How do you manage projects with your clients?
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m a big fan of Notion and have recently moved all of my client projects into Notion so I can keep everything in one space. This is how I organize my own client tasks, as well as all of my business operations. I’ve used a ton of project management methods and tools for client projects, and honestly the best one is the one that is easiest for you and your client to use.
Often times, this ends up being Google Drive for clients who are new because that’s what they are familiar with. I’ve tried many times to train new clients on different systems but they often end up emailing me everything anyway out of frustration with the platform.
My suggestions would be GDrive if they are a new client or solopreneur, but if they are growing quickly and need to wrangle a team, it’s worth organizing the projects early into something like Notion, Basecamp, Asana… so tasks can be assigned accordingly. When you work with larger corporate clients, they often have their own software setup so you may need to adapt to using that. Since this can often mean that client projects can be in different drives and portals, I would suggest having a main dashboard somewhere for yourself to be able to manage your own timelines and pipeline, and give you a birds-eye view of your business at a glance.
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How do I get clients?!
Along with pricing, this is one of the most common questions that I get asked. Luckily, we have an episode all about it on the Business of Freelancing podcast! Check out how the panel attracts and secures leads, as well as my top 3 ways I have built my client base.
Hint: They all revolve around forging relationships with professionals in complementary industries, as well as being willing and visible to take on work from those a couple steps ahead of you.
Episode Link: https://www.businessoffreelancing.com/podcast/getting-freelancing-leads-101/
Ever heard the term POD when it comes to online stores and wondered what it means?
POD stands for Print on Demand, and it’s a type of dropshipping. It’s often used for creators who sell merch on typical items like tshirts, hats, mugs and reusable bags. Basically, POD allows the shop owner not to have to carry any inventory. The advantage is low overhead, the ability to test the market, and a ‘touchless’ supply chain.
However, without eyes on the full process you can lose a lot of the quality control over the products, as well as customer service.
To mitigate those issues, I would suggest:
— Extensive product testing (make sure to order every variation in samples)
— Extensive manufacturer testing (test different companies — there are MANY!)
— Supply chain/shipping tests (for speed, loss and accuracy)
The bottom line is, to get a well functioning POD store, you need to have eyes on every aspect of production. POD can be a good testing ground for products that you intend on mass producing, and fulfilling internally.
POD has its place, but needs a lot of initial assessment and experimentation to run a high quality POD shop.
Hot Shop Tip!
If you have a Shopify store, and Etsy shop or a Woocomm shop and live in Canada, you’ve got to checkout Chitchats. Cheap reliable shipping, and they are always expanding their service (dropoff points…). chitchats.com
In season one of The Business of Freelancing, we had the pleasure of speaking to Adam Davidson’s from NPR’s Plane Money about his new book The Passion Economy.
We explore what it means to start and run a business based on your passion and knowledge, as well as look into the ever-changing landscape of entrepreneurship.
Episode Link: https://www.businessoffreelancing.com/podcast/episode-3-thriving-in-the-passion-economy-with-adam-davidson/
Book link: https://www.amazon.ca/Passion-Economy-Thriving-Twenty-First-Century/dp/0385353529
Do you want to start a business or even a side project, but struggle to come up with ideas?
There’s 3,300+ waiting for you on a site called ideasgrab.com
If you’re looking to hop on an idea and build out your MVP (minimum viable product – the simplest version of your product you can take to market), I highly recommend searching up Doc Williams on YouTube and watch him build out business MVP’s in real time.
Have you ever wanted to write a letter to your past self? How about your future self?
There’s a neat website that allows you to write a note to your future self called https://www.futureme.org/
I’m going to do a few for the 1 year mark to checkup on my goals, but could also be a really nice reminder from yourself why you chose the path you did, because it can be hard to see clearly when you’re in the midst of something challenging and feel like giving up.
Also, DM me https://www.instagram.com/margreffell/ your email and I’ll write you a nice note for the future!
What does planning typically look like for you? I’ve been a die hard paper-planner for most of my life.
There’s something about physically filling in all the blocks with different coloured highlighters that gave me immense satisfaction! I’m trying to move everything into digital this year, and I’ve finally found a program that I can get the hang of doing that in. Notion!
Here’s a glimpse into my dashboard, and how I organize it. I will also be accompanied by a wall calendar where I can see the entire year at a glance (hasn’t arrived yet).
Shoutout to (handle at) @mariepoulin for her guidance in how to best optimize Notion.
