In my last blog post for Marketing Mentor, I shared 5 tips and strategies to help independent creative professionals manage their projects, virtual teams and clients…..oh, and find time to do their own work and have a life! The upshot was that in order to keep all the plates spinning you need a system.
There are lots of really great project management solutions available, so it’s really a matter of defining what your particular needs are and finding the right fit for you. The main criteria for your system are that it: (a) feels good to you and your work style (b) provides structure AND flexibility (c) it’s simple and easy to use.
In this post I’d like to share my system with you and, over the next couple of days, suggest tips and resources that might be helpful in developing your own.
During any given day at Plum Creative, there are several things I need to do or keep track of, including:
• Make and track new business calls/ emails
• Schedule calls and meetings
• Write proposals
• Negotiate fees
• Write/review contracts
• Create and manage project timelines
• Remind talent and clients of when things are due
• Bill clients
• Follow up on unpaid invoices
• Pay talent
• Write blog and newsletter, maintain website
So, with so many things (or combinations of things) that could come up, it’s important for me to be able to determine what my priorities are, while still being able to see the big picture. I have it down to a 3-part system:
1) Content and Project Management software
This software is the Mothership and contains all of my data. It allows me to link clients and prospects to active projects, opportunities, tasks, meetings, files, notes, and emails. I have it installed on my laptop, home computer and iphone, so I can access my information wherever I am.
This software really comes into it’s own when I’m developing and tracking new business prospects and opportunities. For example – I am able to create a target client list, link contacts, emails, make notes and create notifications for follow up actions e.g send a marketing package, follow up in a month. When you make several new business calls a day, this really helps keep track of who you called, their response and what your next steps are.
2) A visual display of the broad-strokes
This is a one-glance weekly overview sheet of my active projects, opportunities & marketing efforts as well as actions required for each.
3) A daily to do list.
Based upon the information in my software system and my broad-strokes visual display, I create a daily ‘to-do list’. This helps me to narrow down a daunting list of projects and task to the few things that need to be done today.
Check back tomorrow for tips on how to find the right software for your business.
Justine Clay is the founder of Pitch Perfect and teaches creative talent and entrepreneurs the business, interpersonal and project management skills they need to transform their creative ideas into paying projects and lasting professional relationships. To sign up for her newsletter, or learn more about upcoming workshops, please visit www.pitchperfectpresentation.com.