I get a lot of questions about freelancing - so I've decided to create a whole Freelance Matters as a part of the Matters Series. Some of the topics will include organization, time management, accounting, landing clients, collaborating, pitching and more. Today I want to kick off the Freelance Matters series with project management.
When I first started freelancing I would have an average of 4-6 projects in the works at any given time. I was able to keep track of my deadlines and work flow in my head. A year later I typically have 12-16 projects on my to-do list at any given time - keeping track of my work load and major deadlines in my head and on random to-do lists was driving me insane. I knew I needed to get a system for project management in place. So, I went to Target and loaded up on 9" x 12" manilla envelopes and scotch tape. I introduced the job jacket into my life.
This day in age, where everything can be managed online, there is something about having a physical representation of a job in hand. It's where all the important information is stored and at a glance you can see the status of a job at any given time.
MY JOB JACKETS
Here is how I structure my job jacket, for now. I know as I grow and change so will the information I include on my job jacket.
1. My logo and contact information (letterhead)
2. A bold one-word description of the invitation
3. Client contact information
4. Invoice # (designated in Freshbooks) & Date Opened
1. Job Description & Specs: Here I include the size and print information for all the materials I'm designing.
2. Projected Timeline: Here I include all the major deadlines with little check boxes next to them.
3. Printing Information: Here is where I keep track of whether or not I've requested a print quote, which printer I'm using and the final estimate amount.
4. Shipping Information: Here is where I include when I shipped a project, the tracking # and the final shipping amount.
5. Financials at a Glance: I keep track of my financials in Freshbooks but it's good to have it on paper so I can see exactly how much I'm spending (expenses) and am making (profit) on a project.
6. Art Direction: Here is where I include a little blurb about art direction. I may have more information to go on (like in an email from my client or sketches from my notebook) but here is where I bullet point the general look and feel of a project.
7. Notes: Here is where I include any additional notes about a project. It can be anything from sketches to notes about when the client is going to be unavailable.
INSIDE THE JOB JACKET
I keep my initial design mock-ups, extra notes, my invoice and client estimate and final print specs inside the physical job jacket.
I have a post-it note on each job jacket with a bold deadline - this date is usually when an initial design is due or when a job is supposed to go to print.
I stack my job jackets in order of importance. Whatever job jacket is on top of the stack is the job I need to work on at that moment. When I finish a task I check a box off the task-list (projected timeline) and move the job jacket to the bottom of the stack.
Utilizing job jackets for project management has made freelance life so much more efficient. If you want to utilize this system for your own workflow I would recommend the following:
• Figure out your process - Take notes on how you work. What steps come first? Find points in the process where you are inefficient. For me, it was constantly having to look at my original specs for a job - which is why I include them on the front of my job jacket.
• Organize & refine your process - I clearly block out how a job comes through my office from start to finish on my job jacket.
• Be brief - Bullets and lines are your friend. It defeats the point if you are too detailed on your job jacket.
If you have any more questions about project management ask away in the comments section. I'm also available for consulting if you need help organizing your own work flow. And as always, please let me know if there are other Freelance Matters issues you would like me to address in the future.
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J & K started this blog project to document the remodel of their 1929 historical home in the heart of Oklahoma City. It has now turned into a documentation of life, food, fashion, freelance, inspiration, design, adventures and details around the J & K house.
Kathleen works as an award-winning brand consultant and designer specializing in small business branding at Braid Creative & Consulting. Jeremy is a software engineer and is the left-brain to Kathleen’s right.
You can contact Kathleen at
jeremyandkathleen (at) gmail (dot) com.
All photos and graphics by Kathleen unless otherwise stated. Feel free to use them with permission or credit.
Anatomy of an Outfit
Sometimes I like to get dressed and take pictures of myself. For all of my outfit posts click here.
Freelance Matters: A series about how I tackle freelance issues such as estimating, billing, to-do lists and how to fire a client.
Trekking to Everest
In October 2010 Jeremy and I trekked through the Himalayas to Mt. Everest Base Camp. It completely changed my life. Read about the entire adventure, day-by-day, here.
Braid is a creative & consulting business I own with my sister. We do branding and business visioning for creative entrepreneurs. On the Braid blog I share branding adventures, how-to articles and advice on the creative process. If you need a little brand therapy of your own visit Braid or subscribe to the Braid blog RSS feed here.
What We Eat
We like to eat really good food - at least 3 times a day. Sometimes I blog about it - click here for recipes and yummy ideas.
J & K: Blog Archive
- ► 2012 (182)
- Anatomy of an Outfit: Rainy Day
- Girl Crush: Beyonce
- Identity: Dina Avila Photography
- Anatomy of an Outfit: My Favorite Skirt
- Potato and Mushroom Tikka Masala
- Armpit Matters
- Model Behavior
- Local Flour + Rad Packaging
- Will Work for Chocolate and Plants
- Freelance Matters | Project Management
- Hot Pink
- Blog Design: Jodi Michelle
- Broccoli Quiche
- Anatomy of an Outfit: THE Boots
- Run as fast as you can.
- Seen and Heard: Jabee
- 11 Months Freelance
- We Relay Well
- Anatomy of an Outfit: Sweet Summer
- ▼ May (22)
- ► 2010 (387)
- ► 2009 (406)
- Eva Black | Spaces
- Emma Dime
- Life as an Artistpreneur
- Jane Reaction
- Ink & Letters
- Meg Biram | The Edit
- Sarah Von Bargen's Small Biz Blog
- Design Crush
- The Equals Record
- Emmarie Designs
- Rory Gordon
- Yellow Brick Home
- The Creatives Project
- Silly Grrl
- Photographers Skeen
- The Clothes Make the Girl
- Bringing Design Home
- Pip & Estella
- A Practical Wedding
- Kind of a Sideshow
- Sandra Juto
- Old Sweet Song
- Rambling Renovators
- Brooklyn Bride
- Design Crush
- Experiment in Poverty
- The Jealous Curator
- Making it Lovely
- Dressing on the Side
- The Oklahoman
- Young House Love
- Oh So Beautiful Paper
- A Cup of Jo
- Brooklyn Limestone
- Glamour Weddings