The easiest way I’ve found to manage multiple projects and clients

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When you’re new to freelancing, the majority of your time is spent marketing yourself. When a project finally does come in, it’s very simple to drop everything to get it done.

Sounds easy, right 🙂

But what about when the projects start rolling in?

Are you prepared to handle multiple projects with different deadlines?

How do you manage it all? Here’s the easiest way I’ve found to manage it all.

Using Kanban to manage workflow

Kanban is a visual type of project management system that moves a project through cycles to completion. Similar to the old-school white boards with categories you wrote on with dry-erase markers, Kanban boards are an awesome way for creatives to get organized.

Each section of a Kanban board has a category. Each project has a card, which moves from one category to another as it’s completed. I even made one on the wall of my office with pink and green sticky notes.

The pink notes are the categories, and the green are the projects.  As each project changes categories, I move the note. (Until they started falling off my wall.  Back to the drawing board with that one.)

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Today, Kanban is popular in the tech industry. You’ll find a ton of project management software systems, both paid and free, to implement it.

Using Trello has changed my business

A few months back I signed up for a service called Trello as a way to organize my work.  As a writer, my workflow is as follows:

  1. Get project in the pipeline
  2. Create first draft
  3. Wait for feedback or approval
  4. Revisions, OR approval
  5. Wait for payment

Each one of these is a separate category. In Trello they are called lists, and the individual projects are stored on what are called cards. I also have a category called tasks for non-writing projects.

Unlike the old whiteboard (or sticky note) system, Trello allows you to attach documents and links, as well as assign members to a card.  Communication takes place in the comments, where you can tag people to get their attention.

The greatest thing about Trello is that each card and each board has its own email address. When a new job comes in, I email it to my board and it automatically creates a new card, using the subject of the email as the card name.

If I have revisions or information about a job in progress, I look up the card’s email address and send the info to the right place.  Since I discovered this, I’ve saved tons of time copying and pasting information by simply emailing it. I also saved a contact called Trello board so I can forward emails even faster.

Are other solutions available?

There are a ton of other software programs out there that use this system, including:

While there are a variety of paid and free versions available, I stick with Trello because the free version meets my needs well.

Conclusion

No matter what project management solution you choose, it’s important to have a system in place before things get out of control. This may be difficult for some creatives, but it’s a necessary part of growing your business.

What do you use for project management? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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About Sharon McElwee

Sharon McElwee helps creative businesses with blogging, email, copywriting and social media. She loves to partner with designers on web and print projects. You make beautiful things; don’t let them get ruined by ugly copy. Connect with her on Twitter.

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  1. How can you set up a recurring task /card in Trello? I searched a bit about it and found there are recipes at IFTTT but no in-built option available in Trello. Is that correct?