Lately I've been considering hiring on staff of my own.
I am approaching the point where I need an assistant, an accountant, and a designer. In a few months, I'll be ready.
For now, project management software will help me prepare.
Here's why I decided to adopt it, why you should consider it, and what to look for in a solution.
Related Article: The Best Project Management Tools to Boost Employee Performance
1. You're Drowning in Details
In any given week, my projects might include web copy, white papers, ebooks, corporate blog posts, editing other writers, and working on my own byline.
There's also the social media accounts I run for businesses, pitches to new publications, and research for a series of posts I want to write about what kind of business content is most popular and why.
Each project has a client, an outline that needs approval, a set price, a due date, a publish date, invoicing, information supplied by the client, and more.
Clients might pay via Freshbooks, direct deposit, PayPal, or a check by mail.
In other words, my business is just like yours. I have a million things going at once, and it's way too easy to lose track of little things like turning in an outline or following up a pitch when larger, more important things are coming at me like errant cars of a runaway freight train.
The first thing PM software does is help me manage my chaotic schedule. Everything goes in, and the program nags me about deadlines. So I don't forget pesky things like invoicing and getting paid.
2. Things Are Falling Through the Cracks
I like to think of myself as organized, hard-working, and dedicated. All of those things are true.
Still, a payment will occasionally arrive that I can't identify. Is it for something I did three months ago? Something I haven't done yet that's paid in advance?
If you're chuckling right now, stop it. It's only funny until somebody loses a paycheck.
3. You Need to Prepare for a Team
It's a terrifying thought, taking responsibility for the income of other people, but it seems more inevitable with each passing day.
One thing I have always wanted to do is help other writers get a start. I can do that by passing off some of my work, so I can get back to doing what I do: write.
If I adopt a project management software early and get a system in place, I can spend less time training my team and more time collaborating.
4. What You're Using Is Too Complicated
With multiple clients using different PM software, CRMs, and processes, I've tried more than a few systems. Each one has a learning curve, and I've watched a few fall apart as the client got busier and tasks multiplied.
Every system is simple when you have a small team and few tasks. The real test comes when you're super busy and you have to hire new people and train them on a complicated system. I've been down that road. It's bumpy.
5. What You're Using Doesn't Work for You
Every system has its own features and quirks. Some are stripped-down and simple, but you can integrate with other apps to get everything done.
Others offer a giant list of project management features with everything built in. And I mean everything, from invoice management to Chinese language support.
Hey, you never know. Most of the systems I've worked on, including some of the most popular options on the market, didn't offer exactly what I need, and weren't really designed for my needs.
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Once I reached the decision to implement project management software, it was time to determine my needs. The Celoxis infographic below succinctly sums up what I need to look for:
Here's what I need in PM software:
- Scheduling: I need to set deadlines and assign milestones for big project completion and schedule daily tasks.
- Project tracking: will enable me to make sure everything is done as scheduled.
- Time and expense tracking: to keep finances straight and deal with payroll and taxes.
- Portfolio management: will help me priorities tasks in order of importance, resources, and time management.
- Integrated documents: each project will have multiple documents attached. I'll need everything in one place.
- Collaboration: I definitely won't be opening an office and expecting employees to show up every day. I'll have an online team who might be anywhere in the world. My favorite designer lives in Peru, and I'm trying to convince a friend in Ireland to be my assistant. My customers are everywhere, so my project management has to be accessible.
Related Article: 9 Most Effective Apps for Internal Communication
My needs may be different from yours, so I can't advise which software will be best for your business.
Finding a system that fits your needs and works for your team will be a challenge, but finding the right, scalable, easy-to-use project management software will make your life easier, help you meet your goals, and keep everything running smoothly.
What do you need for your project management?