Since I work at home doing remote or virtual work for clients as a subcontractor, work load varies. I bill by the hour at this point which seems more fair to me and to my clients. I haven’t thought about flat rates at all. This summer, work has fluctuated from a handful of hours per client to nearly a full time schedule. This is an okay situation for the summer because we’ve been able to do family activities and I’ve managed to do some home projects like get our landscaping project started. And, I took on a volunteer, non-profit project since I had the time. The fact is my work is portable so even if I do go on the road, I can take it with me. I love technology!
I’ve thought about taking on more clients but only if I can provide good service. It’s not about more income, at least not totally. I know from last year’s seasonal work, I’m about to enter a very busy time, with 50 plus billable hours per week. Is it possible to accept more work? Another client? Here’s how I am weighing the options.
Additional work load from a client
Take a look at what is requested. Is it compatible to what is currently done or is it completely different? What kind of communication and approval process will be required? Will there be multiple points of contact? Does autonomy or authority change? These are key components for me. And does the additional work dynamic change or fit with my work style and my skill set? Does it offer new opportunity?
New client work
New clients either come to you or need to be sought out. How much work is that process? Is there expense involved? For example, will new or different software or equipment be required, is travel involved, or specialized training? Who covers the expense? What about security, and what references will be required? Then there’s the work itself. Setting up reporting, and good communication right away is key. Be sure to be clear about who is the main communication contact point and how to get quick responses when there are questions. Under no circumstances should client work be accepted that requires financial outlay or jeopardizes personal finances. EVER.
While it appears that a new client seems more daunting to add, sometimes additional workload from a current client can be just as daunting or even troublesome. The appealing thing about virtually working for someone is there are few dramas and personality conflicts to get embroiled in. Having worked in real world situations where day to day “stuff” took just as much time if not more than the actual work, it’s important to weigh this if it’s problematic.
Quick aside: One of the keys to staying out of any kind of drama is to keep communication professional and just what is necessary. Trust me. As one who has said far too much in e-mail, this I know. Learn from your politicians. Never say anything in e-mail or by text, or for that fact, in your social media, that you wouldn’t want blasted from the front page of any newspaper, or sent to your children or loved ones.
When is it time to add an assistant?
Some of what I do could be subcontracted out by me should the time come when I can’t handle the workload. I’ve structured my hourly rate to allow for just such a circumstance. My thinking is that at some point it could be possible I am not available for whatever reason. It would be nice to continue and retain my clients, and provide them seamless support. Some or all of the parts of the customer service work I do could easily be done by someone working under me and my banner. Perhaps this is the answer to the question then, accept any and all work.
Money motivates, but so does the work itself. For me, work is play, and play is work. I love to work. The bottom line is I like to be busy more than I like to have free time. But, the first thing I need to do is commit this to prayer. He might lead me somewhere else entirely!
“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
Photo: Boomer assists each morning as the day gets started.