clients

Symple 1.1 - AutoPay

Last week we launched Symple 1.1! This release bring the ability to set your payments on autopilot with “AutoPay”. Just turn it on and choose the payment terms. Now when a partner sends an invoice you no longer need to manually manage paying them.

Forecast - Clients

The more clients I work with, the harder it is to get a gist of the contributions each client makes to my yearly turnover. It can also be surprising when you find out a project that exhausts and drains you is only contributing 5% of your annual turnover.

Having this kind of information is really powerful when organising your workload and deciding which clients to drop and which to keep.

We have just rolled out new Clients feature which helps you with these decisions. In Forecast there is a new “Clients” tab which simple displays a easily digestible summary of all your clients for the last 12 months along with your income from each client and the overall percentage. Forecast will also highlight any client that accounts for over 35% of your income (don’t put all your eggs in one basket!).

[Sign Up Now!](https://forecast.money/register)

Scheduling Meetings With (Prospective) Clients

Almost 9 months into freelancing and I'm finding that the number of prospective clients is becoming a relatively steady flow. 🎉

Though some of my clients I have never actually spoken to (even during the "introduction") the majority I have always had an initial chat with. This is usually a 30 minutes call on Hangouts.

However, this amazing situation brings a lot more of this:

> me - Can you do this time > them - no, can you do this time > me - no, can you do this time > ...
— old me
Without being able to see the other persons calendar, the only option is to choose a random time that I can do. This can lead the scenario above which is a waste of time and if you're both stretched across multiple timezones it can take a while to come to a conclusion.

Solution

The other day I found a service called Calendly. The TLDR; Calendly gives you a link that you can share with the client. This link shows them all your available times in their time zone. All the client has to do is select which slot they want!

This then adds a calendar event. If you use Google Calendar, it can be setup to contain a Hangouts link, though Calendly does integrate with GoToMeeting.

Though my favourite feature is that you can limit the number of events per a day. I limit this to 1 so that my productivity isn't destroyed by lots of calls.

This is what my availability looks like:

iOS Freelancer Diaries #2 - Prospective Clients

Today marks three week since I started freelancing. It's crazy how fast it's gone by. These last three weeks have been all about one thing; sales!

If there's one thing I've learnt, it's to never stop selling. You might think a project is in the bag, but until the deposit has been paid it is not guaranteed (even then you never truly know). Already have a two month project? Then you should be aiming to book a project for after.

Stats

  • Number of deals: 15
  • Deals lost: 5
  • Proposals written: 4
  • Estimated value of all proposals: £71,500 - £91,500

Organising Deals

To help me keep track of all my deals I am using a website called Pipedrive. This is what my Pipedrive dashboard looks like:

Pipedrive uses a similar layout to a Kanban board. You can add, remove or change any of the columns to suit your needs and add or move cards ("deals") around the board. It also has a load of other features like: bcc'n emails and "activities", but I like to just keep it simple.

Contact Made

Once there has been two way communication between the prospective client and I, I will add a deal to the Contact Made column. During this time we would have spoken about the project so that I can get an understanding of the main concept. It is also very important to check that they are aware of costs, time and my payment terms. If app development is new to the client I usually highlight a small and large portfolio piece of mine and explain how long they roughly took to complete.

Proposal In Progress

I've uploaded my proposal template on Github for anyone to use. It's pretty straight forward. I start off with describing the audience of the project. Working on Togethera taught me that building for your audience is crucial. Then I move onto an overview of the app; this is basically a user story of the main flow of the app.

Next it's the technical overview. If I'm also building the web API I will layout some rough model designs. These are not final but it's a very useful exercise to get an overview of how to organise the data. For the app I write a overview of all the potential screens. If there are already designs, then I put an image of each screen into the proposal and give an overview of it's functionality. Throughout the proposal I also highlight any questions, recommendations or ideas that I have.

Depending on the size of the app there could be a couple of "main features". These are the focus of the app. Is it a weather app? Then viewing the weather forecast is the "main feature". For the main features, I just go into more depth.

If the screens haven't been designed yet then I'll use POP to put together a mockup. I write about doing this in a previous post.

The majority of projects will use third party services. Whether that's S3 for file storage or Intercom for customer support, I write them all down. Sometimes they won't have their own SDK's so I might need to write a small (or maybe large!) library for the API.

Below this I highlight any unknowns that I have. Having too many unknowns makes it hard to give a semi-accurate estimate.

Last but not least, is the estimate. This will either be a single value or a range.

Proposal Made

Once the proposal has been sent, I'll move the deal into the Proposal Made column. From here it will either go two ways: they reply and the deal is moved into Negotiations Started or I don't hear anything back...

Don't panic, it's cool, they don't hate you.

So far, pretty much every time the client has been refining or rethinking the idea, trimming down on some feature or just awaiting input from their colleagues. After about a week I usually send a follow up email to check if they had a chance to look at the proposal and if they have any questions.