August 9, 2018

Do you hate repetitive tasks? Create processes!

Project management has been through a huge revival in the 20th century. Each and every business book mentioned it as one of the holy grails of entrepreneurship.

Yes, project management is super important in freelancing too. But because of very limited time resources, rather than be an expert in project management, a freelancer needs to be a skilled process manager.

What is process management and what are processes?

Unlike project management, that deals with unique, long-lasting periods of work, process management takes care of repetitive tasks that need to be done efficiently.

So why should you care about processes in your freelancing?

  1. Because freelancers do a lot of repetitive work.
  2. Because your day has only 24 hours and you should invest your time smartly.
  3. Because processes save you money and energy.
  4. When you have processes, you spend more time strategizing.
  5. And finally, processes can be delegated to others people.

Sounds like a good deal?

On top of that, processes can be applied to almost anything repetitive. It doesn't need to be a daily task, it can also be a task that is done on weekly basis or every month. Or it can be something you just don't want to do and delegate it to others while maintaining your high quality of work.

Processes have tons of benefits. But you might be asking yourself, what activities to turn into processes first?

That's where this article comes in.

How to choose activities that you need to turn into processes

A freelancer does tons of things that deserve to be turned into processes. But if you want to be good at the game, you need to start small. In other words, stick to these requirements and pick the first tasks according to them:

  • it needs to be a task you do on a daily or weekly basis
  • the task is so simple that the process will have a maximum of 10 points
  • the task can be delegated to other people

It's simple as that. If you stick to these, you might get to these tasks:

  • posting a social media update
  • preparing a blog post
  • preparing an offer for a client
  • creating a pricing strategy for a client
  • weekly planning routine
  • client acquisition
  • adjusting e-mail and social media templates
  • client analysis
  • tons of other tasks depending on the expertise

Now, when you pick something easy and simple. Just start building the process step-by-step.

All you do is document every important step in the activity so that you don't need to focus on it fully when you're doing it according to the process. In other words, you're creating a manual for the task.

Here's a simple process created for a weekly planning routine:

  1. Firstly plan the work for the top 3 biggest clients.
  2. Search for unfinished work from the previous week.
  3. Check for work on G-mail.
  4. Check for work on Messenger.
  5. Check for work in the notebook
  6. Plan one-time clients.
  7. Check if there's enough time for commuting and lunch between all activities.

There you go, a simple process for planning your week. It has seven steps and you won't ever miss anything when you're planning your week again. And that's what processes are about - less focus and more work done. And the best part is that you don't need any expensive tool to document your processes. A Google Drive Doc is just fine.

Firstly, list the easiest task that you want to turn into processes.

Firstly, list the easiest task that you want to turn into processes.

As you get more experienced, you can create processes from larger activities. You can create a process for the whole acquisition process. Such processes have more steps and can even include e-mail templates. Here's a process for acquiring clients that one of our clients has created for himself.

Process for acquiring new clients:

  1. Search for clients on typical places:
  • Facebook groups:
  • Marketers, copywriters, and SEO optimizers
  • Journalists, Bloggers, and copywriters
  • Copywriters and other writers
  • I'm a copywriter
  • We take care of marketing (and social media)
  • Social Media Geeks Slovakia  
  • Work in online marketing
  • Contact previous clients for new work: Johnny Bravo, Mel Gibson, The Rock, Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Search for clients on CRM
  1. Contact potential clients with a personalized e-mail:

Good day, [FIRST NAME],

My name is [FIRST NAME] and I wanted to contact you about an offer I've seen [NAME OF THE FACEBOOK GROUP].

I've been a copywriter for almost 4 years now and thanks to working with startups, SMEs, and e-commerce projects I have all around experience that I can use to help your business scale up.

I'm sure that you want to partner with a professional that's why I'm adding my portfolio HERE. You can check it and see if my experience fits your needs.

If you like what I do and you want to explore possibilities of working together, just let me know.

Thanks,

[NAME]

  1. Send a follow-up:

Good day, [FIRST NAME],

A few days ago, I reached out to you about an offer that I found on [NAME OF THE FACEBOOK GROUP].

I wanted to ask if my previous e-mail arrived to you and if you would find some time to talk about it.

Let me know and we can schedule a meeting.

Thanks,

[NAME]

  1. Agree on a date for a meeting -> [LINK FOR CALENDLY]
  2. Send the client an offer with pricing.
  3. Add the client's contact information into CRM.
  4. Add the client to Evidme for notes, time tracking and project management.
  5. Add work for the client into Google Calendar.
  6. After the work it's done, send the client an invoice.
  7. Ask the client for feedback and reference.

This is a more complex process required for a more complicated task. But it's a great example that almost anything can be processed, optimized, automized or delegated.

Okay, you have processes, what now?

Having processes and HAVING PROCESSES is a huuuuge difference.

Once you create a process, test it out in the field as soon as possible. Only that way you find out if it's good.

The first thing is to test it out on yourself. What comes next is another level.

Once you revise the process a couple of times, you need to delegate it to someone to truly understand if the process makes sense.

If someone other than you can't execute a task based on the process you created, the process is no good.

So the next thing is to delegate it, get feedback and then adjust the process.

Process management is a cycle, a neverending story of revising and adjusting. Don't be fooled. The first draft of a process is never the final one. Just like the way you work changes, your processes need to change to and be up-to-date.

Processes don't have a finish line. You create them and you need to take care of them from time to time. If you think that the first draft is the final one, you're wrong.

Processes don't have a finish line. You create them and you need to take care of them from time to time. If you think that the first draft is the final one, you're wrong.

Here's a manual on how to keep your processes updated:

  1. Choose a repetitive task.
  2. Create a process (stick to a maximum of 10 steps).
  3. Give yourself a day or two and change the process when you feel like it.
  4. Test the process a couple of times and make changes accordingly.
  5. Once changes are made, delegate the process to another person.
  6. Let the person give you feedback.
  7. Implement the feedback.
  8. Get back to the process every once in a while to tune it even more.

How do you know when a process is really good? Although there's no universal metric for this, we think that once a process is self-explanatory it's simply perfect.

When you send your process to a colleague and he does the work without even asking you about the details, you can be sure that you're on a good way to a healthy process management system.

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