How to Streamline Your Freelance Business with the Kanban Approach

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The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a significant increase in the growth of the independent industry. According to Website Planet, there were approximately 1.1 billion freelancers worldwide in 2021.

So what drives these professionals to embrace freelancing?

In addition to better financial prospects, freedom and flexibility in choosing the type of work are the main reasons why professionals are turning to self-employment.

However, freelancers face their own share of challenges.

What challenges do freelancers face?

Here are some obstacles that freelancers face in managing their professional life.

  1. Bad time management – Freelance work requires a person to wear many hats. They must juggle various tasks and functions, from sales and marketing to accounting and project management. Juggling multiple responsibilities can consume a lot of time and effort, provided you get organized. This is why having excellent time management skills is an essential skill in the world of freelancing.
  2. Lack of concentration – The idea of ​​running multiple projects simultaneously is exciting because of the exposure and experience one gains. However, the downside here is that the freelancer finds it difficult to concentrate or go deep into an assigned task. This ultimately affects their quality of work.
  3. No motivation – In a work environment, we often have colleagues and seniors to challenge us and push us to do more. However, freelancers must move from task to task on their own. Therefore, they must motivate themselves to achieve the goals. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. More often than not, freelancers face a drop in their level of motivation, which adversely affects their work.

Besides the points mentioned above, the lack of an organized workflow has a significant impact on the motivation and productivity of a freelancer.

But the gig economy is here to stay! Freelancers concerned with improving their working style and increasing their productivity have always depended on technologically advanced tools.

Tools such as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, communication tools, project management platforms, and time tracking tools have helped freelancers overcome various challenges they face .

For example, technology has brought people from all places closer together. This means that freelancers can collaborate with clients and other stakeholders all over the world and have easier access to opportunities than before.

This globalization is triggered by the digital transformation which has allowed freelancers to opt for flexible engagement models at their convenience. As a result, freelancers have the flexibility to choose desired projects based on their expertise and regardless of demographics.

Of all the digital advancements that have helped freelancers stay organized, the role of the Kanban approach has been phenomenal.

Let’s understand the Kanban approach and how it can help freelancers improve their performance.

How the Kanban Approach Can Help Streamline Your Freelance Business

The Kanban approach is a workflow management approach to define, manage and improve your processes in order to offer the best to your customers. It helps you visualize your processes and your work to maximize its efficiency.

This approach to project management helps you identify potential bottlenecks in your workflow processes and resolve them to achieve the desired results faster and at lower cost.

Now let’s see how the Kanban approach can help you organize your business processes efficiently.

1. Track and manage customer projects

Kanban is the most widely used project management approach to manage customer projects. The Kanban board provides an excellent overview of your projects. It helps you create and manage tasks, set deadlines, and track project progress.

Along with managing tasks, you can also set priorities and deadlines for your tasks to ensure they are completed on time.

You can also use Kanban boards to keep tabs on your client meetings, phone calls, and other details. Using Kanban for client work eliminates the need for additional software applications because you can organize multiple projects and schedule the delivery of tasks at your convenience.

With the Kanban approach, you can invite your customer to collaborate with you on your board. Additionally, some project management boards like Jira provide users with role-based permissions for seamless project management.

Basecamp, a project management tool, offers excellent chat (campfire) functionality to chat with clients in real time.

Image credit: 3.basecamp-help.com; provided by the author; Thanks!

Similarly, the Jira-Slack integration allows users to chat with their customers through Slack.

Jira and Slack

Image credit: img.polontech.com; provided by the author; Thanks!

Here are some tips you can follow to speed up your processes.

  • Write a quick project scope document for each project and share it with your client.
  • Create email templates for outreach, sales pitch, and other marketing-related tasks.
  • Use invoicing software like FreshBooks or Invoicely. Jira also comes with a module to create, save and send invoices to your customers with just a few clicks.

fresh books

2. Gather content ideas

The Kanban approach can be a perfect way to brainstorm, confirm, and plan your content before it hits your editorial calendar. Gather content ideas for your freelance business by hosting dedicated brainstorming sessions, conducting market research, and tracking content requests from your audience.

