When you enter the self-employed, solopreneur life, one of the hardest obstacles you’ll need to overcome is project management. In the corporate world, there is often a chain of command and a list of policies and procedures to manage tasks. Structure often varies depending on the business — is it time, effort, cost, or quality that dictates the timeline for completion? As a solopreneur, you need to incorporate every aspect in order to successfully manage projects.
Here are five quick tips on project management as a part of your self-employed business plan.
1. Use a Calendar
Using Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal is one of the best things you can do to manage projects. You can set reminders, to-dos, and input every aspect of your schedule. If you’re using a smartphone, make sure your calendars sync wirelessly so whether you’re on the phone or on a desktop, your calendar is current. Adding long-term projects or projects with a lot of moving parts to your calendar can help you keep track of the timelines and progress.
2. Keep Budgets Up-to-Date
As technology improves, fewer people are using check-register booklets. As a solopreneur, being constantly aware of your account balances is a necessity. Even if a transaction is “pending,” you should be expecting and recording the incoming or outgoing cash flow. With hackers and identity thieves relentlessly working to access your information, closely manage your financial accounts to catch any discrepancies quickly.
Knowing your balance at each buying moment also means you’re aware of the budget available and what you can realistically buy without exceeding your spending limit. This helps keep your credit in check.
3. Keep Communications Open
Just because you’re self-employed doesn’t mean you aren’t working with others. Keeping your communication lines open can help immensely with project management.
Clear, honest conversations can help you resolve any issues that may arise. Stay in touch with key partners and make sure any joint efforts are laid out explicitly. Status reports are also a good idea when you’re working with others. Being updated in a timely manner can help you adjust any schedule conflicts or redefine the scope of the work being done.
4. Consider the Scope
Remember, change is inevitable. Pay attention the scope of your project as new elements are added to a project that’s already been approved. Make sure consideration is given to the budget, schedule and resources that are going to be needed for the revised project. All the proper documentation regarding any changes needs to be set-in-stone and signed before you move forward with changes of the originally agreed upon project scope.
5. Manage Risks and Milestones
Project management is more than scheduling and budgeting. Project management is planning for setbacks and successes.
Some things may take longer than anticipated and other things may be risks to your self-employment status. Risks can occur at any time and it’s up to you to make sure you’re aware of the potential risks and how to handle them for recovery. Evaluate the project’s progress and setbacks at the end of each phase so you can adapt for a more successful future. As various aspects of the project are completed, make sure each sector is up to your standards.
Solopreneurs have a lot to consider when it comes to project management. One of the best places to start is a blank piece of paper with a list of to-dos. As your projects become more complex, incorporating these tips into your plans for project management can make you more efficient.
Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as business plans and social media trends. She is a web content writer for Business.com.