One of the most significant advantages of being a freelancer is the freedom and flexibility that it allows. You can work privately, and it likely will feel good to be in charge and independent while growing professionally. Having the necessary skills to work on your own effectively and manage your time effectively are needed skills to succeed.
When you are starting out, it may not come that easy as a freelancer, especially if you are a freelance project manager. You must take up projects, function within different roles, and ensure that you deliver on time—and do this on your own. Building your reputation is essential to rise to the top of the industry.
If you are going to work as a freelance project manager, you’ll need to be equipped with knowledge of best practices to have a successful career. In this article, I will be discussing seven basic tips to master project management on a freelance basis.
1. Create a scope of work document for all your projects
All project managers need to create a scope of work document for their projects. This document should include the details of the project, such as the objectives and the tasks necessary to achieve success. It can also serve as an agreement with your clients.
One reason why the scope of work is significant is that the client can’t change their project requirements after the start of development work, for example, without consequence. Of course, the client can ask you to revise their project numerous times, but with the scope of work in place, this will come with the consideration of extra time and/or costs. This document prevents you from looping through different project versions endlessly, as such a scenario is likely to reduce your earnings.
2. Use project management tools smartly
Project management tools are created to make work flow easier. These tools are created with integrated, vital features built to facilitate your project management tasks. They can help you manage your project, files, workflow, tasks, and communication with the client from a central location. Tools also ensure that you can work with your team efficiently, even on a freelance basis. There are some types of tools that are created to manage particular project activities. You may get personal devices for project management, time tracking, communication with the client and the team, etc.
That said, don’t use too many project management tools simultaneously, as that could result in additional cost for you. Also, it may waste your valuable time if you are trying to switch from one to another. Choose the minimum number of tools that you need to help you do your freelance management work smartly. Make sure that your tools meet all requirements, but try not to spend above your budget.
3. Sharpen your skills regularly
It does not matter if you’ve been in the industry for a long while or you are just starting out, you need to be on top of your game at all times. Keep your skills sharp. Technologies are advancing rapidly, company structures are changing, and new approaches are being created for management. Keep abreast of these changes and be informed.
It’s crucial that you are tuned in to newer ideas and can think diversely. It is not about picking up and reading a pile of journals. You should stick with reading current information on project management and enroll in training courses (you can sign up for a free trial with MPUG) related to the project you are working on. Coupled with updated certifications, continuous learning will make you stand out in the freelance project management industry as a professional that is innovative and forward-thinking. These are some of the traits that companies want in their project managers.
4. Prioritize communication with the client
According to a research writing service, constant communication with clients is vital for freelancers, and it is even more critical for freelance project managers. Communication is key, and having productive conversations with your clients is going to make your project successful. Stay in touch regularly and inform of issues right way.
Additionally, make sure that you are open to communication going both ways as this fosters mutual understanding and reduces risk of project delays or failure. It also takes away unrealistic expectations on both ends making it easier to arrive at solutions to problems when they arise.
5. Organize and schedule your tasks
The best way to complete any project is to break it up into smaller, manageable tasks. You’ll feel accomplished when you complete each task, and it spurs you onto the next one. In project management, the best freelance managers utilize multiple task lists and ensure that tasks are always organized. Knowing what it takes to complete a project makes it easier to identify dependencies among the tasks.
Create your task schedule in line with the timeline for the overall project and focus on the most critical tasks to the project’s success.
6. Create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) document
Operating procedures are the protocols that you’re following to smoothly complete the whole process of a project’s development. The SOP document includes different steps and instructions needed to complete the necessary activities.
You’ll save time when the process of project development is more uniform. If you can develop templates for common or recurring tasks, you won’t need to always start from the beginning. An SOP also makes it easier for you to hand responsibilities for the project over to someone else if the need arises.
7. Build your portfolio
When you complete a project, document it so you can show your work to future clients. When you have a portfolio to back up your statements, clients can take you more seriously and will be more willing to entrust their projects to you.
The field of project management calls for experience and expertise, and you must prove that you have this skill for both long-term and short-term projects. You must be able to lead teams, communicate effectively, and handle crisis and risk points.
New to the field freelance project managers don’t find it easy, and they may buckle under pressure when working remotely. However, the tips explained in this article will help prevent that.