I recently received the following question from Jeri, an aspiring freelancer who had downloaded my freelancer hour tracking spreadsheet.
Question: Why do you feel the need to have a tracking spreadsheet when oDesk’s report system does this for you?
Answer: Here’s the reason for the spreadsheet.
Over time, you start to gain many different clients at different hourly rates. Sure, oDesk keeps track of what you billed (historical data), but at the beginning of each week, you should develop a plan for what you hope to bill (i.e. your game plan for cash flow). This spreadsheet helps you put together a plan by client by hourly rate that helps you hit your financial goals.
As a freelancer, your number one goal should be client satisfaction. Happy clients can lead to financial success, but this is only true if your are aware of your cashflow. By setting a weekly cashflow plan for yourself, you can hold yourself accountable and hit more goals.
For example, let’s say that after creating your weekly plan, your spreadsheet projects a weekly income of $1,000. If your goal is to make $50,000 or so per year, you may be content to simply execute this plan. However, if your goal is to make $100,000 per year, then you’ve got some prospecting to do this week so that you can win more clients.
That’s how I look at the situation. It’s worked for me.