There comes a time in a small business’ growth that the owner’s management tasks take over the technical ones. When I started out about 80% of my time was spent building websites. As my business has grown I’ve had to deal with more support, administration, marketing, and project management. This has left less time for ‘doing the work’ (i.e. the billable stuff), but that’s just the way it goes.
The problem is that the jobs I’m having to deal with more and more, are the things that I’m not all that good at. I love designing and building websites. I also love talking to clients and helping them out when they need it. I even enjoy the marketing and sales side of things.
Why I need a manager
There are three business personalities; entrepreneurs, managers, and technicians. Between me and my team we have two of those covered. What we don’t have, and what I’m not built to be, is a manager.
There are things that I know I should be doing on a daily and weekly basis, that I’m just not getting done. I’m not good at routine. There are four main areas where I think I really need help: scheduling, planning, sales, and communication.
My biggest issue of all is scheduling. I find it really difficult to keep track of various projects, deadlines, budgets, etc. I’ve tried various tools to help, but the time commitment of keeping everything up-to-date has been too much. I’ve found that web development is almost too fluid to make these tools effective.
The next biggest issue, and it’s related to scheduling, is planning. Up until now I’ve been too reactive. I often let my inbox dictate my day’s work. I’d love to have a plan for the next day/week/month.
Better planning and scheduling would also help with sales. When a new prospect asks if I can get a job done by next month, I often struggle to know what our current workload actually is.
Finally, there’s communication. I want to be more responsive to my clients. In the future I’d like to be giving clients daily and weekly updates with progress, deadlines, and budget expectations.
Do freelance web project managers exist?
I did a quick Google search for ‘freelance web project manager’ and didn’t get a lot back. Does this magical person exist?
What I was thinking was having someone come in (not physically) for an hour or two a day to keep things ticking over. Would that work?
I’d love to hear from you
Are you also suffering from this? Are you a freelance project manager who can help? I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me @keithdevon or reply in the comments.