Time-Tracking for VAs and Freelancers

VAs lose an average of £4,200 per year because they don't track their time properly. Let us show you how to fix that and put that money in your pocket…
An unhappy woman sits at her desk, head in hands, surrounded by clocks as time leaks from her business.

Time gets away from all of us, but when time is the commodity you sell for a living, that’s a problem. Our research shows that Virtual Assistants and Freelancers under-charge by a whopping £4,200 every year!



You’re Leaking Money

Last night, I made a to-do list of everything I needed to get done today so when I sat down this morning I quickly got started on my highest priority job. 

Nevertheless, I was just 10 minutes into it before I got a WhatsApp message and I needed to quickly look at another project.

It didn’t take long, a few minutes max before I was able to get back to my original task, but it wasn’t long before I was interrupted again and needed to quickly attend to something else.

This happened several times throughout the day; inconsequential interruptions that were quickly dealt with and easily forgotten.

But it took 34 minutes and 50 seconds of my time.

Who pays for this time, and at what point should they pay? Should I be prepared to give away 30 minutes a day? An hour?

Many small businesses simply absorb these interruptions as a cost of doing business without thinking much about it – but I challenge the wisdom of that.

When your business is built around being paid for your time, your time has to be paid for. Revenue leakage is a silent business-killer, and the self-employed are particularly vulnerable to it.

Measuring Time Accurately

We talk to a lot of freelancers and virtual assistants and, when it comes to time-tracking, most fall in to one of three broad categories:

  • Those who use time-tracking software
  • Those who get to the end of the day / week / month and guess
  • Those paid on retainers and just charge their agreed retainer fee

The odds are you are you mostly in one of the categories, with a pinch of the other two as needed.

Regardless of which category you’re in, having an accurate measure of your time can only benefit your business and decision making.

You will end up working more hours, not less, your work/life balance will continually get worse, your stress will increase and your salary will go down.

A Note on Retainers

If you charge your clients by retainer, knowing whether or not they’re profitable is critical (if you’re charging them 10 hours per month but they habitually cost you double that, this is something you need to know).

With client retainers it’s important to set boundaries. Your terms should state clearly what happens if they exceed their hours and you should warn your clients if they look likely to bust their hours this month – before it happens. 

There are two options for client’s exceeding their retainer: charge them for the extra hours, or do the work for free but let them know the value of the free hours they used and that you’ll need to upgrade their retainer if it happens again. 

If you enforce your retainers properly, you’ll either be able to charge your existing clients more or you’ll free up time and be able to take on new clients – either way, you’re being paid what you deserve and you’re protecting your work/life balance.

If you’re going to argue that “I can’t charge client XYZ more, they wouldn’t stand for it”, I would suggest that it’s time to sack them and replace them with a client who respects you.

How to Track Time

Whichever business model you use, it’s essential to know how much time you dedicate to each client as well as how much time you spend on admin, marketing, social media etc and time-tracking software is an obvious solution.

Clockify and Toggl are two great candidates but it’s too easy to forget to start and stop their time-tracking, and so errors are inevitable, pitching you squarely back into the guessing game mentioned above.

This is why we suggest you give Kirmada a try.

  • Kirmada knows exactly which client or project your working on at any moment because all your work takes place in Workspaces.
  • You create Workspaces for each client, for your inbox management, for your marketing, business admin etc., and then every time you work in one a Workspace, Kirmada automatically tracks it and creates timesheets.
  • So when you’re working on a project but get interrupted with a WhatsApp message like I did earlier, you just click on the relevant Workspace, do the work, swap back when done and your timesheets reflect it perfectly and effortlessly.
  • Not only does this make your timesheets 100% accurate, but compartmentalising your work makes increases your focus and productivity.

“I Just wanted to say that with a lot of chopping and changing through my clients last week – lots of unexpected calls and little projects that I moved around a lot, I thought ‘How did I do this without Kirmada?’”
(Michelle Caulton, Virtual Assistant at MyAssistantCan)

Bill Without Embarrassment

The joy of being self-employed is the flexibility it affords you and the unconstrained potential of where you can take your career. But with it comes with the responsibility of running your business efficiently and billing properly.

Far too many people end up working hundreds of hours for free in the mistaken belief that it’s essential if they’re to keep their clients happy. Or that they should have completed their tasks within the allotted time and therefore it’s on them to absorb the cost.

If you think like this, you’re taking the wrong path.

You will end up working more hours, not less, your work/life balance will continually get worse, your stress will increase and your salary will go down. This isn’t why you went into business for yourself.

Instead, make a resolution right now to work more effectively so that your clients are always delighted, charge what you’re worth without embarrassment, and charge for every hour you work.

Kirmada can help you do that.

You can try Kirmada for free by clicking here.

Want to be more productive, work easier and make more revenue? Try Kirmada for free and wonder how you ever worked without it!