Creative Industry Related Information for Graphic Designers & Web Designers!
Graphic Design Business - Start a Freelance Design Business Today!

Protect Yourself with Detailed Records

Posted: August 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business | No Comments »

Getting organized is more than just keeping your area clutter-free or using effective time management. To succeed as an entrepreneur or freelancer, you must excel at project management. Technical projects consists of many pieces coming together to create the end product. If you don’t have a process in place to manage each step and keep detailed records, then you run the risk of missing deadlines and delivering poor products and services.

Keep Detailed Project Files

It’s important to keep track of all of your files in one place. Don’t waste time and energy tracking down files in miscellaneous emails or from subcontractors. If you’re working on your own, then create folders in Dropbox for each client and subfolders for each project. You want to be able to access your folders from anywhere.

A more advanced option is to use project management software like or Basecamp. You can upload documents and share them with subcontractors and employees. You will always have your files in one spot and associated with clients and projects.

Keep Detailed Milestones and Deadlines

Disorganization creeps in when you don’t keep track of your progress. You can get away with it with the first couple of clients, but not for long. At some point, you will have to start keeping detailed records in this area. Do yourself a favor and form the habit early on with your first few clients. You can use project management software or to-do lists.  Figure out the milestones for each project, and assign due dates and tasks for each. Be as detailed as possible as you describe tasks in case you plan to use independent contractors for those projects or future projects.

Keep Track of Your Time

Even if you charge a flat fee for your services, you need to track your time. It will help you analyze how which types of projects generate the most profits for your business, as well as whether you need to raise your rates. If you play the guessing game, then you can hinder the growth of your business. Use online timesheets or ones that are included in project management software to keep detailed records of your time. There are many available online for free, such as

Track non-billable time as well. That’s all the time you spend on your clients, even if you don’t expect payment. Examples include:

  • Responding to emails (although you should probably be billing your time for those)
  • Mailing completed works (including travel time to the post office)
  • Watching tutorials to learn the client’s software
  • Returning quick phone calls

One major advantage of being detail oriented in this area is that billing clients for work will become easier. You could even hand it off to a bookkeeper, since your time will already be logged. Make sure you distinguish between non-billable and billable time.

If the thought of getting so detailed gives you a headache, consider hiring someone to help you in this area. Delegate project management or billing to someone who is competent to manage these tasks for you. This will free you up to concentrate on design and other projects that you enjoy most.

Comments are closed.