Working as a freelancer means that you have the flexibility to work on your terms and decide your financial growth. Having the steering wheel of your professional life in your hands gives a great feeling of being independent.
Now, if you have the right skills to manage your work effectively on your own, no one can stop you from reaching new heights of success.
However, it’s not all sunshine and roses being a freelancer. You have to function in different roles to ensure that you grab projects, deliver them on time, and build your reputation as a professional freelancer.
The most important thing that you need to develop as a freelancer is good project management skills. In the end, it all comes down to your ability to manage work that decides the success of your projects.
Why Do Freelancers Need To Develop Good Project Management Skills?
Being a freelancer, you have to manage every aspect of a project. You are the one responsible to meet deadlines, communicate with clients, ensure that the project work proceeds in accordance with the scope, and so on.
To make sure that things don’t get haywire at any phase of project development, you need to improve your skills as a project manager. It helps you to stay organized and keep an accurate track of all the project activities.
Here are some more reasons that highlight the importance of having project management skills as a freelancer:
- You will be able to plan and manage projects smartly and avoid chaos.
- It becomes easier to execute project plans & strategies and track the project performance.
- It helps to control project costs and avoid overshooting the budget.
- By streamlining the project processes, it is quite possible to accommodate unanticipated changes.
- You can reduce the overall stress you experience as a freelancer to a great extent as you will have ultimate control of all the project work.
- You can also grow as a freelance project manager and handle projects on the behalf of your clients.
Follow These Simple Tips To Manage Projects Professionally As A Freelancer
When you manage your freelance projects using customary project management techniques, you can expect better results. While your project management skills get better over time, I would like to share some expert tips that’ll help speed up your learning process:
1. Create A SOW (Scope Of Work) Document For Every Project
Creating a SOW for each project is the most essential thing that freelancers need to do. The SOW document contains the objectives of the project along with the work that you will be performing within the project. It also acts as an agreement between you and your client about the project work.
SOWs are important in the sense that your client cannot change the requirements of the project once the development work has been started. Also, it’s common that clients ask for several revisions without bearing the extra costs.
Having a SOW document ensures that you can avoid looping through multiple revisions that tend to decrease your earnings.
2. Formulate SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures)
Standard operating procedures are like protocols that you need to follow so that the overall project development process becomes smooth. The SOP document contains different sets of instructions or steps that will help you to accomplish the activities common among the projects.
With SOPs in place, you can save a lot of time by making the project development process uniform. You can create templates for recurring tasks and there’s no need to start from scratch every time.
Also, by defining standard procedures, it’ll become easier to hand over the responsibility of the project work to someone else.
3. Find Better Ways To Manage Your Time
Almost every project comes with deadlines. Consistency is key to complete project tasks on time and make sure that project completion doesn’t get delayed. Project management is about keeping an eye on the project schedule.
As you get clear details about the start and due dates of tasks, you can easily divide your work hours among the tasks ready for execution. While managing projects in a professional manner, one important thing that you need is to track your working time.
You will enjoy several benefits of time tracking, including accurate client billing, better time management, identifying tasks that are consuming most of your time etc.
4. Organize & Schedule Tasks
Dividing a project into small and manageable tasks will speed up the project progress. There’s one more significant benefit of breaking a project into several tasks – you will have a sense of achievement after accomplishing every task successfully.
Project management involves the creation of multiple task lists that are useful to keep tasks well-organized. Also, when you know all the tasks that you need to undertake within the project, identifying dependencies among them becomes feasible.
This will help you to schedule tasks in accordance with the overall project timeline and identify tasks that are critical to the project’s success.
5. Prioritize Client Communication
Communication is yet another important factor that drives the success of projects. As a freelancer, you need to interact with your clients often to have productive conversations. Whether you are pitching a project, or have a formal meeting with your client, you must be able to present and communicate things in the right way.
To become good at project management, you need to develop excellent communication skills. Two-way communication with clients helps you to understand project requirements better. Also, you will not feel hesitant to share innovative ideas with clients to make their projects more valuable.
Effective communication between you and your client will foster transparency, prompt you to admit mistakes and look for solutions, and eliminate unrealistic expectations.
6. Remain Calm & Composed
Project management comes with many responsibilities that are likely to keep you under pressure for most of the time. And being a freelancer, there’s added burden of working on the project tasks too. However, you need to keep in mind that your project management efforts will not only streamline all the phases of project development but also enhance the quality of deliverables.
To become an ace project manager, it’s important for you to stay calm even in the most difficult situations. It’s extremely difficult to maintain a positive attitude and think logically when you are gripped and controlled by emotions triggered due to stress.
For that reason, you need to train yourself to deal with the work pressure in a way that you stay composed and never lose control of your mind.
7. Make Use Of Project Management Tools
I personally acknowledge that managing your projects effectively as a freelancer is not easy at all. However, making use of dedicated project management tools can make your life easier. Modern project management software, like ProofHub, comes integrated with a wide range of essential features to facilitate the project management process.
You can manage all your projects, tasks, workflows, files, and client communication all from a centralized location. Moreover, if you are a freelance project manager, then you can rely on project management software to manage your teams as well.
While there are plenty of project management tools that are specialized in managing certain project activities. For instance, you can find individual tools for task management, team & client communication, time tracking, and so on.
However, using multiple tools for project management will add extra costs, and switching between them is going to waste a lot of your time. So, you should choose project management tools for your freelancing gig smartly and make sure that they meet all your requirements and do not overstep your budget.
The Bottom Line
Freelancing is a great career option for anyone who just loves to take charge of their professional life. However, to become a successful freelancer, you need to develop the ability to manage projects effectively. The tips that I’ve provided above will help you nourish your project management skills as a freelancer.
Once you master the art of project management, it’ll be possible to work with multiple clients and accomplish their projects in the best possible way.
Author Bio: Vartika is the Chief Marketing Officer at ProofHub, a project management software. She has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She is also a contributor at Business.com, The Next Web, YourStory, and Huffington, among others. Her articles mainly revolve around productivity and leadership.