On Integrating New Clients Into a Full Freelance Workload

I did a bunch of freelance work this weekend for the first time in, like, years.

In general, I try not to work on the weekends—and by “general” I mean “I can’t remember the last time I did”—but I ended up getting a pile of assignments this month and choosing to accept them all even though I knew I’d probably be taking on more work than I could complete in a 40-hour workweek.

This isn’t just because I’m trying to earn money while the earning’s good, though that’s part of it. I got approached by a couple of new clients this month, and I wanted to build relationships with them, so I said yes to the work they were offering (and agreed to start the work right away instead of, like, a month from now).

A long-term client is worth the occasional weekend project, just like a long-term anything you want is worth the extra work.

But your choices limit your choices, so it’s also important to ask yourself if what you’re working towards is worth what you’re giving up.

And in this case I said yes to the trade-off.

I had a request for more posts about mid-career freelancing, and I suspect these kinds of trade-offs are part of it. In my early freelancing days I took any assignment I could get because I needed the cash; now that I can afford to be more choosy, I choose assignments based on where they might take me in the future. Does this gig open me up to a new readership or allow me to establish/expand my areas of expertise? Does it connect me to editors whom I’d like to work with, and so on? Is there value in saying yes right away and getting those relationships started, instead of saying “well, I might have room for you in August…”

So yes, I worked this weekend, and I suspect I’ll do some freelance work over the next two weekends as well.

After that I should be able to move forward with a more balanced schedule — that is, spreading out my assignments instead of trying to do them all at once, since most of these new clients will want occasional work instead of daily/weekly stuff — and the benefits of new professional relationships and readers. ❤️

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