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Exercise: Get Organized!

Everyone has their scheme and their way to get things done and if you're that kind of person hooray! I'm actually talking about something a bit different than a personal To-Do list - we need a methodology and a way that we can ensure that we can execute our vision.

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Get Organized Now

Before you start wondering if you replied to a client email or whether the work they want you to do is worthwhile, you really need to have a process for all of this. If you fly by the seat of your pants you run the risk of letting someone down and losing money, so let’s take a second and see some extremely simple ways to get organized.

The Focus: Your Customers

This is the difference between personal to-do apps as opposed to a customer-relationship tool: the focus. One is focused on you, the other is focused on your customer. It’s likely you have a way of getting tasks completed, which is great, but did you think about your customer when you were organizing your daily tasks? Maybe, but if you’re focused on your work as opposed to theirs you’re doing it wrong and it could cost you.

To show you what I mean, let’s take a look at two very useful and FREE tools that can help you with this. You should be looking at them every day when it comes to client work, and when you have meetings, instead of popping things in your reminders or sending yourself an email, use these CRM tools to help you out!

Trello

Here’s your task: head over to my personal favorite list thingy, Trello, and have a look at their CRM (customer relationship manager) templates. Some of the automations require an upgraded account, which is pretty cheap, but most of the stuff is free.

Trello

Trello is super easy to use and has a desktop and phone app that you can use to organize things when you’re on a lunch break. If inspiration hits, pop a card in there!

You’ll be able to track who you talked to when and about what. When a project is kicked off, create a board for it and invite your client to join the board so they can see what you’re doing - it’s a great all around tool.

Airtable

Some people (like me) just dig their spreadsheets and if you’re that person too, than Airtable can be your new best friend. They have a set of amazing CRM templates that function as simple spreadsheets. I haven’t used these yet (I’m a Trello fan) but I use Airtable for a ton of other things, including tracking billing and expenses, and I absolutely love it.

Just… Go. Do It.

Don’t overthink it… just go and set one of these things up before you forget and add it to your backlog pile. You’ll see and hear me say this often: don’t think about it too much otherwise you’ll get paralyzed. Execution is the Big Thing when it comes to doing something like this and the more you can tangibly see, the more motivated you get!

  • Becoming a Solo Contractor

    Hello and welcome! Let's kick things off by getting our heads in the right place and understanding what we're getting ourselves into. This could be a life-changing moment for you and having a plan is essential! So let's take a minute and wrap our heads around this.

  • Is The Contract Programmer Thing Right For You?

    Going out on your own is, essentially, turning up the volume on your career. The good parts get better: freedom to choose what you do and when you do it. The bad parts get worse: you will be the worst boss you’ve ever had, and a simple mistake can greatly affect your income.

  • Exercise: Get Organized!

    Everyone has their scheme and their way to get things done and if you're that kind of person hooray! I'm actually talking about something a bit different than a personal To-Do list - we need a methodology and a way that we can ensure that we can execute our vision.

  • Creating Your Business Plan

    We’ll take a look at how a business plan can help solidify what it is we want to do when we go out on our own. We’ll use a simple template, choose a business name and detail the market that we’re about to enter. Finally, we’ll consider where we want this business to end up.

  • Exercise: Business Plan

    We can ponder about our business plan all day long - let's not. Let's execute by laying something down right now, and building on it. You've learned what's in a business plan, now let's put something - ANYTHING in writing and commit ourselves to this vision.

  • Exercise: Business Name

    Naming things is hard and you will either spend way too long on this or way to little. Let's give it a reasonable amount of time and then move on. I'll help you (I hope) by sharing with you how I came up with various business names of my own... then we'll buy a domain.

  • Exercise: Marketing Plan

    At some point you'll need to let people know what you do, that you're good, and that you're worth paying. This is tough stuff, but if you don't do it you won't last long

  • Setting Up Professional Services for Your Contracting Gig

    Trying to run a business on your own is a sure way to burn yourself out. You have to delegate certain duties to online services and third parties. It might seem like an expensive thing to do, but it’s really not.

  • Setting Up Your Finances as a Solo Contractor

    In this section we turn our attention to your new company’s finances. It may seem intimidating, but tracking your income and expenses can be quite easy with simple to use online services.

  • Sample Contracts

    At some point you'll need to let people know what you do, that you're good, and that you're worth paying. This is tough stuff, but if you don't do it you won't last long

  • Growing Your Professional Network

    In this section we’ll look at ways to find your most important client: the very first one! We’ll get out and meet other developers, creating a legitimate network of peers. Finally, the best work is repeat work, so we’ll look at things you can do to make sure you are your client’s go to person.

  • Branding Your Solo Contracting Business

    You need to stand out and make your virtual self look sharp and competent. This isn't about physical looks, it's about how you present yourself to others and the care you take in making an impression. These things matter a lot and they don't take a whole lot of effort.

  • Good Luck!

    We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last 90 minutes, and I hope you’ve seen that this process is not that intimidating. Yes, it does take a bit longer then jumping right in, but that investment of your time will hopefully result in good things later on in your career.

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