As a freelancer in creative video production, your reputation is everything to you. Without it, your business would certainly fail. Luckily, your reputation is generally built on two things that are already within your control, the quality of work that you produce, and your ability to meet deadlines. If you have ever struggled with the latter component, then this post is for you. Here are five tips for achieving a tight turn around on your video production projects.
1. Stay Focused on The Deadline
The first step in making sure you meet your client’s deadlines is to simply care about your performance in completing work under deadline. Once your deadline is a priority, you will be more likely to make a serious effort to meet them. To make sure you meet your deadlines, consider missing one a cardinal sin. After you have established this habit, the rest is just a matter of logistics.
2. Keep a Running List of Projects & Deadlines
One way to make sure you never miss a stated project end date is to keep a list or spreadsheet of all your current projects, their status to date, and their expected deadline. Depending on your organization skills, you can even color coordinate this list to show what stage of development each project is currently in. Alternatively, this could be an online list or spreadsheet, or just a list on paper. The tool you use does not matter, so long as you are keeping track.
3. Communicate Clearly
One reason many freelancers lapse on their deadlines is that they do not communicate their expectations clearly with the client. When the deadline is fuzzy, you will have a much harder time reaching it. Instead, be clear in setting your deadline and explaining your process. If the client fails to mention a deadline, do not forget to ask for one.
4. Give Yourself a Cushion
Yet another way to make sure you are completing and submitting your work on time is to build in a cushion. Essentially this means you give yourself a deadline that is a few days earlier than the one the client stated. This way, should anything go awry, you still have a few days to tie up loose ends. To do this, break your project down into smaller pieces, and estimate how long each piece will take, giving yourself about 15% more time than you think it will realistically take. This way, you can accommodate any delays, or finish early to the delight of your clients.
5. Have a Clear Outcome
Lastly, you and your client should agree on what exactly the end deliverable will be. This way there are no disagreements about what you are supposed to have accomplished when. When you turn in a project the client did not ask for, you will have to go back and do extra work to correct the mistake, necessitating more time spent on the project.