The idea of setting up new online tools and project management software can feel challenging to some freelancers and solopreneurs, and intimidating to small business owners. Especially if you’re just getting started in the world of business ownership!
First, you have to figure out which tools you need.
Next, it’s a matter of budgeting (both your time and money), and then re-budgeting again, to figure out what you can afford.
Finally, it’s time to implement your new systems.
Thankfully, if you’re at the point where you’re ready to get started, your business is about to get a whole lot easier.
As a freelancer, independent professional and ambitious entrepreneur, it’s key to become diligent about being super organized throughout the lifespan of all of your projects. Missing deadlines, not staying on top of tasks and dropping the ball on various elements of your client work simply isn’t going to cut it. By implementing the project management tools you need, you’ll be able to properly manage your projects, from day one.
Comprehensive project management software tools allow you to:
- Organize all of your work projects in one place.
- Keep track of your ever-changing task list for each project.
- Check-in on upcoming deadlines and easily see who each task is assigned to and when it is due.
- Manage the communication around client projects in one location rather than multiple messaging systems and email threads.
- Seamlessly track the time spent on specific tasks.
If you’re ready and excited to take better control of your freelance business, it’s time to jump in. Simply explore the easy-to-follow steps below to get started, and you’ll be a master at your project management software in no time.
Step One: Get to Know Your Dashboard
When you first login to the Spera’s project management software you’ll be greeted by an overview of your project management tools.
A Financial Overview
You’ll see your financial information at the top of the page.
This section gives you a glimpse into your current monthly payments, any outstanding invoices, open projects and open invoices. You’ll also see a Statistics overview, broken out by year, that displays your year-to-date income, expenses and profit.
On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll notice your most recent project activities, messages and a calendar overview for the month.
Tasks and Tickets
Your dashboard also gives you insight into your open tickets for each project, as well as any new tickets. The new tickets section of your dash displays the ticket subject, the queue order, client name and the owner of the ticket, so you know exactly what’s needed and who is being asked to take a specific action.
Step Two: Exploring the Projects Category
Next, let’s explore the Work tab.
Once you’re logged into the project management software, the Work section is located on the left side of the page, as the second category down. Every project for every client will live within this section of the Work tab.
Once you’ve set up your first Project, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to streamline the to-do’s in your business.
Summary of Your Projects
The top of the Projects page summarizes how many projects and tasks are currently assigned to you. You’re also given the functionality to export your Projects information, as well as filter the type of Projects you’d like to view.
Creating a New Project
Making a new Project is incredibly simple.
Click the green NEW PROJECT button and input the applicable information within the popup window. This information will include a Reference ID of your choice, your Client’s name, Task Name, Start Date, Deadline, Permissions preferences and the option to include Slack integration.
Remember, the more information and details you provide for each Project in your project management software, the more organized your business will remain as you grow.
Projects vs. Tasks
- Projects are the backbone of your freelancing work. Projects determine the focus for every client and help you outline how you’ll achieve your goals. They are the action steps you and your team will take to get your results.
- Tasks track what you need to get done within each project. They are the smaller, actionable items that make up the larger Project. For example, a Project might be to create an eBook that helps capture prospective buyers’ email addresses for a client. An individual task for that Project would be to find images to use for the creation of the eBook.
Step Three: Track Your Time Like A Pro
By now, you’re probably aware of the importance of tracking your time as a freelancer. Increased focus on important tasks in your business, efficient delegation for less important items and better work-life balance are just a few of its benefits.
Here’s how Spera’s project management software makes time tracking easy:
- To start, go to a Project and click on it.
- Next, in the upper right side of your screen, you’ll see a clock button. Click that to start the timer.
- To stop the timer, or to pause it temporarily, simply click the clock icon again. You’ll see the numbers will no longer continue to run at the top of your screen. That’s it!
You can review the amount of time that’s been spent on each Project by viewing the “Project Time Spent” and “Task Time Spent” sections with each Project.
You can also quickly see if there is a Task or Project timer running from any screen within the project management software system. Do this by clicking the alarm clock icon in the upper left-hand side of the screen, which is in between the bell and the envelope icons, as seen below.
Step Four: Assigning Deadlines and Milestones
Assigning deadlines to every Project, and for every task, is crucial to the success of your project management software. Without proper deadlines, Projects linger longer than they should and team members aren’t held accountable for working efficiently.
Thankfully, Spera’s platform makes assigning due dates really easy.
- Start dates and deadlines are required for every task in your project management software, to hold you accountable to your work.
- You can also gauge your Project progress by percentage complete, as seen in the upper left side of the screenshot below.
- Tasks and Tickets also require deadlines to be assigned when they are first created.
Incorporating Milestones into Projects
Each Project has a Milestones section which allows you to input important Tasks, dates and other information that relate to your work. Milestones are tracked throughout your project as another way to measure how close you are to hitting the specific goals you’ve set for yourself, and your clients.
Step Five: Taking Advantage of Gantt Charts
Gantt charts are another way you can track productivity and understand your business’s workflow. They also allow you to gain a better grasp on projects, from start to end, which comes in handy when your work is multi-faceted and complex.
3 Benefits of Gantt Charts:
- Know which member of your team (or your client’s team) worked on a task.
- Projected time estimates and upcoming deadlines for every project in your business.
- Team member-task relationships for each project.
Gantt charts clearly outline deadlines throughout all phases of a project, which is convenient when you’re working with several other team members or a larger client.
To begin using these project management software tools:
- First, select a Project.
- Once you’re on the Project overview page, click the Gantt tab, which is the second tab on the horizontal navigation bar under the Project name.
- There, you can filter your Gantt chart by outlined Milestones or by Team.
By implementing comprehensive project management software for your business, you can get more done, remain really organized and make better use of your time throughout the work day.
Start using Spera’s project management software today so you can get back to focusing on what you do best – delivering superior work to your freelance clients.