Three Simple Tips to Help You Manage Freelance Projects
In an ideal world, all clients would have their act together.
But the real world isn’t ideal most of the time.
- Some clients don’t know what they want.
- Some clients change their minds—often.
- Some clients don’t communicate well.
- Some clients [Fill in the blank—the list goes on.]
Besides doing your craft well, you also have to manage freelance projects to ensure you, and your clients, stay on track.
While you can’t control everything your clients do–or don’t do–you CAN make sure you have your act together. Here are three simple tips to help you guide assignments successfully.
Steps to Keep Freelance Projects on Track
- Get confirmation of all deliverables and determine dependencies BEFORE you start the project and agree to a deadline. Often, projects involve more than just your work. Say I’m writing content for a website. I typically cannot begin until the client (or the client’s web developer) shares the layout of the site and SEO requirements. Communicate that your ability to start or finish your work depends on other project partners pulling their weight. If you have slackers on a project team, you will need additional time to complete your tasks.
- Reserve time on your calendar for the different components you need to tackle. Having a plan will save you headaches and help prevent the onset of panic attacks. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” said a wise man named Benjamin Franklin. Block out periods of time on your calendar for your project tasks. It’s best to overestimate to give yourself some wiggle room. Sometimes, not everything will go as planned.
- Ask for feedback as you go. Presenting your entire body of work at the project deadline can lead to disaster. Just one incorrect element or a misunderstanding can snowball, leaving you to face a giant re-do. Instead, check in with clients regularly to present sections of completed work. As you get feedback and input, fine-tune what you’ve done if required. Then use that knowledge to make sure everything you do from that point onward will be spot on (or very close to it). I’ve found this tip invaluable. By checking in along the course of a project, I can nip small issues in the bud immediately. That’s far more manageable than having to go back and tweak an entire body of work.
Keep Calm – And Manage Freelance Projects Like a Boss.
Most freelancing projects are never completely free of challenges. But with a solid project management approach, you can keep a cool head and successfully steer the work process.
What tips do you have for managing your freelance projects?