3 Strategies to Run Your Freelance Business More Efficiently

When you are your own boss, running a business of one, you most likely work out of a home office or coffee shop — like I do.

So it’s imperative to lower your expenses and streamline your business as much as possible. This will give your budding business the boost it needs to grow and blossom into something amazing.

Here are three strategies you can use to make your freelance business run more efficiently.

1. Lower Your Overhead

When you’re starting out as a solopreneur, your business income and expenses are often intertwined with your personal income and expenses.

This means you need to do everything you can to lower both your personal and business overhead if you want your business to have a fighting chance.

The biggest expense you pay out of pocket is for your mortgage and rent. So the first thing you want to do is refinance your mortgage to get the lowest interest rate possible, or negotiate for a lower payment on your rent.

Having a lower housing payment will allow you to invest that extra money into your business, and give you the opportunity to be a more risky with your business ventures.

Next up are the utilities and other monthly bills — like cable, internet, homeowner’s insurance and etc. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to re-evaluate these types of bills to see if you even need them anymore — or if you can find a better deal.

For instance: I recently talked to my internet provider and asked if there’s any way I can lower my bill. Come to find out they could upgrade me to a better service while lowering my bill by $30 a month!

Yes, seriously — all it took was 5 minutes of calling the company and asking. Now I have better internet service, which helps my online business run more efficiently, and I have money in my budget for more important things. Talk about a win-win!

2. Utilize Your Resources

Part of running your own business involves bootstrapping when you can — which essentially means to use the resources you have available to you. This could be in the form of contacts, skills, ideas, equipment, research and etc.

You’ll have to do a little creative maneuvering and think outside of the box. For example; bartering is one of my favorite ways to find the help I need for certain projects. I can offer my tax consulting and financial help, in exchange for web design, branding or any other expert advice.

Most of the time, my contacts and friends are more than willing to help me, help them. So it’s a profitable situation for everyone involved — that’s the true meaning of bootstrapping.

3. Operate with Less Waste

One of my biggest goals for the year is to work smarter not harder. So any client, project or venture that I take on, has to align with that model. If I start wasting time, wasting money or wasting energy, that particular project gets dropped.

There’s no reason why any of us, who are creating virtual businesses, should waste our time working with clients or projects that don’t propel us towards our goals.

This could also mean giving up control on things you either 1) hate doing or 2) don’t have the skillset. This is one of the realizations I came to recently, and have now started collaborating and working with other freelancers who excel in the areas I’m lacking.

When you’re trying to streamline your business, it’s important to not only cut costs, but to operate with less waste so you have more time to work ON your business and not IN it.

What’s one way you’re streamlining your business this year?

About the author: Carrie Smith is the financial artist and editor behind Careful Cents. She helps creative entrepreneurs make a living with their creations, and reach financial freedom through systems and financial organization. She’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Kiplinger Finance and several other business websites. In May 2013 she quit her full-time accounting job to pursue entrepreneurship and blogging. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram @carefulcents.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tony@YouOnlyDoThisOnce February 10, 2013, 8:06 pm

    This is so great. Efficiency is key, and you nailed all of it. Thanks!!

    • Carrie Smith February 11, 2013, 1:39 pm

      Thank you Tony! I’m glad you agree :)

  • Chris Holdheide February 11, 2013, 10:39 am

    That’s great thing about running an online based business is that overhead can be cut down to a bare minimum if you want. Thanks for the great tips Carrie.

  • Diane MarriageInDebt February 11, 2013, 10:56 am

    Love this post with the three major points that can be applied to almost anything in life! I am particularly struck by “any….has to align with that model.” Sometimes we forget the power of saying “no” will actually help everyone involved.

    • Carrie Smith February 11, 2013, 1:39 pm

      Great point Diane. Saying NO is just as important as saying YES and that’s what I’m working on finding a balance of this year. Last year, I went a little crazy and said yes to too much.

  • Budget & the Beach February 11, 2013, 8:49 pm

    I like #3. I’ve been doing that more this year. One thing I’ve always been good at is overhead. It doesn’t take hardly anything at all to run my business. I like that. My accountant, however, is not thrilled. I think another thing I’m trying to do is focus on “big rocks,” meaning stop taking pissy small jobs that pay me peanuts. My time is getting too precious.

    • Carrie Smith February 12, 2013, 9:13 am

      I need to do better at controlling my monthly overhead — which is why I’ve started doing some inventory. It’s crazy how easily business expenses can inflate when you start “investing” in certain things!

      Yes, I definitely agree that you and I both need to stop working these small jobs that pay nothing and suck our time. We’ve got to work smarter! :)

  • Saskia February 18, 2013, 10:09 am

    The second and third points are winners! In the recesses of our all too cluttered minds we know these things, but you have spelled them out so clearly in this article that it’s easy to figure out how to use them. Thanks xx

  • Brian @ Luke1428 February 22, 2013, 7:09 pm

    I think when you said to give up “…control on things you either 1) hate doing or 2) don’t have the skillset” you really hit on something that is tough for many people to do. We think we can do it ourselves “to save money” and many times we get in over our head and waste our time trying to figure it out. I own several rental properties and have learned this concept the hard way :)

    • Carrie Smith February 22, 2013, 9:26 pm

      Same here Brian! When I was making those points, I was talking to myself and it’s something I learned this week. It’s really hard for us business minded peeps to part with money in order to save time or frustration, but it can help dramatically!