I’m planning on moving all my project management over as well, so I’ll definitely share any workspaces I put together for that!
Do you know I have a podcast?
Well… I actually have two. I have one season of a solo podcast that I created, and now I’m entering the 3rd season of a panel podcast I’ve created with a few business pals.
They’re both about freelance and entrepreneurship and you can check them out on your favorite streaming platform.
Solo Show: Freelance Freedom
Panel Show: The Business of Freelancing
Both in link: https://linktr.ee/Margreff
Approach EVERYTHING with a learning mindset.
No one was born knowing everything. We all learn at different rates, so don’t be embarrassed to ask questions at any point.
That’s how I’ve learned everything I have today about building a business for myself, as well as building online businesses for clients.
The clients who have the most success are always the ones who never stop learning and creating. I see it over and over, and it’s always the common denominator among the success I’ve witnessed.
Learn, fail, pivot and learn again!
What’s something new you’ve wanted to learn? I’ve always wanted to build my own PC, so I think that’s up next on my 2021 list!
Are you in Canada, and looking to shop local?
I’ve put together some of my client’s products, as well as a few friends’ favorites, and compiled them into my Canada Gift Guide.
This is a brand new guide I’ve created that I’ll always be adding to, so send me some of your favorite Canadian brands and I’ll include them!
Note: I don’t receive any compensation from the companies included in this guide, I’m looking to make local shopping more accessible.
Are you emotionally exhausted? Feel like you are just going through the motions……..
When people imagine burnout, it’s often this frazzled image of someone, who is physically exhausted and visibly distressed. It often appears this way, and can also take more insidious forms as well.
Do you find yourself not interested in the stuff that used to make you excited, or withdrawing from loved ones because you just don’t have the energy to fully support them? These can also be a version of burnout.
2020 has taken its toll on everyone, especially small businesses. If you’re an entrepreneur and feeling the effects of burnout, you’re not ALONE! My personal story of burnout manifested into weekly visits to the hospital to get IV iron and blood transfusions for a full year. It took almost two years to recover from, and is still being managed daily. I will fully expand on my story down the line, but in the meantime I was able to chat with some friends on the Business of Freelancing Podcast about what burnout means, how it manifests differently in everyone, and how we manage it daily.
Check out the episode all about burnout to hear about our collective experiences and ways we’ve dealt with it!
Link here https://linktr.ee/Margreff
You have what it takes to run a business!
My friend Michele tweeted the other day that people should hear more often that they ARE capable of running a business, especially from a young age.
Damn, I never knew this sentence was so triggering to me, but here we are. The reason it’s triggering is because growing up, like many, I was surrounded by societal, familial and social relationships that discourage free thought and expression.
Throughout my 20’s I always had ‘crazy’ ideas, and my whole life I was told things like “that’s not a lady’s job” and “that idea is ridiculous” as well as boyfriends straight up telling me “you don’t have what it takes to run a business”. Luckily, that just ended up causing me to question the status quo more and more, and ultimately understand how insecurities, and scarcity are projected. Well… that ends with me. I see way too many grown-ass adults tearing young people down.
So if anyone tells you you’re not capable of doing something, remember two things
- Consider the source. Notice how it’s never successful people tearing you down?
- In the words of Brene Brown, “If you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your opinion”
So, I am here to tell you… Yes, you DO have what it takes to run a business! Now go for it!
How did you manage navigating the biggest shopping weekend of the year as a merchant and as a customer?
It’s always a busy time in the world of ecommerce. Here’s 3 things my ecom clients have done to improve sales when the competition is high.
1. Focus on the unboxing experience. Packaging is something that’s so often overlooked by vendors, but creating an exciting unboxing experience for your customers will elevate your brand and allow your customers to share that experience on social (FREE ADVERTISING!!!)
2. Good customer support. Holy moly is customer service ever awful these days. A speedy resolution to a customer problem will go a long way. The goal is simple, fix the issue quickly, and elevate their experience so they will always remember you, and turn into a recurring client.
3. Bonus Offerings!! To many peoples surprise, I’m actually not a fan of discounting goods and services. I’ve seen higher profits, and increased sales through client sites when they choose to add more bonuses, as opposed to offer discounts (I am a fan of offering deals through subscription services, but that’s another conversation)
There are so many more strategies when it comes to selling online, but only so much that fits in a single post, so I’ll do a few more of these lists, So be sure to stay tuned!