Unlock Freelance Success Now by Making Time for Marketing

Making time for marketing, and better managing your time in general, will help you build a stable, successful freelance business. Here are 5 time management tips and 3 time management techniques to try.

If you’re like most freelancers, then it’s really hard for you to make time for marketing. This is the #1 challenge of freelancers, according to How Freelancers Market Their Services: 2023 Survey Results Report.

But if you want to avoid feast or famine syndrome—having too much or too little freelance work—and build a stable, successful business, you must make time for marketing.

Because being smart and talented isn’t enough to get the high-paying freelance clients you deserve.

If you don’t market your freelance business—and do good marketing—you’ll struggle to succeed.

If you’re a new freelancer, then doing good marketing will make it much easier to launch and build your freelance business.

Even if you’ve got lots of great clients and lots of projects with those clients, you need to be marketing your freelance business. Because freelancers lose clients—often without doing anything wrong—and projects end.

Waiting until you need freelance work to look for it—like many freelancers do—means you’ll probably end up taking low-paying freelance work for clients you don’t really want to work with.

And if you’re desperate for freelance work, clients and colleagues will sense this. Clients won’t want to work with you and colleagues won’t want to refer work to you.

Good Marketing Helps You Make an Awesome First Impression

Also, if your marketing doesn’t make an awesome first impression, clients will move on to other freelancers on their list. And colleagues won’t refer work to you.

You have less than 7 seconds to make an awesome first impression:

  • 3 seconds to impress people with your LinkedIn profile (LinkedIn guru Melanie Dodaro)
  • About 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for people to decide whether they like your website and will stay or leave (research study published in Behavior & Information Technology)
  • 6 seconds for someone to see the area of a website that most influences their first impression (research study published in Behavior & Information Technology)

Why Freelancers Don’t Make Time for Marketing

Maybe you’re overwhelmed by the idea of marketing and don’t know where to start. Or what you’ve tried hasn’t worked. You can learn how to market your freelance business, using a proven, step-by-step process.

Here’s how. Start with these free Mighty Marketer resources:

10 steps to getting the freelance clients you deserve, a concise, step-by-step guide to getting steady, high-paying clients in good times and in bad

The Ultimate Guide to the Freelance Success You Deserve, a detailed guide for getting steady, high-paying freelance clients with links to more content on each step and free tools like a LinkedIn profile checklist and website templates.

But if you’re procrastinating about marketing because you don’t like or hate doing it, you need to change your attitude.

Whatever the reason for doing little or no marketing, better time management will help you make time for marketing.

5 Tips to Manage Your Time Better

“Time management is the strategy of planning out your available time and controlling the amount of time you spend on specific tasks in order to work more efficiently,” says FreshBooks in The Importance of Time Management: Tips for Boosting Your Productivity.

Not only will better time management help you make time for marketing, but it will also help you do your freelance work more efficiently. And you’ll have less stress. There are many ways to manage your time. 

1. Plan Your Time

If you plan how you’ll use your time, then it will be much easier to make time for marketing. Create a daily schedule or to do list at the end of each workday or first thing in the morning.

Knowing when you’re at your best will help you plan and manage your time.

“Save your most important and challenging tasks for when your productivity is highest. Schedule simpler or smaller tasks for times when you’re less alert,” says the Lucid Content Team in 10 tips for mastering time management at work.

Plan to do hard work, like most marketing, when you’re at your best.

How well we do something depends on the time of day, says Daniel H. Pink, the bestselling author  of “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” and other books.


The difference between our best and worst part of the day can be huge. And at certain times of day, we’re better at some things than others.

Choose the time of day that’s right for you and working on your goals will be easier. And you’ll get more done!

The Peak, the Trough, and the Rebound

Research shows that the day has “three acts”: a peak, a trough, and a rebound. The three acts occur in that order for most of us (except for night owls, who tend to rebound, trough, and peak).

The peak is when we focus best. Morning is the peak for most of us, and late morning (around noon) is when we’re really at our best. “That makes the peak the best time to tackle work that requires heads-down attention and analysis,” says Pink.

In the afternoon, energy and alertness drop. That’s the trough. It’s harder to focus during the trough. “The afternoon trough is the Bermuda Triangle of our days—the place where our effectiveness and good intentions disappear,” says Pink. He suggests doing more mindless work during the trough, like administrative work.

The rebound comes in late afternoon and early evening. We’re more creative during the rebound.

2. Prioritize Your Work

Evaluate all of your work, both billable work for clients and administrative work like marketing your freelance business. Determine which tasks are the most important and make those your priority.

Focus on important tasks, rather than what seems urgent. “Important responsibilities support the achievement of your goals, whereas urgent responsibilities require immediate attention and are associated with the achievement of someone else’s goals,” says the Lucid Content Team.

“We tend to let the urgent dominate when we should really focus on activities that support our business goals,” says the Lucid Content Team. Marketing is the biggest activity or task that will help you build a stable, successful freelance business. It’s very important.

3. Minimize Distractions

“Distractions are one of the biggest productivity killers,” says Freshbooks in The Importance of Time Management: Tips for Boosting Your Productivity. For freelancers, distractions include social media sites, web browsing, text messages, notifications, email, and family members and pets.

Check your email regularly but at specific times. Turn it, and other notifications, off when you’re working on tasks that are important and urgent and important but not urgent.

Shut your door to limit interruptions from family members or pets. Let family members know when they can and can’t interrupt you. For example, if you have a virtual meeting with clients or are working on a tight deadline, put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door.  You can also note the time you will be free.

