If you’re working for yourself, or thinking about doing so when you graduate, you’ll need a strategy to make sure you’re performing well and responding to your client or customer needs.
So, how do you measure your performance when you’re the boss? Here are a few ideas:
- Always ask your clients for feedback after final payment is received, and the job is complete. Their time’s probably in short supply, so make it as easy as possible for them to comment on their experience by giving them a questionnaire.
Hearing about what you’ve done well is encouraging and provides you with material for testimonials. But if you want to boost your performance, it’s helpful to hear suggestions for improvements that could ensure existing clients return, and new customers are thrilled with your service.
- Check your bank balance. If you’re not making money, especially if your service is in high demand, something’s wrong.
Are you working as efficiently as possible? If you don’t know how much time you’re spending on each job, you might be undercharging. Try using a tool like Toggl to track how long each task takes.
- Sometimes your pricing is fine, but your pricing process isn’t capturing all of your costs. Develop a pricing formula and make sure you include the ‘hidden time’ you spend travelling, meeting or consulting with the client, doing admin tasks and any research required.
- If you have a mentor, official or otherwise, talk to them about your business’s performance to date, and ask for some advice about what you’re doing well and what you could improve.
- If you have employees or co-workers, be brave and ask for their perspective on your performance. After all, a happy team is a productive team, so there’s a win in there for everyone.
Even when it’s constructive, receiving negative feedback can be jarring. But if you can learn to view it, and use it as a tool for improvement, you won’t feel bad for long. You may even feel grateful once you see the benefit one small change can deliver.
You may think it’s worthwhile to get along to our Boost Your Professionalism workshop for more tips. Although this workshop is mainly geared around communicating in a professional workplace, the art of effectively learning and practicing professional behaviour will definitely help you in your freelance career.