A common misconception is that project management software is solely for huge projects. You don’t have to be a code writer or back end developer in order to implement a project management method. In fact, I’m a small business owner whose specialty is content creation and blogging and I use project management software faithfully every single day.
It doesn’t matter what your niche is. Whether it’s a small business or a large business or just a side hustle, if you want to be successful, you have to have a project management system in place. You can effectively manage one or two clients without a precise system, but how many people actually say “I really hope to only land one or two clients!”? As your side hustle business grows and becomes more successful, you’re going to need a way to effectively plan out your projects.
A blogger, writer, or content creator is no different than an executive level development specialist when it comes to the need for project management. That said, as a writer or content creator, where do you start when it comes to developing a project management solution?
First and foremost, you need a complete list of what your personal project process is. Even if you spend just a few hours doing a writing gig, take clear notes of what you do. My list, which I still have in a notebook for reference looks something like this.
- Send retainer Invoice
- Brainstorm ideas
- Send to client for approval
- Finalize Topic
- First draft
- Edit first draft
- Send to client for pre-final revisions
- Final draft
- Final revision
- Client approval
- Final Invoice
- Email of Gratitude w/ Discount for future orders
That’s the process that I use for each and every piece of writing that I do. There are 13 steps. Without some sort of project management solution, I would inevitably forget one of the steps, and each one is designed strategically. If I miss one, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I rely a lot on repeat business, and that’s what my process is designed for.
That said, I personally find that Project Management Software is a saving grace for me. Some writers choose to use a to-do list software like Wunderlist or Evernote to be effective. Others solely rely on Google Calendar or their iPhone schedule. While all of these have their perks, I prefer a more integrated approach.
Once I create a new project in my dashboard (I use BaseCamp, FYI), it triggers all of my steps. I can adjust my turnaround time so that my steps are further out if necessary. I can add in sub-steps if need be as well. For example, when I’m doing website content, I often have more than one page to do. Each page requires the same “Draft” schedule (First draft compose, edit, rewrite, send to client, etc.) I’m able to add in as many mini projects (About Me page, Home page, Sales page), and have the process be triggered under each.
As a blogger, my process is very similar to that for my content creation. The difference for me is that my blogging client is myself. I do first drafts, revisions, and finalizing just as I do for content creation. What I add in for myself is an editorial calendar to keep track of my proposed topics.
Some of the most popular small business oriented project management software options out there are Wrike, Asana, and my software of choice, BaseCamp. I’ve tried all of them, and while Wrike and Asana are simple to use, the triggers that BaseCamp offers are the big selling point. I don’t need to create each step individually of a project. Now that I have anywhere from 5-15 new clients per week, I’d need to hire an assistant just to add steps onto my project planner if I didn’t have a software that automated it.
No matter which software method you go with, (and there are many more than I mentioned), make sure you do a trial run with it before you invest money into a subscription. More importantly, create a few sample projects and make sure that it flows well. This is as much for you as it is to ensure your clients get quality, organized work from you.