When you first become a freelancer you don’t think about all of the responsibilities that you now have to take on. You have to be the marketer, the accountant, and just about anything that is involved in day-to-day business maintenance. It can get very overwhelming and time-consuming. That’s when you need to set up processes for your business so you can spend less time at a screen and more time with your family or out travelling the world.

Now, some of you may wonder what I am talking about when I say “processes.” I simply mean automating the tedious, and time consuming tasks that come with being your own boss. This could include e-mailing, posting to social media, blogging, to even how you process your clients. Having things already set up and ready to go makes things a lot easier and less time consuming. Some examples of things you can do include…

1. Create e-mail templates Some people over-look this and often don’t think about it. Creating e-mail templates can save you a lot of time. It’ll take a little time to make them but in the long run it’ll make things run a little smoother. So, instead of typing out all of your client’s e-mails individually, you can just copy & paste into a template that is simple and to the point. That way you don’t have to worry about missing anything and ensure you’re sending a consistent message to all clients.

2. Invest in a social media scheduling program Social media can be one of the largest pains a business owner can run into. In this day and age, if you aren’t on social media, people most likely have no idea who you are. It’s a really good idea to get involved in social media and to stay up on your posting. It can be hard when you’re working so hard during the day on other things for your business you can forget about posting your next tweet or post on Facebook. It may be a good idea to look into a social media management platform that can help you schedule your posts and stay on top of your brand. Some examples of this would be Hootsuite and Buffer.

3. Creating a solid marketing plan, and following through with it. Most freelancers don’t think about this step. Making a marketing plan is crucial to a business’ success. It helps guide you and your business along it’s journey, so you aren’t stuck saying, “well, what’s next?” Scrambling to figure out your marketing is so time consuming. You wouldn’t have time for anything else. Marketing plans depend on the company and their target market. I’d recommend reading about marketing plans and see what the other people in your industry are doing. Once you have your marketing plan it’s all about following through with what you have planned. This can be the hardest thing because you almost have to create a schedule or a system. I found what helps the most is downloading a to-do list that you can set reminders on your phone as well as what time each task needs to be done by. The one I use on my Android is called SplenDO. It’s free, so check it out! This can be extremely helpful when scheduling your social media posts, if you decide to skip the social media management platforms. It can also keep you on top of your promotions and making sure to promote yourself on a regular basis.

4. Creating a process that can work with all of your clients. Some freelancers like to dive into projects without looking at the details, which, in the long run, could cause bumps in the road along the way. You’re struggling with getting your projects off the ground, you’re struggling getting your payments on time, or your projects just end up being a complete mess. It’s a good idea to outline the process that you need to put all of your clients through to make the project run smoothly. Some of these items including talking with them, getting information from them, getting payment from them, signing a contract, etc. By outlining it, you can then create PDF documents or templates of the questionnaires your clients need to answer, or the contract you’re going to have them sign. So then every time you get a new client, all you have to do is gather the documents, and send them their way for completion. It makes things a lot more smooth and lets the clients know from the jump what to expect while working with you. This can also help weed out the clients who are not quite ready to commit. If someone complains that your process is too complicated, then they aren’t serious about the project. Anyone who is serious about having you work on their project will do what it takes to make sure things are smooth for you as well as themselves, even if it takes a little work on their end.

These are only some examples of things that you can do to make your company run smoothly. Now, some freelancers have other tasks that they have to do that some don’t. It’s all about finding a solution that will help automate the whole process so you don’t have to worry about it. Even if that means investing a little money. I’ve always heard spending money to save time is always worth it, and I’d have to agree. Stop spending all of your days at a screen, it’s time to go see the world, and its time to automate your business.