Every second counts for freelancers. Unlike with traditional employment, a freelancer’s pay tends to be irregular and subject to the terms and specifications of various different types of projects. It’s therefore vital the freelancer or solo entrepreneur tracks their time precisely, especially when charging clients by the hour.
Recorded time keeping brings a number of benefits to the freelancer and these include the following:
Accurate measurement of time and costs
Most freelancers work from home or in a different location to their clients, making it difficult for the business owner they work with to see the amount of time being spent on their project. Time tracking applications help the freelancer accurately measure the amount of time it takes to complete each stage of the job. The client then receives the freelancer’s reports and timesheets either via a shared app or delivered with an invoice.
This helps the client see where their money is being spent and provides security for the freelancer with accurate records of their hours.
Improved accuracy of future estimates
Tracking time spent on client projects also helps a freelancer better judge the amount of time needed for future projects. When a prospect asks for a quote or proposal, the freelancer can check their existing data and accurately estimate how long a similar project will take to complete and how much it should cost.
This also helps the freelancer manage their schedule and judge the best time to complete a particular project stage without missing a deadline or working late into the evening.
Improved speed and performance
Time is money. It’s a cliché but for freelancers especially, it’s also a fact. The faster a person works, the more money they can make. By keeping an accurate record of how long it takes to do certain tasks and projects, the freelancer can assess where they can improve speed and performance levels.
Speed will naturally increase the more experience a freelancer gains but there’s always room for improvement. Viewing time records will show where too much time is being wasted and where alternative solutions might speed things up.
Discovering and then avoiding particular distraction issues
The age of the internet means distractions are never far away and this is especially the case for freelancers who work online all day and every day. Social media is just a click away and instant messaging applications can be a tempting diversion. Distractions may seem fleeting but over the course of a working day, they can run down the clock more than we might image.
Tracking work time allows a freelancer to judge just how much time was wasted during blips in concentration. While the distraction itself might not be recorded, the excess time it took to complete a project will allow the freelancer to think back on just what took place during that particular hour to delay progress. The particular distractions can then be muted.
Setting goals and achieving them
For new freelancers in particular, setting targets is an important part of making progress on a self-employed career path. Reaching milestones and achieving income goals boosts confidence and allays fears. Tracking work time allows a freelancer to visualize progress in relation to set income goals and to make adjustments as required.
New targets and new strategies can be created after each goal is achieved using data collected from time tracking software and income reports. These can help a freelancer not only make more money but work fewer hours and generally feel happier about their business.
Converting time tracking data into an invoice
When charging by the hour, it’s vital for the freelancer to keep a precise record of how much time has been devoted to a particular project.
There are many time tracking applications available online but few can be seamlessly incorporated into an invoice to send to clients. However, with our Invoice Ninja software, they can.
Using our Tasks and Time Tracking tool, a freelancer can record the time spent on a particular job and convert the data into an invoice with just one click. The time can be recorded via an in-built online stopwatch or entered manually based on a freelancer’s own data.
When work begins, the freelancer simply activates the stopwatch, and then stops it when the task or work session has been completed. The time, to the precise second, is then saved. The stopwatch can be started and stopped as often as needed.
All time and project details are then ready to be converted into an invoice when it’s time to bill the client.
Our online stopwatch helps freelancers invoice faster and makes it clearer as to whether they are getting the best money for their time.
It can mean the difference between a lucrative freelancing career and early burnout.