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I am currently working for a client i like and i would like to maintain, but at the same time, being a freelancer, i would like to work for other clients in order to have a more diverse professional growth.

I am a programmer and i am trying to stick to working hours which leave space for a personal life, at least on the contracts. This means 7 net hours per day, times 5 days per week. If i would have to divide this among two clients, leaving one day per week for learning, networking and other work-related activities, the hours per week would be:

  • 14 hours first client
  • 14 hours second client
  • 7 hours for other work related activities

If seven hours per day seems too few to you, consider that those are 7 logged hours, excluding everything but work, even picking calls or going to the toilet. In my experience and in the experience of some colleagues of mine, collecting up to even 7 net hours every day is not very common.

So, the problem is that 14 hours per week seem too few to me and i am afraid that i would not be able to be helpful for my clients, but if i go above this it becomes hard to have more than one client.

Do you think that is it possible to work professionally also with such an amount of hours per week? Does everyone change client every few months, or is there a way to actually divide week hours among different clients without giving up on your personal life? I saw at least one designer popping in and out from a company just some days, so i guess that someone manages to split the time effectively

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Is it possible? Yes, I've done that - work for multiple clients at the same time - for most of my time as a freelancer.

How is it possible? For most clients (at least in my case) some weeks there's a lot of work (say building a new feature), some weeks there's little (them testing that feature, and responding to questions). That's part of the skill-set of a freelancer, balancing client needs when those clients don't even know about each other.

It's also about balancing your time, knowing when there will be a lull in one project, and making sure things are lined up to start a 'when you have the time' request from another client. But that means you'll need to be flexible yourself. Those target hours may be a good guideline, but you'll need to be willing to work a long few days because a few projects collided (and then perhaps take a few days off the net week).

When is it not possible? If some of your clients do not understand the difference between an employee and a freelancer. I go into that a bit here. Or if the kind of freelancing you're doing doesn't have something similar to the ebb and flow I describe (something where the work load is consistent all the time) then you may have issues being able to only dedicate part of the time. But at that point, it seems like it may not be the right kind of job for a freelancer, it's more of a 'traditional' contractor vs employee concept.

About billing: As I've answered in a few other questions, I've had success simplifying the invoicing process with oDesk (now UpWork). Letting them track the time and invoice the clients weekly means I get to avoid extra time spent on timelogs, and get paid every week.

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    Hey, this is great feedback, thanks! And also the video is great! – danza Sep 11 '15 at 13:55

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