Freelancing is not for the faint of heart. Having to wear multiple hats as a freelancer is painful. Here's how you breeze through it with managing your solo end-to-end business! | Ruchika Abbi

In this article, we'll look at some standard features of freelance project management tools and teach you how to use them together to make your professional life more manageable.

Congratulations! So, you are finally a freelancer! That just means you have to wear, let's count 1,2,3,4,5,...My God! So many hats?

Freelancing is not for the faint of heart.

The flexibility that comes with creating your schedule and choosing your clients has many perks, but it also means managing your own business, from marketing to accounting. When you become a freelancer, you must be prepared to do everything independently. You have to find your clients, write proposals, manage projects, and do everything an in-house project manager does.

It is doable but not easy!

Luckily, there are lots of tools to help you; you just have to know how to use them. In this article, we'll look at some standard features of freelance project management tools and teach you how to use them together to make your professional life more manageable.

Find Projects - Search and Filter Projects with RSS feeds

When I started full-time freelancing, I spent a lot of time looking for freelance work on the internet. When you're just starting freelancing, or if you've been doing it a while but haven't established yourself with regular clients, you must keep browsing freelance sites regularly to find relevant projects, which is time-consuming.
Automating this through RSS feeds can save you a lot of time. The advantage of using RSS feeds is that it makes it easy to view jobs posted on these sites without having to log in or visit them every day. When someone posts a job on one of these sites, their post is automatically added to the feed.
Use RSS by Zapier to automate these projects to come directly to your inbox. Now any relevant projects will find their way to your inbox.
✅ Use RSS By Zapier to capture the new projects on the RSS feed
✅ Use Filter By Zapier to filter relevant content
✅ Send an email to yourself with details and a link to the project.
notion image
Once you've figured out which sites are best for you and your business goals, it's time to set up RSS feeds from them so that relevant jobs get sent straight to your inbox as soon as they post!

Manage Proposals - Create Templates for Proposals

I started freelancing with no-code in 2019, and finding clients took me a while. I had to send in a proposal for every potential project relevant to my skills.
I sent around 40 proposals over a month before I got my first project. It took me time to perfect my proposal skills. Over time I realized that most of my proposals had a pattern. I started keeping a template that helped me create proposals much faster and with better quality. Templates are pre-designed documents that allow you to focus on the unique information for each customer.
Notion is a tool that helps you create content templates. It's flexible, easy to use, and similar to working with Microsoft Word or Google Docs for content creation.
To get started, first create a template for your project type.
For example,
✅  Create a template for building Shopify sites / WordPress Sites.
✅  Next, add sections to your proposal templates based on the information you want to share with the client.
✅  Finally, all you have to do is add client-specific details about their requirements; this will ensure that all proposal documents contain essential data, saving valuable time and ensuring consistency!
Use Template when creating new Notion Page
Use Template when creating new Notion Page
Template for StackerHQ Projects
Template for StackerHQ Projects
 
So now, instead of writing 40+ different proposals, I can just create one and change its details based on each client's needs.

Manage your clients with a CRM

It may seem overkill to have a CRM when you are just starting, but remember, a CRM doesn't have to be very complicated; it can just be a list of your clients. However, having one helps you streamline automation so that you don't have to manually keep track of essential details about each client or customer. It will save you time to focus on what matters most - providing fantastic service for your clients and getting paid for it! The best part is that no-code tools are now available that make CRMs easy to set up and use without needing any technical skills.
I would recommend using a tool like Airtable. These tools make it easy to create an automated workflow when you need more automation.
✅  Automate lead creation when someone books a call with you on Calendly or fills out the form on your site.
✅  Automate Proposal creation if lead requests proposal.
✅  Convert leads into projects once proposals are accepted.

Organize Project Documents with Automation

Every freelancer knows that files are a part of every project. You must keep track of documents related to your projects, such as requirements, statements of work, NDAs, terms, and conditions, or any other documents shared with clients. Keeping them organized is crucial for finding what you need quickly. It's easy to lose track of all the different files in your email.
Automation tools like Zapier can help keep things tidy by automatically organizing client documents into folders based on the sender's email.
Sample Zap To Organize Documents into Google Drive
Sample Zap To Organize Documents into Google Drive

Manage Projects

Working for multiple clients is excellent for your business because you have diversity and flexibility, but it can be challenging to keep things organized. You have to juggle multiple priorities and deliverables, and sometimes you've got to switch your focus from one client's projects to another while trying not to neglect any of them.
✅  I do this by taking notes, lots and lots of notes.
 

Conclusion

No-code tools can help freelancers manage their requirements much better. There are countless tools to automate processes and improve efficiency. Billing out time is hard work—it's great to have as many tools at your fingertips as possible to make it a bit easier.
In the end, the right combination of tools for managing your projects will depend on you, your clients, and the specific needs of your business. Don't be afraid to experiment if you find that one of these tools isn't serving your business well.

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