Life is cyclical; everything comes in and out of fashion, flares, rarrar skirts, beards and moustaches.

As with the good old handle bar moustache, it’s project managements time to shine, I believe that project management is the new black.

Project Management is often thought of as something only large blue chip corporates need, the mention of ‘time management’ or ‘workflow process ‘ are often met with a frown and shake of the head, and the words ‘ oh I’m a freelancer I don’t need to know about project management, my projects just run themselves’

It doesn’t matter how creative, innovative, big, small or experienced you are, if you don’t provide outstanding customer service by delivering your project on time, within budget, and with ease, your creative work will be lost.

Introducing project management processes into your business is smart, it gives you time, confidence, and the ability to take on more work and ultimately become more profitable.

Project management will make a real difference in your business and to your clients. It doesn’t have to be hard, as a single freelancer adding process to your business is easy. It also doesn’t have to include gant charts, fishbone charts and critical path analysis flow diagrams.

Here are the top 5 simple project management tools all freelancers should have.

Dropbox

To manage and share content, to keep your processes and files in order and easily accessible. Set up a file for each client and process you use. Once you build a process or template you can use it over and over which saves you time.

Basecamp

If you’re working with more than one person basecamp is a must, it keeps communications together and allows the client to be part of the process, no more I am sure you didn’t say that at the beginning of the project moments.

Pen and paper

Simple I know, but without taking notes when you speak to your clients how do you know what they want? You never know when inspiration may strike, so keep a note pad with you, this way you’ll never forget.

Office time

I use office time to keep track of different clients time, it is simple and super easy, like using a stopwatch. The timer sits on your desktop and you simply click start when you start working on a client’s job, and stop it at the end, it calculates from your hourly rate the time and money earned. At the end of the project I use the information to add to my invoice.

Skype

This allows you to work with people all over the world but still connect and build a relationship with them. There is something about being able to see people rather than just use the phone. Having a connection with your clients is so important and Skype is an easy way to build this without having to be in the same room.

Of course there are many many more in depth and detailed tools you can use, but if you are new to actually managing your project these are the list of must have’s.

Using simple Project Management tools and processes can make all the difference in your business; it really can be the difference between working for profit or peanuts.

If you don’t have time to manage your quoting, briefing, scheduling, customer service, find someone who can because without it your creative work means nothing.

Happy Project Managing!

Emma Morgan