When you make the switch from a regular job to freelance project management is something which you will have to fully start handling yourself.
If you’ve gone freelance, chances are you were building up your freelance business on the side. At a certain point, the freelance income started to outperform your regular job and you realised this was probably better done as your primary job.
(By the way: have you seen our Freelancer Go-To Guidebook?)
That’s the critical turning point. You’ve got good clients. You’ve probably got more than enough work. What you are probably missing is something to organize all the work you’ve been winning. And that’s why these freelance project management tools are an essential part of your freelancing arsenal.
- 1. First things first – are you sending a professionally designed quotation?
- 2. Whether you like it or not – your projects need to be managed
- 3. Are your finances in order?
- 4. As a freelancer, client relationships are critical to your success
- 5. Are you controlling your inbox?
- Have you got any other freelance project management suggestions?
1. First things first – are you sending a professionally designed quotation?
There is something built-in to the human brain which implicitly trusts stuff which looks good. Even if you are an unknown, have no brand reputation and it’s the first time you are making contact with someone, you can make a stunning first-impression just by doing this one thing.
Make sure your design is 100% spot on.
At this point, we’re not talking about your website (although this is something which is very imporant).
One of your first touch points with a prospective client is usually when you send them a quotation. That’s why your quotation should be designed and as professional as it can get. That’s why the first on our freelance project management tools is something to help you with your quotations.
If you don’t have time to design your own quotation, we’ve got your back. Our quotation tool allows you to create a quotation which has been designed by our design team. Besides the ability to add your logo to the design and your preferred accent color, you can also of course add as many items as you need to your quotation.
The end result will look something like this:
Incidentally, if you still haven’t decided what your freelance project management rates should do, you may want to have a look at our Hourly Rate calculator. It helps you adjust your hourly rate based on your expected income and expenses.
2. Whether you like it or not – your projects need to be managed
There’s a bunch of freelancer management software out there. We’re not going to discuss the big boys, you probably know all about them.
We’re going for something different.
As a freelancer, you might think that you can get away without “managing” your projects. Of course, we understand that most freelance project management tools out there many times are more of a hinder than a help.
We know what it means. We’ve been there.
But (because there’s always a but) – we know that projects NEED to be managed. The last thing when you’re starting to pick up good business is to start falling behind on projects, irritating your steady (revenue-generating) clients, lose money and time on delayed projects and all of the nasties which happen when you do not dedicate enough time to managing projects.
When we were starting our own freelance work – we knew we had to manage our projects. But as creatives we were averse to most of the cryptics, hectic freelance project management tools out there.
We’ve recently started working with Wrike.
And you should totally sign up for it here. It’s designed with simplicity in mind. It’s for those who want to spend less time managing and more time gettings done. It’s for those who want to manage without the stress. Just pop your tasks in there and monitor the progress of your projects.
This should be your freelance project management tool of choice.
3. Are your finances in order?
As an employee, the most you need to worry about is whether your salary comes straight into your bank at the end of the month.
As a freelancer, it’s a very different story though. Chances are, if you don’t manage what you owe and what you are due, you might find yourself in a nasty situation. If you don’t have all of this under control, you’re going to have some months where you really might struggle. This is on top of all of the projects you need to handle regardless of whether your finances are healthy or not.
Wave is designed with the freelancer and small business in mind. So you don’t have all of the complexities of accounting software for larger businesses, but at the same time, you know that all of your finances are in order. Wave is another must-have freelancer project management tool.
4. As a freelancer, client relationships are critical to your success
We shouldn’t really be telling you this. Client relationships are critical to your success. You need to make sure you keep your relationships alive. Why?
It is FAR easier to get repeat business from an existing client than acquiring a new client from scratch.
Contactually is a freelance management tool that helps you manage your contacts. It actually prompts you to take action and tracks your progress. By providing context like your previous interactions with your clients, it helps you to personalize your client relationships.
That’s why we believe Contactually is a must-have freelance project management tool.
5. Are you controlling your inbox?
Email has been and will be an essential tool for many years to come. However, it has been used and abused and today we receive hundreds of emails on any typical day. These flood of emails can be a serious drain on a freelancer’s productivity.
Controlling your inbox is something that you should do with priority.
If you want to maintain a healthy freelance project management state of mind, you need to come close to Inbox-zero as much as possible.
Mailstrom allows you to manage your email in bulk, thus allowing you to clean up most of the junk which your email is bound to get filled with over time. Rather than having to change your email address (costly to you as a freelancer – you don’t want to miss any contacts), or deal with the deluge of emails, MailStrom helps you clear your email inbox quickly.
Have you got any other freelance project management suggestions?
We’re always open to new suggestions to help us discover other freelance project management tools and ways to help make the life of a freelancer easier.