So as I am nearing my first anniversary of working for myself, as a graphic designer,I would love to reflect on some of the tools and applications that have helped me with my day to day organisation of my business.
When I first started I was setting up all my invoices manually, and tracking job numbers using excel. I found this system hard to keep things organised and also felt I was getting to emotionally involved with the amounts I was invoicing
Xero. It’s being my invoice savior, I find it so much easier to input the hours or quantity and Xero completes the calculation for me. This helps me keep myself emotionally detached and run my business professionally.
It is essential to keep track of the time you spend on each project, either you are charging as hourly rate, or your quote has being based on an estimated time limit.
Working as an in house designer, I would be asked how much time I spent on a project? I would have to estimate the amount on the spot, and once again I found myself under valuing my work by under estimating my hours.
There must be a better way? There are plenty of designers out there, how to they track time?
Toggl time tracking software…my savior, it is available in desktop and website format. Toggl’s features include; tracking time, creating projects and clients, summary reports and weekly reports to see how your time was being used.You can also manage projects where you can add billable rates, task and project time estimation’s.
I heart toggl.com; it’s being a fantastic find.
To do List: Wunderlist.com
So as you discover early on, your life is a lot easier if you create a list of priority’s, work out what’s important and what you need to achieve each day.
But if you are disorganised as I can be, you can sometimes lose important notes, resulting in a lot of stress and bad relationships with clients.
My tool of choice is Wunderlist; this is an application that’s goal is to help you tick off all your professional and personal to-dos. It is run though the cloud so you are able to access your lists via your mobile or log into any computer. You are able to assign projects to your team, add notes, and put the deadline in the calendar and share! What more could you ask for.
File Sharing: Dropbox.com
Dropbox is my go to make my work life easier.Once you put your files in Dropbox, you can access them from anywhere as it’s a cloud based, so on your phone or IPad, you can open or share files anywhere or anytime.Another feature is sharing, folders or files, if you are calibrating with a team or need to send something bigger than email size to a client, and dropbox makes it possible.
I think these programs really help my day-to-day organisation and planning, so I can focus on my bigger goals of creating fantastic brand identity’s for my clients.
Just remember, if you are struggling and you think it’s a problem that other people in your position may relate to…there is most likely an existing solution.