Many of us choose freelancing to get a better work-life balance. In theory, being your own boss and choosing your own hours should give you more free time. So why do freelancers still get bogged down by all sorts of tasks that aren’t really related to their niche work?
Finding clients, chasing payments, sending monthly invoices and keeping up with bureaucratic things like accounting and reporting can take up enormous amounts of time.
If you’re nearing the point when your freelance work feels unmanageable, it’s time to automate and delegate these repetitive and often mundane tasks ✊
Those repetitive business admin tasks — often entirely unrelated to your core activities — are the best contenders for automation. By setting the following 13 processes on cruise control, you’ll save ample time for more fun things in both business and life.
I’ll show you what can be automated and delegated, and how Xolo can assist you along the way.
A notification about a new work opportunity may sound exciting, or frustrating if it arrives on an über busy day. Low-paid and irrelevant gigs come often, but you may not know if a project’s worth accepting until you investigate.
Automating your new client inquiries accomplishes two things:
A simple automation sequence saves you time on introductions and sharing essential collaboration details, plus helps to deliver a better client experience.
To process new leads on auto-pilot, you can set up the following system 👇
Timezone differences, overlaps and tech asymmetry can make scheduling a single meeting a true drag. Unless you’re charging per hour, endless meetings may also erode your freelance paycheck.
Automating your meeting scheduling is a simple and effective process.
Replace those emails back-and-forths with a simple app for appointment scheduling, like Calendly or YouCanBookMe. Both allow sharing a calendar interface with clients, where they can grab an available time slot according to your schedule.
Prevent “meeting madness” by programming your preferred days and hours in the appointment booking app of your choice. Some freelancers swear by “No meeting Monday!” while others prefer scheduling all clients in the afternoon or evening. Figure out what works best for you and implement it.
Proposals are the first step to securing your next big project, but they can be tedious to create, personalize and get approved — especially when presented to stakeholders.
Prevent discussions from dragging on with a simple process for automating proposal management.
Prepare standard proposal templates for different service lines. You can use an online proposal generator like Prospero or PandaDoc to make sleek, on-brand client proposals in several clicks using a drag & drop library of content. Then you may simply auto-send them to clients and track the review process via notifications.
These proposal management apps also include handy tools for on-the-fly edits, scheduled follow-ups and e-Signing!
Working without a counter-signed work agreement is a huge no-no. If anything goes awry during the project, you’re left with no protection. Therefore, you should always send new clients a work contract and only start delivering services when it's signed.
To automate the freelance contract management process, do the following:
Voilà — no more doc scans and missing attachments.
Maybe you’re tired of getting less information than you need from potential clients. Perhaps the job scope between you and a client isn’t as clear as it should be. If you’re not aligning on expectations, these are signs that you need a better client onboarding process.
Automating the way you onboard a client is the best solution for any freelancer.
Design a standard welcome package for every new client. This can be something as simple as a canned response, paired with a Notion page or Google Doc.
These two documents should include:
Invoicing one client manually is fine. Invoicing ten clients on a rotating schedule is hectic. You must keep in mind multiple client details, payment terms and payment methods. Automate invoicing as soon as your client roster grows to two people.
Pick a compliant invoice generator, ideally with integrated payment processing. This way you kill two birds with one stone: Establishing a simple system for record keeping, and auto-collecting payments.
Xolo Go supplies you with an invoice generator, plus a business bank account, plus a slice of its own legal entity. This means you can invoice clients without having to register a company. You’ll be able to generate VAT-compliant invoices in several currencies, plus get financial analytics on your income and expenses, and benefit from the extra liability protection.
Fast, accurate payments are central to maintaining a good cash flow. To avoid endless chasing and unsavory conversations about late invoices, automate the majority of your payment collection process.
You have several options for billing clients as a freelancer, instead of waiting for them to pay you:
Plus, there are some other good ways to get paid as a freelancer faster and with less friction.
Business expenses are a legitimate way to optimize your tax bill and avoid spending personal cash on miscellaneous operational costs. The downside is that you have to keep the receipts and do an end-of-year tally of your spending for tax reporting purposes.