You can use a Kanban board to record all ideas for future blogs, articles, eBooks, and other types of content without disrupting your work in progress. By following this approach, you will never lose content ideas in your head.

RescueTime, a productivity and time-tracking app, uses the Kanban approach to managing content ideas for its blog. This idea board is a centralized repository of content ideas for their future blog posts.

rescue time

Image credit: rescuetime.com; provided by the author; Thanks!

3. Create and manage your editorial calendar

Get out of the pain of content publishing by having an editorial calendar dedicated to your freelance business. From story ideas and drafts to finished content, you can track the entire lifecycle of your content items and manage everything seamlessly using the Kanban approach.

Using Kanban cards, you can directly store content details such as keywords, resource links, referral links, and other details about your task. You can also create custom checklists for your content items to make sure you don’t miss any step in the content creation process.

Buffer, a social media post scheduling tool, uses Trello to manage its editorial calendar.

Dampen

Image credit: zapier.com; provided by the author; Thanks!

Their simple workflow consists of six stages – Content Ideas, Pipeline, In Progress, Editing, Ready to Ship, and Shipped. The Buffer team tracks the status of the task as it moves through this workflow.

4. Manage a Social Media Calendar

Keep the pulse of your social media marketing initiatives by following a Kanban approach. Strategize, organize and publish branded content on your social media pages without breaking a sweat.

You can plan your social media strategy in small concrete steps. You can create tasks for –

  • Brainstorming story ideas
  • Content creation for publications
  • Design assets for publications
  • Publication planning
  • Post Performance Tracking
  • Engage with your audience

Here are some quick tips to better manage your social content.

  • Take advantage of design tools like Canva to design your social media posts. Canva offers over 400,000 design templates for various social media channels.
  • Use online cloud storage, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, or DropBox, to store media files, namely images, videos, and infographics.
  • Sign up for a social media scheduling app like Hootsuite or Later and take the hassle out of manually posting content to each social page.

Kanban for social media marketing can organize your social campaigns and ensure that posting to social accounts is done quickly.

5. Track outsourced work

Managing and tracking outsourced work is a problem for most freelancers. There is usually a gap in collaboration, communication and information sharing. A Kanban approach in such situations can reduce this gap significantly.

A simple Kanban board can help you track tasks and keep complete control over project progress. Share tasks with a well-written description explaining job expectations, set a priority and deadline, and other information, if needed. This will ensure that the outsourced team will be in tune with you.

You will be able to see who is doing what and identify any challenges you may face. The Kanban board also eliminates the need for multiple software applications as it gives you everything you need to manage your outsourced work.

Here are effective tactics that will help you with outsourced team management.

  • Sign your contracts, proposals, invoices and documents using a digital signature. This will significantly speed up the signing process and help save time and money.
  • Communicate frequently with the outsourced team. Hold regular stand-ups and weekly meetings to discuss the progress of your projects.
  • Share with the team the required resources (writing guidelines, design guidelines, project scope and other information about your company and projects) before starting work.

6. Share a public roadmap

Listening to your audiences and providing a solution to their weak points contributes significantly to strengthening your brand image. Similarly, public feedback is also an important factor that should not be overlooked.

Having a Kanban board to capture feedback and requests from your customers is the most beneficial approach. You can further make this board public and give your customers access so that they can drop their comments or thoughts seamlessly.

Trello, the famous project management software, has a dedicated advice to manage feature requests from its customers.

Trello

Conclusion

To improve productivity and streamline their processes, freelancers need to focus on making their workflow smooth. One way to do this is to use the Kanban approach.

If you’re a freelancer looking to streamline your business, this approach will help you get your work delivered faster. It will strike the right balance between priority and deliverables at hand. So go ahead and use the Kanban approach to stay organized and increase your productivity and revenue. Happy freelancing!

Top Image Credit: Pexels; Thanks!

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