Spring is finally here! Once the flowers bloom and the snow melts, occasional cleaners can get the urge to declutter and bring life into their homes. After all, nothing feels quite as satisfying as working in a cozy nook with an impressive work-from-home setup.
Besides your physical workspace, an organized digital workspace is equally important as getting rid of the clutter. You’ll want to get rid of old files, set up automated systems to avoid repetitive tasks, and update your clients’ contact information so business runs smoothly in the next 12 months.
Wondering how to jumpstart your spring cleaning? In this guide, we’ll share the best practices we’ve uncovered to achieve a clean workspace for freelancers.
1. Get Rid of the Clutter
The first step is to organize your physical workspace.
Put your gadgets, files, phones—and everything else in your work area in one corner. Next, wipe off all the dust from the surfaces, polish your tables, and clean your furniture.
Even if most of your files are digital, clutter may still pile up in the form of paper, pens, and notes. As such, it’s also important to get rid of piles of paper that you no longer need. You can also place a document tray file or stand file box to organize the documents you’ll keep.
Having a clean home office can make you more productive. In the long run, it can also protect you from breathing in viruses lurking in the air.
A good tip to prevent clutter is to scan documents. Digitize physical files, utilize email billing—and keep important files in the cloud for easy access. Instead of printing and signing contracts, consider opting for digital signature services so important files stay online.
2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Computer Files
Documents will gradually accumulate on your computer when you complete projects and finish tasks.
These may include graphics, documents, layouts, and codes that you’ll no longer need. Think images and drafts for a blog post that has been published or graphics from a past campaign that has been launched.
Spring cleaning is the best time to sort through your computer and delete digital files you’ll never work on again. It’s also a great opportunity to reorganize your files and place them in appropriate folders. You may even find resources and assets for current and future projects.
Best of all, removing unnecessary files will free up space and help you avoid spending more money on cloud storage.
3. Use Apps To Organize Your Finances
Finances and taxes are one of the biggest headaches for every freelancer. As a taxpayer, you’ll need to keep invoices, 1099s, receipts, or equivalent tax forms in a centralized location to avoid complications during tax season. While you may have a system for bookkeeping and tracking invoices, we highly recommend using accounting or tax software once your freelance business starts to scale. Many popular finance tools can offer an overview of your taxes, pending invoices, and paid projects so nothing falls through the cracks. They can also track expenses and profits—so you won’t end up wasting your hard-earned money on unprofitable projects. Here are some top solutions to consider:
Ndiwano Workspace can help you create smart proposals, leverage time management, and send invoices. Users can automate invoices and accept payments via bank transfer, credit card, or PayPal. Because time is money, the tool also lets you track time and generate invoices for projects paid per hour. Ever wished you could create beautiful and interactive proposals? Ndiwano Workspace helps you create stunning, on-brand proposals in just a few clicks. Collect deposits upon signing or automatically create invoices for the deposit.
H&R Block is a popular tax software solution that lets freelancers file taxes and get a maximum refund. The solution supports a variety of federal forms and state forms, allowing you to submit your taxes without the headache. You’ll also be able to organize contracts, freelancing, gig work, and other self-employed income in a single place. If you want assistance from a professional, H&R Blocks lets you get in touch with a tax professional, enrolled agent, or CPA. Users can receive tax advice via on-demand chat and video and screen sharing—so you’re confident that your taxes are done the right way.
Freshbooks is accounting software with invoicing, payments, time tracking, and project management capabilities. To accommodate multiple payment methods for clients, the tool lets you accept payments via AMEX, Apple Pay, VISA, and Mastercard. Plus, you can track invoices, payments, and expenses all year round then save time during the tax season. You can even upload receipts and let the tool automatically capture important details such as the merchant, total, and taxes for faster accounting.
4. Revamp Your Portfolio
An online portfolio is a collection of the best work that you’ll show your clients. As you gain more experience, the featured work in your portfolio must change over time. So why not try revamping your portfolio while spring cleaning? Here are several items you should include when building your portfolio:
- Showcase your best work: Look back at the projects in your portfolio and the projects you’ve accomplished in the past year. From there, create a list of the best work you currently have. This could be published articles for writers, digital illustrations for graphic designers, or web designs for web designers.
- Results of the project: Compelling projects may pique the interest of potential clients—but it’s the results that will seal the deal. Recall the results of each project and include a few stats and metrics so your impact is measurable. You can also add the difficulties you faced in the project and how you overcame them.
- Testimonials: Quotes from satisfied customers show your credibility as a freelance writer. If you’re working with new clients, remember to ask for their testimonials too. Their feedback is invaluable in helping you attract more clients for your business.
5. Evaluate Apps and Tools in Your Tech Stack
There are plenty of awesome tools and apps that you can power up your tech stack. But how often do you use them? Inspect each solution and you may find some apps gathering cobwebs. This means you could be wasting money on tools you no longer use.
Evaluate all the tools and SaaS subscriptions in your tech stack. Go through each one to figure out whether they’re still important to your workflow. In a similar way, look at the apps installed on your phone and tablet and uninstall those that won’t provide you with added value. Done right, you’ll only keep and pay for the tools that matter most for your business.
6. Assess your business goals
A lot can change in one year—and the same is true for your freelance business. You may want to transition to a new niche, gain more clients, or prioritize building your portfolio.
For example, a freelance writer in the tech industry may want to grow their specialty in cryptocurrencies and NFTs instead. And to make this a reality, you’ll have to allot more time to pitch to publications and grow your portfolio at the start of the year.
Take some time to evaluate your objectives and goals as a freelancer. Are your priorities changing? What do you want to achieve this year? What is your target income for the entire year? List down your goals for your business in the next 12 months and create an action plan to make them a reality.
Start Spring Off Right with a Clean Workspace
Spring cleaning your digital and physical workspace can help you focus on what matters most to your business. This includes the tools and solutions you should continue to use, as well as the goals you should focus on in the next few months.
Once you’re done with spring cleaning, head to Ndiwano to keep growing your freelance business. Our platform has thousands of potential clients looking for writers, designers, web developers among many other freelance services. We have millions of gigs and a steady stream of clients that can help your business thrive.