So, I know it’s been a while since the last post in this series, and I thank y’all for your patience. In case you’ve forgotten ( or you’re new to these parts ), we’ve talked about to do lists, emails, and digital files. However, that’s not all that we typically have at hand, right? I know many of us freelancers actually keep digital and physical copies of our paperwork for clients, and that can be a handful to get organized as well. So, that’s the topic of today’s post: client paperwork!
Just a few months ago ( right before graduation, actually ) I realized that with this year being my first real year in business, it was time to get serious about tracking income. Around the same time it dawned on me that I needed a more organized way to keep track of where I was in each freelance project as well as the list of things that needed to be done. I reached out on Twitter to see how people kept up with all of their paperwork, and the general consensus was a binder with dividers. So, that’s what I did, and here’s what’s come up it:
I grabbed a basic binder and a set of five dividers. The dividers are broken down into Current Projects, projects from January – March, April – June, July – September, and October – December. For each project I print out invoices and contracts, and I also have a project planner sheet which is basically a master to do list for each project. The projects are put in the current folder by when they’re taken on, and the other folders by when they were finished. I also keep a few extra project planner sheets in the front of the binder, so I can grab one after I’ve gotten the other documents printed out.
Here’s the thing – you may think it’s unnecessary to have all this stuff printed out when most people are going digital instead. For me the project planner was the main kicker. I found myself forgetting those little parts of some projects, and that’s not okay. The great thing(s) about that page is it divides each project, helps me keep track of start + end dates, when payments are made, important notes on the project, and as I mentioned earlier – it’s also a master to do list.
Printing these things and keeping them organized helps ( me ) keep better track of my projects and what I need to be doing. It’s a great physical way to see how much work I’m doing each quarter, and if anyone was ever to dispute a project and ( heaven forbid ) something happened to my digital files, I’ll have the physical records to back myself up. Also, I don’t mind keeping both versions because I love having the physical copies and putting pen to paper when I know I’ll forget otherwise.
So what about you? Do you keep physical copies of your client paperwork? How do you keep it all organized?