your workload at all times, so that you can anticipate any particularly busy periods or periods of quiet that you have coming up.

Don’t forget the big picture

At least once a month, you should make time to take a strategic view of your business and your goals. This is a trick that most freelancers are missing out on – they soldier on through the day-to-day without realising that they’ve become a bit aimless. Time for some strategic thinking. What do you want to achieve in the medium-to-long term with your business? What does success look like to you?

It might be:

  • Financial – earning or saving a target amount (e.g. towards a holiday or house deposit).
  • Professional development – working towards a qualification, undertaking a training course or learning a new skill.
  • Security – securing more regular, recurrent work so that you spend less time chasing new jobs.
  • Interest-led – trying to specialise more in your favourite sector, or move into a new area that interests you.
  • Personal – achieving a better work-life balance.
  • Growth – growing your business, perhaps to take on staff, move into premises of your own, etc.

Once you have established what your targets are, you will have a better idea of what you’re working towards, and be able to guide your business accordingly, for example, turning down jobs that aren’t in your preferred area, or planning an increase in your rates.

Coffee break anyone?

Everyone knows that the best meetings are followed up with catching up on office gossip over a hot cup of joe and preferably some baked goods. Team up with fellow freelancers or some other friends who are also working remotely and arrange a coffee break for afterwards. It could be online or you could head out to a local cafe. The perfect way to start your week – priorities and goals set, pastry in hand!

For Dinghy customers, one thing that needn’t be on the agenda is business insurance. That’s because once you’ve got your freelancer business insurance cover with us up and running – a process that takes just seconds – it can just sit there quietly in the background. It’ll protect you and your business at all times, without you having to do a thing. You’ll just pay a monthly rate, with no hidden charges or admin fees, and in return, we’ll protect you from any legal claims under your chosen cover. You’ll also get access to Freelancer Assist – our unique service that supports you when things aren’t going so smoothly, such as when a client is ignoring your invoices. So even when you’re the only one present at your team meeting, you know you’re not alone.

About Martin Baxter

Read more blog posts by Martin Baxter


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