By automating expense management, you’re doing your future self a favor — not dealing with mixed-up numbers and lost payment proofs ever again.
Build a habit of scanning and uploading all the business receipts to an online app like Divvy or Shoeboxed. These help you capture, categorize and store each business expense for the calendar year and then do your books.
Xolo Go users get to benefit from integrated expense management tools for free. Keep track of all your business expenses via a convenient dashboard. You can even reimburse yourself from your business anytime.
And here’s the best part: avoid paying VAT on business purchases from other European vendors by providing your Xolo Go billing details. Because we provide you with a slice of our company with a legal VAT number, the reverse charge principle applies and you don’t need to pay any VAT.
A freelancer’s income can be quite unpredictable. To navigate these peaks and valleys without feeling bruised, it’s important to automate (and stick to) your business savings.
First and foremost, you should always have separate personal and business bank accounts. If you operate as a registered business entity, this is a legal requirement. When you are a sole trader (unincorporated freelancer), having separate bank accounts saves you a lot of hassle too during tax season. So if you haven’t sorted that already, this is your nudge.
Once you’ve separated your finances, do the following:
Then set up separate “pockets” for your business expenses, taxes and savings for the rainy months. Set up automatic transfers to those at the beginning and end of each month. Not sure how much money you need to put away? Try using Goodbudget or Cleo to figure things out.
Then schedule an automatic salary transfer. I prefer having one on the 15th of each month since most of the client invoices from last month are cleared by that date and I have a good cash flow.
If you have some extra cash sitting in your business bank account at the end of the month, you can either pay yourself a sweet cash bonus or invest the money into securities like stocks, bonds, or index funds.
The average worker spends 2.5 hours per day dealing with emails. That’s…a lot. If you’ve noticed you’re spending too much time sorting through your inbox, it’s time to deploy automation.
Even though you can't automate all of your emails (some genuinely need your attention), you can reduce the number you have to deal with and sort each day.
Consider scheduling a time each day for checking your inbox e.g., once in the morning and once in the evening. Stick to this schedule as best you can for starters.
As a last setup, create canned emails for:
Juggling multiple client projects can become chaotic unless you establish some sort of pattern for stacking those gigs up in your daily, weekly or monthly agenda. If you don’t want to get overworked and miserable, streamline some of your PM tasks immediately.
Project management is the art of stacking and completing different tasks in a productive sequence. In other words, it helps you break down large projects (like delivering a website) into more manageable chunks you can spread across days or weeks.
Your first step is to understand how much time different types of tasks take. This alone can be enlightening. Start tracking your time in the background with an app like Toggl to better understand how much productive work you can reasonably complete in a day or week.
Once you know your daily limits and the average amount of time similar tasks take, you can better organize your daily work calendar. If you want to streamline task management, try different Zapier integrations. For example, you can automatically turn emails into to-do lists, create new tasks based on your calendar, or schedule recurring tasks to your PM app or calendar.
Learn more about mastering the art and science of project management as a freelancer.
Testimonials are a sweet tribute to your awesomeness. And since we humans are social creatures, such social proof has a powerful influence on decision-making. According to a Bright Local study, 46% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations and 35% trust them more than recommendations from social media.
Yet, testimonial collection can be daunting since you have to send multiple emails, then follow up and follow up s’more. Better to automate this, than procrastinate it away.
Build a Wall of Love automatically with an app like Senjio (has a free plan) or Endorsal (starts at €36/month). Each provides tools for automatic testimonial requests and management. Then you can design and publish your wall of love anywhere on the web, using a widget template.
For freelancers, social media is a great way to generate new leads. But those apps are also major time-wasters. You head on Twitter for just a sec, but then come to your senses an hour later while reading a thread about bizarre marine life, am I right?
Automating your social media publishing can dramatically reduce the time you spend on these platforms, and keep your viewers engaged in a consistent manner — both in time and style.
To break the habit of doom-scrolling, streamline your time on socials. Add “watercooler” slots on your calendar when you’re allowed to mindlessly peruse the ‘gram, stalk people on LinkedIn, or tweet over the top of your lungs. But don’t cave into checking social media beyond these hours, as easy as it may be.
