Implementing new processes, tools and project management software into your freelance business may seem a little intimidating at first. Your mind may quickly go to the new features you’ll have to learn or the thought of transitioning all of your clients’ information into a new platform. If you’ve outgrown your current system, it’s time to face the music and begin thinking about the next best project management software option for your company to thrive.
Before making the move, be sure to vet your platform systems thoroughly. Consider some of the following tips:
- Set yourself up for long term success by choosing a system that keeps you hyper organized- from every task and each minor detail of your projects.
- Ensure your new system can streamline collaborations with other teammates and outside vendors.
- Look for convenient features such as time tracking tools and file sharing options, that you’ll be sure to use throughout your projects.
- Be sure you can easily communicate throughout the project process. Whether that’s via digital notes, pings, or other forms of updates.
- Consider a system that lets you note milestones and important timelines, to help you remember when and how you achieved exciting elements of each project.
- If your clients require specific reports, be sure those are available in your new platform. Keep in mind you may want to know budget-related elements of your projects such as income vs. expenses.
Once you’ve selected a great project management software system that meets your business’s needs, it’s time to consider the transition process from your current tool. Explore the helpful tips below to get started.
Overlap Your New System with Your Current Platform
Consider overlapping your new project management software tool with your existing system. Although it will be an added expense, having access to both systems for an additional month or two will make a huge difference when you’re trying to transition all of your information over.
Consider some of the following benefits:
You’ll be less likely to make mistakes when inputting data between systems versus feeling super rushed during the transition process.
Having more time with the new system allows you to learn all the bells and whistles and understand your new project management software from the inside out before introducing your clients to it.
You may run into a speed-bump or two in the process that you weren’t planning on. Instead of freaking out, you’ll still have your old system to fall back on in case of an emergency as you’re getting set up.
Let Your Clients Know About the Switch
This is a step that oftentimes gets overlooked. As you work fervorously to transition to an upgraded, exciting new project management software tool, there’s a chance you totally forgot to let your clients know! Making them aware of your new tool is important for several reasons:
First, it lets them know that your business is growing, prospering and therefore needs new upgraded systems.
It also shows them that you’re committed to learning new technologies and staying “in-the-know” within the ever-changing digital world.
Finally, it helps them feel like they’re part of your business’s growth.
Additionally, making them aware of your new system prevents them from getting emails, alerts and project notifications from a brand-new system that they’ve never heard of before, seemingly out of nowhere. That can be a bit strange for certain clients who aren’t familiar with a lot of online tools. Avoid the confusion and keep them in the know when it comes to your project management software upgrade.
Creating a Schedule for the Transition Process
Creating a calendar of to-dos for your transition allows you to remain focused and on task. It can be hard to predict when a client will hit you with a bunch of surprise tasks or huge new project, so having a schedule for the switch will be a huge help. As we previously mentioned, you may run into a technical issue or two as you move your info over, so why not be as prepared as possible with a list of items you need to achieve, and when, ahead of time.
As you create your schedule, consider some of the following tasks that will need to get done:
- Notify your existing system of your final date of use to avoid any additional, unexpected bills.
- Give yourself more than enough time for data entry of bigger tasks; like inputting every detail for your upcoming massive client project.
- Consider what your other teammates will need to access in the new project management software. Plan to start with that information first so you’re not holding up anyone’s work productivity.
- Mark your calendar for when you’ll notify your remote teammates, vendors and clients. Then, draft a comprehensive email about the change to send to everyone.
- Consider bringing on additional help, for example in the form of a virtual assistant, for more mundane tasks that you may not have time for. Chances are, if you did your research and found a great comprehensive platform, you won’t be switching to another system anytime soon. Therefore, if you need to pay someone for their assistance in this process, it will be a one-time fee that’s worth it.
Remember, dragging out the process won’t help any. It’s better to make the decision to upgrade and then go for it. By following a schedule, you’ll be holding yourself accountable and ensuring everything in the process gets done when it needs to.
Celebrate Your New Platform and Take a Rest Day
As you come to the end of the transition process for your new project management software, be sure to celebrate the move!
Take yourself out to an awesome dinner, relax with a massage or simply unplug for the entire following day.
- Take a day off and spend it outside getting fresh air.
- Congratulate yourself by upgrading your business phone or computer, too. This may compliment your new system really well.
- Consider buying a motivating book on business growth or entrepreneurship to keep yourself feeling inspired.
- Buy a new desk calendar, journal or planner to outline some upcoming exciting business goals you’re looking forward to.
- Treat yourself to an upcoming seminar, conference or online webinar that will elevate your freelance business to the next level.
Remember the importance of work-life balance! As a solopreneur, or even a small company, we generally don’t celebrate our successes in our freelance businesses enough. Be sure your upgrade doesn’t go unnoticed. Congratulate yourself in whatever way you prefer and give yourself a major high-five for treating your business like you should and putting important systems in place.
Check (and then Double Check that You Have Everything Imported to the New Project Management Software System
Before you officially hit the “go” button on your new system, double check everything. Schedule time into your calendar to review every tab, app, and detail of your upgraded project management software to ensure you’ve got all the necessary info you need to do your work.
- Go through each project for each of your clients and input them individually. Then, go through each task of every project.
- Be sure your team member’s to-dos are listed within your new system too, as they will most likely affect what you’re working on as well.
- Take some additional time to input upcoming projects and tasks that you may not have input into your old system. The more information you have in your new system, the more organized you’ll remain in the coming months.
Also, if you have other team members, get a second pair of eyes to ensure you’re not missing anything. Although it may seem unnecessary, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Transition to Better Project Management Software and Begin Working Smarter
When you’re upgrading to a comprehensive project management software system, you can never be too careful! This is an exciting transition for your freelance company, so you want to ensure you’re completely prepared. Set yourself up for success by overlapping your old system with your new platform, make your clients aware of the switch, create a schedule for yourself, celebrate your upgrade and double check that everything’s been transferred properly.
A comprehensive system will ensure:
- You and your team members are always on the same page regarding upcoming deadlines.
- Everyone involved on the project will be able to quickly see who is responsible for which task.
- The time spent on every element of your projects will be easy to analyze.
Consider an all-in-one project management software tool that is built specifically with freelancers and small business owners in mind.