Juggling multiple clients can be exciting, exhausting, and overwhelming all at once. Knowing how to manage your time when you work with more than one client is essential for your success.
Things move fast in the online world, and every day is something new. One day you’ll be onboarding a new client. The next, you’re offboarding another, or you’re working on a major project for two.
Whatever the case is, there needs to be some organization in place when working with multiple clients.
Gone are the days with someone looking over your shoulder, making sure you’re getting the work done.
If you’re in the beginning stages of finding clients or only have one, this is information that will benefit you, and you’ll be SO glad you prepared when the day comes. Because it WILL come and when you least expect it.
Of course, everyone has techniques that work best for them, so pick and choose as you will. But here are a few tips that will help when you’re working with multiple clients!
1. Set Boundaries
I talk about this all the time, but that’s because IT IS SO IMPORTANT.
I usually see this problem the most around newer virtual assistants. And usually, it goes one of two ways.
- They want to impress their clients, so they go the extra mile
- They don’t know how to set boundaries for themselves
Setting boundaries for yourself means a few things, including letting your clients know:
- Your work hours
- What days you’re off
- Your payment policy
- Your late payment policy
- The kind of services you provide vs. the ones you don’t
- You’ll charge more for last-minute work
You get the idea.
There is a very fine line between going the extra mile and working for free, so it’s important to know the difference.
A disclaimer – as you build your portfolio, there will times when you’re working in exchange for a testimonial. This is okay.
Small tasks like writing a blog post, creating Pinterest or Facebook graphics, writing copy for their website – these are all great examples.
An example of what NOT to do for free is to create an entire social media strategy for ALL of the client’s social media platforms.
Instead, you say, “I can create a social media strategy for you, but it will take me some time as I customize it for your needs. Would you like me to give you a quote?”
If the client doesn’t want to pay you for something that takes up a lot of your time, find a new one. There are plenty of potential clients who will pay you for your time. Better yet, other clients will give you smaller tasks to do in exchange for a testimonial.
You are worth more than you think you are! And no one is going to stand up for you but you. So, put your foot down and let the client know what you will and will not do.
Nothing is worse when you work online than getting yourself into a situation where you’re working at all hours of the night because your boss across the world thinks you’ll answer every message at any hour. No ma’am!
Setting boundaries is so essential that I recorded an entire podcast episode about it. You can listen to it here.
2. Work at Your Best Hours
Everyone has a specific time of day they function the best.
You want to work in the morning before the sun comes out? Please do!
The afternoon is your prime time? Sweet!
You’re a night owl who works best until the crack of dawn? Awesome.
The best part of being your own boss is that it doesn’t matter when you work, as long as you get the work done.
This is usually one of the most challenging concepts for newer freelancers to grasp. As an employee, you’ll immediately think, “9-to-5 that’s when I HAVE to work. That’s what I’ve always done!”
Not anymore, baby!
You’re the boss now, and I’ll remind you until I’m blue in the face. As a virtual assistant, you get to choose when you want to work and when you don’t. If you’re going to run errands, go to the store, pick the kids up from school mid-day, you can! No one can tell you that you can’t.
Helloooooo, freedom! One of the major perks of being your boss. Yes, please.
If you have a hard time focusing when you need to, consider techniques like time-blocking or the Pomodoro method. You can also work in sprints at 3-4 hours and then take time off, or you can work mornings and then again in the evening.
Whatever your little heart desires, you can do. The world is your oyster! (That’s the saying, right?)
3. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
I know. You’re like, “Esther. Working whenever I feel like it? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!”
Honestly, it takes some getting used to, but you’ll get there soon enough. Before you do though, learn to prioritize tasks now.
When you start to work with multiple clients, it can get overwhelming fast if you’re unorganized.
If you’re working on several projects or tasks at once, and it seems like everything is due the next day, chances are – it’s not.
Tip – Make a list of what is ACTUALLY due the next day and what you can push off to the following day (or even the following week).
Sometimes when we get overwhelmed, we start to take on random tasks that aren’t that urgent. Feeling like we’re busy sometimes makes us feel productive when it’s the opposite.
When you work remotely, hard deadlines aren’t as common as you think. Not everything needs to be done right away. That’s just the truth.
If your client assigns you something, double-check with them to find out when they need it by so you can determine its urgency and adjust accordingly.
It’s up to you how you want to prioritize. If you want to do it based on tasks, you can. If you want to do it based on clients, you can do that too. Just remember to prioritize tasks based on the importance and urgency.
And! If it gets to the point when you feel like you can’t handle ALL the things. Schedule a call with your client and talk it out. More times than not, your client is pretty chilled out about when the task needs to be done.
They don’t want you to burn out. This isn’t a corporate job or lifestyle anymore.
The reality is that your client will want to work with you and make sure that your workload is manageable. So if your stress levels are through the roof, schedule a call and see what you can prioritize for them and what can be pushed off to later.
Manage your time from the get-go, and life will be SO much easier as you sign on more clients.
And if you’re not there yet, your time will come, my friend! It’ll happen, and it’ll happen fast.
Get organized now and prioritize what is urgent and what isn’t. Your future, booked-out self will thank you later.
This is why I give you all the tools you need to build a strong foundation to get your online career up and running. In my course, 90 Day VA, I give all of my students an entire welcome packet to give their clients and help establish their boundaries from the start.
If you want to learn more about whether virtual assisting is right for you, check out my free masterclass. It will give you more information about what to expect as a virtual assistant, what services you can provide, and so much more.
I hope to see you inside the course!