So, you have decided to say goodbye to the 9-5 life, and you are ready to embark on the freelance lifestyle. There is something pretty empowering about saying that you are your own boss and bidding farewell to the daily grind of building someone else's dream. However, while freelancing seems alluring (and has incredible benefits), it is essential that you develop both your hard and soft skills so that you can run your business effectively. Project management combines both hard and soft skills to ensure that business goals and objectives are achieved.
Before we explore how upping your project management skills can up your freelancing game and help you succeed, let's look at the concept in greater detail.
What is project management?
Project management is a necessary process and includes a range of skills, methods, techniques, and activities that ensure goals and objectives are achieved. Project management sets clear, achievable deliverables and works with a specific time frame and budget to ensure that end goals are met.
A key difference between project management and conventional management is that there is always a final deliverable involved and a clear-cut time span. Since freelancers usually work on an array of projects, they'll need to manage specific projects with every new client and job. Consequently, it is imperative to enhance project management skills as a freelancer. Using productivity software is one such way to do so and can streamline operations and allow for greater success.
How project management (and project management tools) can help freelancers
1. Allows for quick and easy task scheduling (especially with project management software)
Whether you are a freelance graphic designer, web developer, cyber security expert, or content creator, you will need to get on board with managing your projects. Project management is especially important if you are working for various stakeholders and juggling several projects at once or when working on a large-scale project with many components.
This is where freelance management systems like Workast become indispensable, especially if you are collaborating with other freelancers or working in a team. Workast is specially created for teams using Slack, allowing them to manage their projects, track daily activities, create tasks, and up their workflow. The app naturally adds ease to your daily routine by allowing you to plan and schedule daily meetings and project deadlines and keep all of these deadlines and meetings logged into the system's online calendar. Since all members using the specific Slack channel can access the app, everyone stays on the same page.
If you're working on your own and want an application that doesn't work via Slack, the Indy freelance management platform is another great option. The program offers a full suite of 9 essential tools for freelancers, including a time and task tracker, an online calendar, a communication portal, an invoice template and generator feature, contract templates, and more. There is also a great proposal section which offers fantastic templates for prospective clients. Since everything can be accessed via a centralized dashboard, the system is easy to navigate and accessible. Additionally, some project management tools also offer client portal features. This means you can share project progress, updates, and deliverables with your clients in a secure and organized manner.
Moreover, since freelancers can upload a profile on the platform, it also offers a fantastic way to network with other industry experts. This is particularly useful if you are looking to collaborate on future projects.
2. Managing your finances
When you're working for a company, the financial elements of business projects are usually behind the scenes. So, unless you are in accounts or finance, you probably don't engage too much with the nitty-gritty of sending invoices and managing accounts on a daily basis. When you freelance, however, all that changes, and you'll need to learn the ins and outs of managing your accounts and adhering to specific tax regulations.
When embarking on a new project, you will want to keep a clear record of all money that comes in and out and keep note of any tax-deductible expenditure. Having a grip on money matters and recording all transactions is a huge part of managing projects as a freelancer.
Happily, there is some amazing accounting software around that can easily help you track expenses and monitor invoices (paid and unpaid).
3. Managing your relationships
Effective project management can also enhance your business relationships, ensuring that you organize meetings and catchups with professionalism and efficiency in mind. When you're overseeing a big project or collaborative task, you need to understand the unique skills of everyone involved and harness these skills to your advantage. Project management is thus also about understanding the personal dynamics of a team and investing energy and time into utilizing them to ensure the best results.
Upping your soft skills is one such way to ensure better relationships and includes skills such as communication, critical thinking, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and digital literacy. These skills enable better project management by enabling you to communicate with teams, clients, and collaborators with ease.
Every industry in the world can benefit from project management skills, whether you're in the world of theater and the arts or the world of medicine and science. Since more and more professionals are taking the leap into the world of freelancing, it is no wonder why the importance of project management has garnered much traction. Project management is ultimately all about good planning and organization along with a deep understanding of potential financial risks and client relationships. When you take all these elements into account, business is bound to boom.
By continuously reassessing and working on the various elements of your business and using project management skills to do so, business growth will naturally continue. Happily, there are some fantastic online platforms that allow freelancers to up their organizational skills and tackle new projects with clarity and professionalism in mind.
What are some of your top project management tips? Share below! We would love to hear your stories.