We all want this year to be our best year yet. Why wouldn’t you want it to be? In order to have your best freelancing year yet, there needs to be a solid infrastructure in place to ensure you can handle the growth and expansion of your business, both mentally and professionally. Many freelancers would like to have hundreds of clients but aren’t equipped with the tools to handle that amount of clients and work. Only you will know what you can handle sanely, but don’t underestimate yourself either. Chances are you can handle more clients than you think you can with the right tools in place and the knowledge in your brain! Use our article as a resource for the best ways to handle growth as a freelancer and truly take your business to the next level in 2014! We know you can do it. #1. A Structured Day Perhaps you have a very open schedule, or maybe you don’t have one at all. It’s ideal to operate off of a schedule to have a more structured and fulfilling day. If the thought of a schedule freaks you out, don’t worry – there is time to schedule the fun stuff as well. Schedule everything from the moment you wake up to the minute you plan to head to sleep. Don’t forget to schedule meals, breaks and any events you may have coming up. In between these, plan out when you want to work on specific projects and for how long. Switch when it’s time and you’ll find the start of your day suddenly isn’t wasted figuring out what to do and when. Plan a week in advance for optimal performance! Schedule your day in a journal or use Google Calendar. It can send reminders beforehand and keep you on track throughout your day. #2. Customer Relationship Software Freelancers tend to have exceptional memories; and often rely on their memory to remember everything and every communication they’ve ever had with a client. Stop the madness! It simply is not possible for one human being to do. Use a CRM that you’re comfortable with to record client emails, take notes on calls and enter projects and prices as they come up. Should there ever be a dispute – it will be helpful to have everything on hand and communications available. Think smart! One of my favorite CRMs is Insightly. It’s free and provides an insane amount of features that can be of use to freelancers. #3. Elimination What’s your best skill? What can you do the fastest? If there are aspects of your work that you don’t prefer to do or find that they take a serious amount of your time – consider eliminating them from your offerings. Only do what makes sense financially and mentally. It’s okay to be an expert freelancer in a specific niche. By doing so you will really get the chance to master your skill and make a name for yourself in the profession. Focusing on a specific niche and eliminating “fluff” factors from your offerings streamlines your work. The faster you can produce high quality content, the more you can handle and in the end – the more money you will be able to make! If you do not want to completely eliminate a service, simply charge a higher price point for it. #4. Smart Finances So you now have all of this money piling up in your PayPal or bank account. Are you spending and tracking it wisely? Keep track of every penny to avoid overspending or spending frivolously. Mint is a free financial site that allows you to hook up bank accounts, credit cards and loan accounts to one central dashboard. As you spend, Mint will track and categorize what you’re spending on and give you a weekly and monthly recap. Set financial goals for yourself and celebrate when you keep them! Best of all – it’s also another free resource for you to utilize as a freelancer. It’s also great for keeping a personal account. #5. Automation Think about every step you take within the process of landing a client. From the way you find prospective clients to the way you pitch them, secure them and get the signed contract. There is a good chance that you can automate part or not all of this process. Use a well rounded app for freelancers that includes creation of proposals and contracts. Having access to professional, unique proposals and having the ability to template them is out of this world. Similarly with contracts – save yourself some time and let clients electronically sign their signature and accept your proposal through a web app. Motiv offers a great plan that’s free for freelancers and provides valuable, unique content that any niche freelancer can benefit from along with an invoicing section that really makes freelancing in general significantly easier in the long run process of getting clients. #6. A Well Trained Brain How well do you concentrate? Think you could use some improvement? Spending time on self-development can help to mentally equip you to handle a larger volume of work and more clients. Playing brain games such as the ones Lumosity offers along with crosswords, puzzles and word searches enhance your brain’s ability to focus, think fast and really tune out distractions. Not to mention, Lumosity has a great iOS app that makes brain training fun. Download and play the simple games they offer daily to train your brain and better react to anything a client or project throws at you! Expanding your freelance business and deciding to take on more clients is a commendable decision! Congratulations on taking the initiative to take your business to the next level this year. With the above tools and knowledge taken into consideration, you can truly accomplish anything you put your mind to. From technical tools such as Motiv to fun tools such as Lumosity and Mint (Yes, budget tracking can be fun when you do a good job!) there’s tools for even the most experienced of freelancers to utilize and benefit from. Images: ”3d illustration of abstract cube wall arrow design concept of freelancer / Shutterstock.com“ __________________________________________________________________________________ Connect with Tweak Your Biz: Would you like to write for Tweak Your Biz? Tweak Your Biz is an international, business advice community and online publication. Today it is read by over 140,000 business people each month (unique visitors, Google Analytics, December, 2013). See our review of 2013 for more information. An outstanding title can increase tweets, Facebook Likes, and visitor traffic by 50% or more. Generate great titles for your articles and blog posts with the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator. Want to get your business featured on Tweak Your Biz? Check out #TYBspotlight.