According to G2, an average freelancer works 36 hours a week. Your working hours could be close to or far from this data, but have you ever estimated how much of those hours are going behind non-billable work? Be it managing files, coordinating with team members, communicating with clients, or managing your daily workflow, you spend long hours every single day managing operational tasks, as they are vital for your business – and document workflow management software could help save you so much time.
If you want to scale higher, remove inefficiencies, and streamline the way you manage your freelance business, you need effective document workflow management software to help you out. Think of it as a trusted personal assistant who keeps a tab of your workflow, keeps your documents safe, helps you function better, and improves operational efficiency.
In this article, we are going to give you a roadmap of how you can implement document workflow management software and transform the way you operate your freelance business.
What is Document Workflow Management Software?
Document workflow software helps in creating, monitoring, editing, storing, retrieving, and maintaining documents and keeping a tab of workflows that are vital to various business procedures. Digital document workflows eliminate the need for tedious paperwork, making day-to-day operations a lot more seamless and optimized.
Why Do You Need Document Workflow Software for Your Freelance Business?
Document workflow management software has the potential to elevate the way you run your freelance business. It empowers you with a suite of powerful tools to efficiently manage your workflow, and at the same time, improve the quality and security of your deliverables.
As a freelancer, you often have to juggle between multiple tasks—sometimes you’re the business owner, sometimes the marketing manager, and sometimes you’re the customer service executive. An effective document workflow software helps keep a tab of your workflows and important business processes, facilitates the automation of repetitive tasks, and helps you stay more productive. In case you have a team to assist you, the software makes it easy to collaborate on tasks, access documents from the centralized repository, and keep a tab of progress on individual projects.
When you’re handling documents manually, your business processes can become prey to errors and inaccuracies. These might lead to poor work quality or even an unprecedented delay in delivery. Besides disrupting your workflows, the errors also create dissatisfaction among stakeholders and affect your reputation as a professional. Workflow management software helps eliminate this worry—it keeps all of your documents organized, makes workflows seamless, and cuts down the possibility of making mistakes.
Fast workflows increase your productivity and reduce human errors, saving you big bucks in the long run. Manually organizing business documents and processes can become expensive, as you’ll have to invest in a data-entry team and bear the hefty labor costs. The expense of fixing errors also adds up to the cost. By switching to a document workflow management software you can eliminate the need for additional resources and leverage automation, and you’ll end up saving tons of time and money.
Workflow management software gives you and your team the freedom and flexibility to work remotely, without disrupting day-to-day work. As a freelance professional, you might want to hire overseas freelancers to collaborate on projects. Workflow tools allow cloud-based collaboration, so your team can access and work on documents from anywhere in the world. The tool also makes it easy to keep a tab on project progress with real-time updates.
When you’re working with sensitive client data and insights, you want to keep the information safe from data breaches. This is something you can easily take care of using a document workflow tool. Your documents are safely stored in the cloud, preventing any risk of unauthorized access or getting hacked.
Implementing Document Workflow Management Software for Freelancers
Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you gauge your present workflow and optimize it with document workflow management software.
1.Create A Process Map
Create a map or a flow chart to understand what your existing workflow looks like. Include all relevant details in the process map, such as the tasks involved in each step of the process, the people responsible for carrying out the tasks, resources required, timelines, and anything else that might be specific to your industry. With this map right in front of you, you’ll have better visibility of your workflow, and it’ll be easier to locate areas for improvement to streamline the processes.
2. Identify KPIs
Now it’s time to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) related to these steps—for example, the time required at each step, frequency of errors, rate of conversion, hourly rate, and total profit, to mention a few. Note these down, and benchmark your existing metrics. This will help you track the improvement in KPIs after implementing a document workflow tool.
3. Find Bottlenecks
When you have the process map laid in front of you, you can closely look at the areas that require improvement. Be it an issue with booking new leads, managing multiple clients, following up with prospects, personalizing interactions, or managing complex workflows, you have to proactively detect where you’re going wrong. If you’re finding it difficult to scale your business, this step is crucial for you.
4. Create Custom Workflow
Now that you know what your typical workflow looks like and what are the problem areas you’d want to improve, it’s time to build your own custom workflow. You can do it in minutes with a document workflow management software like Bloom. All you have to do is click on the “Add Workflow” button, create your workflow, edit the tasks and task stages, and you’re good to go.
The best thing about Bloom is that it gives you the freedom to personalize your workflows. Need to move a task from one stage to another? Need to add custom statuses (Started/Paused/Done or anything of your choice)? Want to create sub-tasks? Bloom can make your workflow tailor-made for your business.
5. Use Automation
When you have multiple clients, automation is your best friend. You may not have the time to manually respond to every query or follow up with every prospect, but Bloom can help you do all of these with email automation. Whether it’s payment reminders, lead capture follow-up, booking reminders, sending out questionnaires to leads, or wishing clients on their birthdays, it’s possible to automate everything and ensure excellent customer service.
6. Track Performance
After implementing the workflow software, you have to track the KPIs from time to time and compare them with previous records to make sure you’re working towards growth. During this step, you’ll understand if you’ve been successful in eliminating the bottlenecks, and whether you’ve improved performance and operational efficiency.
Must-Have Features to Look Out for in A Document Workflow Management Software
Whether you’re managing your freelance business all by yourself or you have a team to help you out, workflow software is a must-have. Wondering how to pick the right software that actually moves the needle? Keep these features in mind:
Cookie-cutter workflows can be restrictive, especially if you’re in a creative field offering a variety of services. Look for a tool like Bloom that offers custom workflows, so you can personalize the workflows to meet your specific business needs. The tool should give you a clear view of the ongoing and upcoming projects for different clients, with the option to re-arrange tasks, view invoice status, and tick off tasks once you’ve finished them. These small details have the power to transform the way you manage workflows.
Managing clients effectively and delivering stellar customer experience are two key things you have to keep in mind to grow your freelance business. When you’re getting started with any document workflow management software, ensure that it doubles up as a CRM tool. Keeping track of all client communication and information relevant to projects, following up with previous clients, and adding a personal touch to the way you interact with clients—these are some features you can unlock with Bloom.
c. Lead Management
As a professional or freelancer, you are constantly searching for new leads, prospects are reaching out to you through different channels, and a certain number of prospects are converting to clients. The software you choose should offer lead management feature so you can keep a tab of new leads, locate their source, add tags for easy access, check their status (whether the lead is active, paused, or inactive), and follow up automatically when required.
d. Invoicing and Payments
According to a report by The Independent Economy Council, 74% of independent professionals are not getting paid on time. As a freelancer, try to make the payment process hassle-free for your clients. To facilitate this, look for a software that has the option to raise invoices and supports payments. Bloom can be a great option here—it comes with a free invoice generator, integrates with popular payment solutions, provides your clients with the option to auto-pay retainers, and uses ACH to avoid hefty credit card fees on transactions.
e. Contract Organization
When you close multiple clients, you have to create contracts for each client and get them signed before the projects begin. The document workflow software you use should offer seamless contract management with ready-to-use templates, along with the provision to add custom project variables and auto-countersign. All of your contracts should ideally be in one place. This way you can retrieve and customize them as needed for your projects, and save tons of time.
Investing in powerful document workflow software is a strategic move that can transform your freelance business for the better. The key lies in opting for a tool that offers a user-friendly interface, contains multiple features within one platform, keeps your documents organized, enables you to meet deadlines, and helps improve client satisfaction. Bloom is one such tool that will keep you on top of your workflows and keep all of your business needs in one place. Get started today for free!