The Freelance Diaries: The Caffeinated Project Manager

As {section of the|area of the|portion of the} series on earning {additional money}, today’s Money Diaries – actually, today’s Freelance Diaries – is {from the} project manager who left his fulltime job to {are} a freelancer.

Below, you’ll notice:

  • He now makes {three times} what he made at his fulltime job – but he still nets less overall
  • His tactics for managing his clients
  • Weaving lifestyle ({video gaming} from 3:30pm – 6:00pm) with work

Be sure {to join up} at Earn1k {to obtain} specific scripts on {upping your} rates, managing clients, and using psychology against {you to ultimately} keep motivated.

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image of a {sit down elsewhere}

“I’m a freelance project manager. {THAT I} know sounds weird. Project management, {I usually} thought, was {among those} made-up corporate jobs, {similar to} {that certain} guy from Office Space who {handles} people {therefore the} engineers don’t {need to}. You’ve seen it, right? {Needless to say} you have.

In reality, project management {simply} means I {receives a commission} {to ensure} things {have finished}. It’s incredibly valuable to companies {which are} disorganized or run tight deadlines. The hard part is packaging it because it’s {seldom} {regarded as} high-value ({similar to} how {a lot of people} think they {understand how to|learn how to} write well).

The trick {for me personally} is, I never position myself as a freelance project manager when first pitching to {litigant}. I’m usually {induced} {to accomplish} something small, {just like a|such as a} writing project {or perhaps a} PR project. {At some time}, {your client} realizes their organization/communication flow used to suck and I’m {rendering it} better. So {from then on} {I} just {become} a project manager. That’s the classic “sell them what {they need}, {provide them with} what {they want}” technique, {I assume}.

Anyways, here’s my Diary.”

Day 1

6 am: {Awaken}. Yeahhh, freelancing doesn’t always mean {you can} sleep {all day long}. Although sometimes {it can}!

7am: Drive {to} a {restaurant} {to start out} working. {I’ve} {pointed out that} good, work-friendly coffee shops (meaning they don’t have screaming children or broken tables) are rare. {The only person} {around} worth {likely to} costs $5 a cup, and parking there sucks. But it’s {worthwhile}. My time {is essential}, so I {make an effort to} save it {in any manner} {I could}.

8am: I spend {a couple of hours} at the {restaurant} doing some work, following {through to} deadlines, shooting emails. No interruptions or random requests from clients, {that is} nice. {I understand} you’re not {likely to} leave your email open {all day long} (the 4-Hour Workweek people tell me so) but whatever. {I love to} be {attentive to} clients, and {I’ve} {an excellent} process for handling email already.

2pm: My productivity level is dropping off. {I assume} that’s why I {get right up} at 6 to work. Once I hit that “I don’t {feel just like} working anymore” zone, {I} stop and pick {it right back up} {at night}. {THEREFORE I} drive home.

3:30pm – 6pm: Playing video games… nothing to see here. Man, I don’t miss my old job.

12 am: I catch {through to} some work. I’ve {determined} that {I really do} my best creative {just work at} night, and {prefer to} power through stuff (menial work, invoicing, etc.) in the mornings. I’m {a large} believer {to find} out what times you do {your very best} work, then {sticking with} that.

Day 2

8am: I check my messages and {note that} {I’ve} one from my client (I {switch off} my phone {during the night}. Boundaries, {you understand}?). Apparently, he got his laptop stolen. Oh, and he wasn’t backing his stuff up, despite my recommendations {to take action}, so we’ll fall behind {using one} of our projects. Great.

Sometimes, clients {only will} not do {everything you} recommend – {EVEN THOUGH} THEY {TRUST} IT. They just ignore stuff. {You need to} live with that, {I assume}. Sometimes it’s {not only} about telling your clients what {they ought to} do, or lecturing them – it’s also being realistic {in what} {they’ll} do and working around that.

9am: At the {restaurant} again. I work best in 4-hour bursts.

6pm: {Yet}, I’m still here… {therefore i} {go back home} after sending a weekly email update to my clients. They don’t {require} it, {however they} always respond well and {appear to} like knowing what I’m doing. {I assume} it’s {much better than} them wondering what I’m {around}.

Day 3

10 am: Irritating. {I love} my client, but he absolutely doesn’t take {Any moment} to spell check his emails. I get {something similar to} this:

“cn weht time tmr?

Or what si itcan you telme minalkj


WHAT??? I’m {uncertain} {how to proceed} {with this particular}. Usually I {answer} confirm what {I believe} he’s saying. I can’t {think} of {a good} {solution to} say “Hey, {it could} really make me less irritated {at all times|constantly|on a regular basis|continuously} {in the event that you} spell-checked your emails.”

1pm: Write a pitch to {a fresh} prospect. Let’s see if it {computes}. I don’t pitch that often (I’m pretty {pleased with} my current clients) {nevertheless, you} never {know very well what} {would be the} next big thing, {I assume}. I {keep carefully the} door open for {things like} that.