“Take baby steps. Identify your top two distractions and focus on conquering those for two weeks,” says LucidChart.

 4. Don’t Multitask

Multitasking reduces your efficiency and productivity because it takes your brain time to switch from one task to another.  “The best way to manage your time is to focus on a single task at a time and give it your full attention while you’re working on it, to avoid mistakes,” says Freshbooks.

Minimizing distractions will help you avoid multitasking.

5. Take Breaks and Reward Yourself

Taking short breaks can help you be more productive and as Lucidchart says, “recharge.” Go for a 10-minute walk. Do some yoga or meditation.

Here are The Absolute Best Yoga Poses to Practice After Sitting All Day, form Yoga Journal. But you don’t need to wait until the end of the day to do these. Try a few of these poses during each break. I do a brief morning yoga practice and do a few more poses during the day when I take breaks.

Also, reward yourself. “Rewards can be a great motivator for good time management,” says Freshbooks. “Rewards keep you motivated on the job and can help you achieve a better work-life balance.”

When you finish updating your LinkedIn profile, for example, or a project for a client, take a short break to do something you enjoy. When you get through your to do list every day for a week,  treat yourself to desert or a drink, or buy something you’ve been wanting for a while. The reward can be anything that makes you happy.

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3 Time Management Techniques to Try

Prioritize Your Work Based on Importance and Urgency

The Eisenhower matrix is one way of prioritizing your work based on importance and urgency. The matrix has four parts:

Important and urgent:

These tasks are both important and urgent. Do them first.

Important and urgent tasks, like marketing your freelance business, help you achieve your goals.

But they may not have immediate results. “This makes it easy to neglect them in the short term for more urgent activities,” says LucidChart in How to overcome procrastination with the Eisenhower matrix.

Don’t neglect marketing and other important and urgent tasks. And please don’t let your marketing go until it becomes urgent. If you do, then marketing your freelance business will be much harder.

 Important but not urgent:

Spend most of your time doing important but not urgent tasks. You don’t need to work on these tasks now, but you do need to work on them soon if you want to achieve your goals.

“To avoid procrastination, decide when you will tackle each task. Set clear deadlines and build these activities into your schedule,” says LucidChart.

 Urgent but not important:

Minimize urgent but not important tasks. They won’t help you build a stable, successful freelance business.

Urgent but not important tasks usually come from other people. For example, a colleague may ask you to review their LinkedIn profile today because they are going to a conference tomorrow or a professional association you volunteer for may ask you to do something within a few days. While you should definitely try to help colleagues and do volunteer work, their deadlines are not your deadlines. Offer to help but give them a timeline that works for you.

Not urgent and not important:

Tasks that are not urgent and not important are your lowest priority. Do these later or eliminate them from your To Do list.

Learn more about the Eisenhower matrix

How to overcome procrastination with the Eisenhower matrix.

25 Minutes of Work, 5 Minutes Off

Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. The Pomodoro technique helps you focus on one task. Benefits of using the Pomodoro technique include:

  • Managing distractions
  • Controlling your time
  • Maintaining your motivation.

For every 25 minutes of intense concentration, you should take 5 minutes off to do nothing at all. To use the Pomodoro technique:

  • Get a timer or use an app such as Pomofocus.
  • Create your to-do list.
  • Set your timer for 25 minutes, and focus on one task until the timer rings.
  • When the timer rings, mark what you completed.
  • Take a five-minute break.
  • After four pomodoros, take a 15-30-minute break.

Learn more about the Pomodoro technique

LucidChart, 5 Reasons to Use the Pomodoro Technique at Work 
todolist, The Pomodoro Technique 
Free app from Pomofocus


Timeboxing is similar to then Pompodoro technique but it’s more flexible because you set the amount of time for a task. You choose a fixed (but realistic) timeline for the task. Depending on the amount of work involved, the time may be minutes, hours, days, or even weeks.

The timeline includes a deadline for completing the task. Having deadlines motivates people to get things done. And as freelancers, we’re used to meeting deadlines for client work.

“Timeboxing can help you schedule your day to maximize your productivity and knock items off your to-do list in the most efficient way possible,” says Lucidchart. To use timeboxing:

  1. Set your timebox with an estimate of the time you need for each task
  2. Set a timer so you know when it’s time to move on to the next task
  3. Take a break after completing the timebox
  4. Review your progress after each task or at the end of each day.

Learn more about timeboxing

LucidChart, A guide to timeboxing

Now That You’ll Be Making Time for Marketing  . . .

Now you know how to better manage your time so you can make time for marketing and do more freelance work.  Learn more about marketing through:

10 Steps to Your Freelance Success: The Ultimate Guide, a detailed guide for getting steady, high-paying freelance clients with links to more content on each step and free tools like a LinkedIn profile checklist and website templates.

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Learn More About Making Time for Marketing

Mighty Marketer Content


10 Steps to Your Freelance Success: The Ultimate Guide,

Blog posts

How Freelancers Market Their Services: 2023 Survey Results Report

7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Start Getting the Clients You Deserve

Other Content

LucidChart, 10 tips for mastering time management at work

FreshBooks, The Importance of Time Management: Tips for Boosting Your Productivity

Daniel Pink, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

LucidChart, How to overcome procrastination with the Eisenhower matrix

LucidChart, 5 Reasons to Use the Pomodoro Technique at Work

todolist, The Pomodoro Technique

LucidChart, A guide to timeboxing