I know I’ve mentioned briefly a few of the programs that I use for project management, but I thought I’d go over my whole process with you guys. When freelancing, it’s important that you keep your ducks in a row and there are so many programs out there that aim to help you. Utilize them! I’ll be honest, I’m a design snob. I’ve had the hardest time finding an all inclusive program to use simply because I’m picky when it comes to user interface design and what I’m comfortable using not only for myself, but with my clients as well. With that said, I have yet to find a program that does everything I need to in one, so I’ve resorted to using several different methods. Although it works just fine for me, it is a little more to manage. Here’s the process :
CLIENT INTERACTION To communicate with inquiries, readers, and clients, I heavily utilize gmail and google drive on a daily basis. Because they’re linked, it’s very streamlined to switch off between the two and work consistently. I’ve developed organized folders + colorful labels within gmail to sort through the different types of emails I receive everyday. As soon as I receive an email, it’s either sorted into a folder or labeled in my inbox ( possible clients, clients, blog, personal, etc. ) so I know when I need to respond to things. Further, I utilize google drive when I take on a new client. Each one gets their own document so I can record names, dates, deadlines, contact information, and so much more. Like I said before, having these two applications connected by one google account makes my client management process so easy.
TO DO & TIMELINES I know I’ve heavily praised teux deux before, which is 100% related to the fact that I’m a design snob. It’s such a beautiful program. I’ve been pretty successful in only needing this as my daily to-do list. I record anything and everything I need to do on a given day and schedule ahead when need be. The thing I love about this program, besides how pretty it is, is the focus on one week at a time. I’m the type of person who can easily get stressed by seeing an overview of all that I have to do. If I’m able to stick to one week at a time, things feel a lot more manageable. However, I have found a flaw with my beloved to do list. Recently, I’ve been wanting to share to do lists and deadlines with clients in an easy way, which is something that you cannot do with teux deux. So, google calendar has been on my radar for awhile now. I’ve been testing it out with a few clients and so far so good! I really enjoy that you can link the calendar between your phone / desktop / and google account. Another one I’ve used in the past is wunderlist, which is also something to check out.
FINANCES A little over a year ago, I downloaded iWork’s numbers program, which literally changed my life. Prior to then, I had been pulling my hair trying to find a program that recorded finances in the way that I work. The nice thing about Numbers is that I was able to create my own chart that follows my own process to a tee. Each client has their own super long row that takes every detail into account. I record when they inquire about services, sign the contract, how much their downpayment is, when they pay their downpayment, how much their project is, when the project is finished, how much money has been paid, and a final tally box when the project is completed. Phew … there’s even more than that, but you get the idea. Using nerdy calculations, I know how much money I’ve received for the year, in total, at any given time. I love you numbers.
So those are the programs that make my freelance world go round and round every single day. Without them, I’d be a crazy mess! Like I said before, I still have my eye out for the perfect program, hoping that someday it will exist. Maybe I’ll just have to create it?? One great inclusive program to consider is Basecamp. The only reason I haven’t jumped on board yet is because I’m not the biggest fan of their interface. I know, I’m annoying. They do, however, do a great job of managing projects and clients all at the same time.