To make the most of your designated social hours, use automation platforms like
It’s important to know that you don’t have to be on all social platforms all the time to stay booked and blessed. There are other, often more effective, ways to get freelance clients 😉
When you hit the limits with automation, delegation is the next step. Some freelance tasks require another set of human eyes and hands.
An average freelancer loses around two full days of work per month to handling administration tasks like accounting and reporting.
Delegating tasks to other tools, persons or businesses can help you grow as both a freelancer and as a leader.
Unless you’re a trained accountant, you probably don’t like crunching numbers. Going through your profits and losses can be a painstaking process. There’s always a risk of messing things up.
Hiring an accountant is an investment. A qualified pro can tell you how to manage your money better, where you can optimize taxes and how to best structure different income flows to keep a healthy cash flow.
Plenty of accountants now specialize in working with self-employed folks, and you may consider finding a person or a team you fancy in your area, and reaching out for a quote.
If your business is ready for an accountant, you’re likely doing quite well 🎉(congrats!). Comparing Xolo Go with Xolo Leap may be a good idea for you, as we offer top-notch accounting and reporting services with an affordable monthly fee. Using Xolo Leap would bring you into e-Residency and the formation of your own company, so it’s a bigger step forward for those willing.
Speaking of reporting…
Doing taxes can feel like a classic game of Window’s Minesweeper. Everything is going alright with the numbers, and then Boom! you’ve tripped on some mine. Save yourself the stress of tax prep by farming out tax report submissions.
Depending on where you’re based, you have three options:
No one can sort out your taxes if you didn’t track your income and expenses throughout the year, which is why using an all-in-one and simple platform like Xolo may be the game-changer (and ibuprofen saver you need).
You’re ready for your next big step: registering as a legal entity. Depending on where you choose to start a solo company, the process can be either very straightforward and low-cost, or intricate and expensive.
If you’d rather not deal with the bureaucratic paperwork and confusing requirements, partner up with a company formation service provider. Plenty of providers operate online and get you sorted out in several days.
A professional website serves as a virtual storefront for your freelance services (though social media may also be a viable option for many) 😉
If you’re ready to upgrade from a simple online portfolio to a fancier website, hire a pro for the job.
Low-level tasks like organizing your digital files or ordering supplies waste time and stop you from making more money. When you’re entering a point where the admin aspects of running your freelance business start taking 30%+ of your desk time, consider getting help.
Hire a virtual assistant (VA) to reclaim some of your hours. VAs provide all sorts of administrative services to busy entrepreneurs — from data entry and appointment booking to sales management and marketing support.
Imogen Cook explains in detail how to hire and train a VA in this great episode of the Future is Freelance podcast! I highly recommend it.
If you’ve been freelancing for a while, you already have your system for getting a job done. This generally includes a series of core and secondary steps.
For example, to produce a stack of product images you need to find visual references, find/buy props, do the shooting, edit/retouch pictures, select proofs for the client, do final edits and dispatch the finished work. At least four steps in this process can be done by someone else without impacting the end-product quality.
The key to effective delegation is clear instruction. You need to teach another person to replicate your work process. For that, you should be certain to 👇
Create a stack of training materials for different processes to confidently delegate work to others.
When the business keeps booming, we often forfeit that freelancing is about flexibility and independence.
Being unavoidably busy likely wasn’t the reason you chose this career, right?
Take stock of all your work tasks. If a task doesn't do much for your business, eliminate it. If it's repetitive, automate it. If it's not up to your wheelhouse or can be performed by someone else, delegate it.
Remember that you don’t have to do all things solo to be a Solo. Choose some cool products, like Xolo ✨ and take on some talented people, to create your virtual dream team.
Elena Prokopets writes content for tech-led companies & software development businesses, marketing to them. Her empathy for the customer, expertise in SEO, and knack for storytelling help create content that ranks well and drives industry conversations.
Elena uses Xolo so she can focus on her solo B2B content writing business without stressing over the compliance and admin overhead.
and get the latest updates and expert
business tips straight to your inbox.