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Project Management Advice For Freelancers

Once you’ve sold a client on working with you, the next step is to establish clear expectations for how you’ll run their project and ensure that you’re paid on time, get the feedback you need, and end up with a happy and successful client.

In this section, we’ll help you with all things project management. Whether you’re working by yourself or managing a team of subcontractors (or even employees), the advice you’ll find in our in-depth guides and articles will help make sure that every project you work on leads to more repeat business and referrals.

Our views on managing projects:

  • You should set expectations with clients. It’s up to both you and your client to contribute to the success of the project. Find out how.
  • You need to stay on top of your billing and guarantee that your clients are never late in paying you. Find out how.
  • You should regularly host Retrospectives for all of your projects. Find out how.

Recent Articles


The Freelancers Guide to Client Onboarding

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

“Hey Laura, Thanks for the proposal, it all looks great! Let’s go with Option 2. When can we get started?”

There’s nothing like getting a project accepted.

No matter how many times it happens and no matter how confident I am that the client is going to say yes, I always get a jolt of excitement (and do a little dance) when it becomes official.

It can be tempting to relax a little after the tedious back and forth of selling (cough, try Roadmapping).

But how you start the project is going to set the tone for how the rest goes. 

If you start by coming across as organised and professional (even if you don’t feel it), that’s how your client will see you throughout the whole project.

That’s why I’ve put a lot of effort into refining an onboarding process that:

  • Makes me look good
  • Makes the project more efficient
  • Makes my clients happy that they’re working with a professional who knows what she’s doing.

In this article, I’m going to show you a repeatable process you can use to onboard every new client.

Whether you take my process in its entirety, or simply use it as inspiration to make your own, you’ll have everything you need to start each project on the right foot.

Retrospectives, And How To Ensure Your Business Doesn’t Fall Apart

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

Have you ever received an email or phone call from a client with a subject of, “we need to talk…”, or something as equally foreboding?

Raises hand.

As my company grew beyond myself, I found myself needing to stay on top of a number of projects, most of which I had no direct, daily involvement. As the team scaled, my ability to stay on top of each and every concern diluted. I no longer knew everything that was happening in my company.

And this scared me.

So I did what any fledgling manager of a team of developers and designers would do, and managed without managing. I’d monitor our project management software throughout the day, and make a mental note of what was getting done and what was left to do.

Unfortunately, this only told part of the story.

Project management tools, email threads, and so on that revolve around the particulars of a project fail to track the sentiment. It’s up to you to read between the lines and infer how happy your client is (and some clients are more willing than others to directly express their happiness — or lack thereof).

After having gone through a series of “we need to talk” discussions on projects that, on the surface, looked perfectly fine, I knew I had to do something to keep this from happening again.

The 3 Times Your Clients Are Most Excited About You And Their Project

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

The iPhone 6 came out, and today millions of Apple aficionados will be swapping out the last best-phone-ever with the newest best-phone-ever. For many, this is the most exciting day they’ll ever have with the iPhone 6, shadowed only by “Keynote day”, when Tim Cook announced the phone and it’s features.

Likewise, your clients have times that they’re more excited about working with you and the project.

People are most excited about something when they express interest in that. When you have a prospective client email or call you, they’re at an emotional peak. When they agree to work with you, they’re at another emotional peak. And when you deliver them their project, they’re (usually!) at another emotional peak.

Today I want to talk about these three peaks, and how you can capitalize on them.

The Definitive Guide To Getting Paid As A Freelancer

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

Most articles on the web that talk about small business cash flow or money management or whatever else tend to focus on one thing: “spend less.” Often the advice is around the importance of saving money (duh!) or reducing the number of lattes you drink daily (silly).

This is not that sort of article.

Today I want to focus on how you can get paid faster, get paid more reliably, and never need to worry about whether or not that invoice you sent out will arrive before the rent is due.

Why Most Freelancers Set Their Clients Up For Failure (And How To Fix This)

by Brennan Dunn — Get free updates of new posts here

When I first started freelancing, I was focused on all the wrong things.

And these are things you’ve heard me talk about extensively over the last few years, and especially since kicking off this latest series.

My focus was exclusively on what I thought I was good at… in my case, writing web software. But for you, that might be designing, writing, blogging, marketing, or whatever it is you’re — superficially — hired for. I saw myself as a vendor. I have something to offer, code. And the client buys that code by hiring me for however long it takes me to write that code. And when I’m done, I hand it off to the client and trust that they know what needs to be done next.

Advanced Training


Charge What You're Worth

In this free, 9-lesson email course you'll learn the foundations of why (and how) you should charge for the value you deliver to your clients.

NEW: Mastering Project Roadmaps

This is a brand new course that teaches how to get paid to estimate client projects. 5 hours of video + all the documents and templates you need to succeed.

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