How do you manage workflow as you attempt to deliver to multiple clients in your memoir-based writing business?
If a full schedule is just a pipe dream now, this information will be useful even if you have only one, two or three clients.
Your company will eventually have multiple projects going on at the same time, each in various stages of production. How do you schedule multiple clients so that you manage workflow reasonably?
Manage Workflow—How to schedule multiple clients and projects
Here are several ideas for keeping all the plates spinning!
- Create traffic visuals. This can be a wall-mounted traffic board, a printed sheet for a three-ring binder, or an Excel worksheet on a computer screen or printed. Post tasks assigned to you and to other people in the office or to freelancers you work with. For best results make it graphic and public—even if you are the only person in your office. Make it easy to check regularly by “having it in your face.” Maintaining an up-to-date traffic visual requires some attention and consistency but there is no better way to organize work traffic during a time when everyone wants a finished product—today.
- Underpromise and overdeliver.“Too much work” is a creative, exciting problem. “Not enough” is a debilitating and exhausting one. Getting through “too much” is made possible by underpromising and overdelivering. Always hedge in some way about early delivery. Give the clients later dates and so give yourself some time for correcting mistakes or fit in another demanding project. (Remember there are two kinds of problems: mine and yours.) If the client has procrastinated in finishing a manuscript, that ought not to be a reason for you to pre-empt your schedule to get their project done on their schedule. By underpromising, if something goes awry on your end, you will have covered yourself by quoting a conservative end date! (If you find yourself with “not enough” work go into outreach / marketing mode—immediately.)
- Postpone your start. It is perfectly okay to tell a client that you can’t start their project until some later date. If the client is buying on your value, the client will wait and you will complete other projects to which you have committed (and you will have some time for a personal life in the meantime). This is an effective way to manage workflow traffic.
- Reschedule deadlines that are arbitrarily assigned. Be aware of the urgency—or lack of urgency— of each project and reschedule accordingly. When a client asks for a deadline, aren’t we inclined to be accommodating? Before you promise anything, check on the urgency of this deadline.Some clients may not have a firm deadline. Others may be very pressed. When you are overscheduled, review your deadlines and negotiate with clients to ascertain which are the ones that were assigned arbitrarily and can be scheduled. This will give your more time. Some clients actually don’t care much about deadlines!
Here’s a link to an article which is accompanied by a recording on how to grow your memoir business.
How do you manage workflow with multiple clients and projects in your writing memoir based business? Share your tips in the comments below!