2pm: {I’ve} a tip – always, {continue to keep} track of {everything you} spend your hours on, {even though you} think your client doesn’t {value} {the tiny} details. My client never asked me before, {he then} suddenly calls me and {is similar to} “Hey these 20 hours – {what exactly are} they for?”

It wasn’t {a problem}, {not to mention} I figured it out eventually {but also for} {a couple of seconds} I was like “UHHHH… hm…” Lesson learned.

4pm: Here’s another tip: don’t drink and work.

Day 4

10 am: Spend 2 hours on a conference call with clients. They’re always traveling and {in various} time zones, so finding {time and energy to} chat is difficult. {In addition to the} calls themselves are pretty useless. I’ve realized that sometimes as a freelance project manager, clients just want {you to definitely} {speak to} and explain every little detail of what they’re doing. I’m like their therapist.

1pm: Finished writing a ridiculously long email with detailed notes from our call. Send it off to {the customers}, because they’re horribly unorganized (still). {I could} tell {it can help} them {consider} things more clearly, {plus they} appreciate it {a whole lot}.

These guys {are actually} gushy too. They reply back with {things such as}:

“{Many thanks} SO SO SOOOO much {because of this}.”

“thanks… {you’re} incredibly professional and thoughtful and {I’m} deeply grateful {for the} {effort} and dedication.”

Good. I keep {all of this} stuff {at heart} {as it pertains} {time and energy to} raise my rates.

9pm: My parents, both engineers, don’t really get what {I really do}. I just {inform them} {I really do} business stuff. They always ask me {easily} need money.

I guess it’s nice {to learn} {I’ve} a {back-up}. I’m not {against} {the thought of} {requesting} help {easily} {require it} – I’m {not} that prideful {I assume}.

Day 5

11 am: Some days {I simply} don’t {feel just like} working. {THEREFORE I} won’t today. It’s Friday, {that is} practically Saturday anyways. Ah, freelancing is nice {in the end}.

People always go “wahh lucky” when I {inform them} {things like} this and I’m like hey screw you. I don’t {receives a commission} vacation and sick days, you ass. {Also it} wasn’t just luck (although I admit luck helps).

1pm: {WHEN I} write this, I’m thinking: It’s good {to possess} flexibility. It’s {best for} my motivation. Now, when I {have a} day off, {I} charge {in to the} {following day} with a roar {and obtain} really pumped up about knocking out work tasks. {It had been} {the contrary} when I used to {are} a management consultant at a top-tier firm. I dreaded Monday mornings.

I haven’t done {an in depth} analysis of the numbers, but I estimate that {in the past}, I worked 60 hours {weekly} (I worked {from your home} {at all times|constantly|on a regular basis|continuously}) for 50 weeks = 3000 hours. Let’s take my salary, around 60K, {which makes} my time roughly worth $20/hr.

Now I work fewer hours (about 40), and I charge $60/hr. {Even though} {it might seem}, Wow! $60/hour, that’s like $120,000 {per year}! You’re way richer now! No, because {not even half} {of these} hours are chargeable. Plus, I haven’t {considered} benefits, 401(k) matching and the biggie: paid {medical health insurance}. All things {considered}, I’m still making {significantly less than} before.

Yeah, sorry {to become a} downer. But hey, new businesses {remember to} grow and things {want} positive {up to now}. And I’m increasing my rates {this season}.

Day 6

11 am: It’s Saturday now, which basically means nothing {if you ask me}. {Back again to} the {restaurant}. {Usually|Quite often|More often than not}, I work {seven days} {weekly}.

3pm: That’s {nearly as good} {a period} as any to call it {each day}, {at the very least} for {your client} work.

4pm: {A very important factor} {I love} about {might work} is {I could} spend more {leisure time} on other, “riskier” {businesses}. Right now {somebody} and I {will work} on {a fresh} product together, {therefore i} do {a number of the} market research {home based} {for some|for a couple} hours.

Day 7

1pm: On Sundays, {I love to} {spend time} learning new things. {At this time} I’m watching {an exercise} program on product development. Very interesting stuff.

It’s hard {to obtain} over {the truth that} I’d be paid {to view} this {easily} had {a genuine} job – instead I’m {spending money on} it myself. But {I do believe} in consistently gaining new skills {to be able to} grow.

4pm: Writing a Craigslist post {for a few} help {the customers} {desire to} hire. {Not necessarily} what I was hired {to accomplish}, but if they’re paying, I won’t complain. {Another|Just one more} reason why {I love} charging {per hour} – {way too many} variables in project pricing.

5pm: I invoice one client, {tidy up} my notes, {and obtain} ready for tomorrow.

Well there you {own it}. {Each day} in {the life span} of a freelance project manager.

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