Of course, these tips can potentially be helpful to any parent, I have decided to list the ones that have been most helpful to me as a single parent of a four year old.

Click here to read my previous blog post 10 tips for freelance single mothers.

  1. Be open with your clients about your working hours
    When I first started freelancing I would hide the fact that I had a small baby and that I was also a single parent. I didn’t want to put off potential clients who might think that I would struggle with deadlines because of this. I wish I had been open with all my clients from day one about my working hours as it has never been a problem. When my daughter was a baby I would schedule all face to face meetings for nap time in the afternoon and walk her to sleep in time for the meeting to start. When she was older I had two clear working days and the rest of my time was 8pm till late every evening, I was surprised how flexible clients were and I would often have evening Skype calls with them. Now my daughter is at school my hours are more in keeping with regular office hours, although I still working in the evenings. I have always appreciated the flexibility my clients have shown me in accepting my need to work unusual hours.
  1. Combine playdates with networking
    Find other freelance parents in your area and arrange to meet up with the kids in tow so they can play while you chat. It’s a great way of making new friends for you and your child and a relaxed way of networking with sympathetic people. I have done this with several friends and we are now acting as mentors for each other’s businesses.
  1. Save admin and invoicing time
    For the first three years of my business I sent out all my invoices by manually creating a new one each time in Word and then adding the details to my excel spreadsheet. I now use Freshbooks, I pay $29.95 dollars a month (I have no affiliation with Freshbooks) to have up to 200 clients listed in my account. It has saved me so much time I wish I had started using it sooner. I use it to create client profiles which I link my invoices to. I have also set it up to send out all automated recurring invoices at the appropriate intervals. I can access profit and loss reports and a variety of other accounting reports. I can keep track on work time tables and invite clients to see how the time on a project is being logged. I can send out estimates and convert these into invoices when approved. As well as saving me a huge amount of time I also get paid more quickly as clients can log into their account, access their invoice and pay online with a card or via paypal. I also love that invoices can be posted out on your behalf by selecting the post option and purchasing a stamp token. On top of all the extra functionality, it looks great as your invoices can be branded with your logo and colour scheme. Because you can also use your account to log all expenses, allocate these expenses to clients or projects and upload receipts I no longer have to take a box of paper receipts round to my accountant, she can now log into my account through the ‘add your accountant’ option and have everything she needs to process my year end accounts.
  1. Whatever your routine is, stick to it.
    Establish a routine, even if your hours are all over the place. This is crucial if you work from home as it is so easy to blur the boundaries of work and home life. For me, whatever chores I do on the cycle back from the school run, my working day starts as soon as I place my coffee cup on my desk at home or on the table in a cafe I have chosen to work in. I turn the timer on for the task I am working on and don’t look at my emails until that task is finished. My daughter knows that although I tend not to work when she is at home, when I am at my desk I am working.
  1. And finally… Turn off notifications on your phone
    This year I had my first holiday away with my daughter without my laptop! I also turned off all email and other work notifications on my phone. It was wonderful, I no longer ran to my phone every time it beeped in case it was a client. I have kept all notifications off since then and check my phone only when I am working and ready to receive work-related emails. As a freelancer it can be hard sometimes to separate work and home time, especially when you work from home! but now when I spend time with my daughter I can concentrate on her and not be constantly distracted by my phone and that is a wonderful thing.

Got any tips of your own? please feel free to share them in the comments section below.