There are many ways to organize your office. I must admit I am usually rather organized and was determined to start my freelance business as organized as possible so I would not have to catch up later.
Personally, I go back and forth between the paper filing system of manila folders in file cabinets. I like the comfort in knowing the paper is always there as a backup. The downside to a file cabinet is you have to be at your office in order to retrieve this information.
An electronic version has become more valuable to me for filing. As soon as there is first contact with a new client, I create a file folder with their company name on it. Also included ins an estimate sheet that lists the project name and breaks down pricing information that I plan to charge for the project.
within my client folder is also an invoice tracking sheet. As soon as I send off an invoice to a client, I track this information. I have found this to be of great benefit to me because I can look to this sheet anytime I want to know what clients have yet to pay. This has also a great way to analyze my freelance income quickly to make sure I am meeting my goals and it makes for a quick printout for the tax man.
I have a folder devoted to templates. If you are running your business without templates, you are probably using more time than necessary. Here is a list of templates I regularly use.
Discovery Questions – use for each potential client to find out their needs and how I can help.
Contact Log Sheet – keeps track of each time I email or phone a client
Editing Agreement – my contract which is always signed before work is started
Billable Hours – so the client will never question how you spent your time on their project.
Invoice – a must if I want to get paid for my work
Letter for referral – I always ask my clients if they know people who could use my services
Testimonial – important for credibility. I also enjoy hearing how the project was of benefit to their company.
How do you stay organized? Do you prefer paper filing or electronic? What other ways to you stay organized? Please comment below with helpful tips.