Overview of hardware & software:
'09 MacBook Pro, 17"
(iCal, Address Book, Mail - these all synced via USB)
I keep my accounting isolated from my phone, because I've found that some clients have special requests for how to address invoices for USPS, so I don't want it to sync.
Automatic hourly, daily, and weekly backups via WiFi & Time Capsule. This backs up ALL of my files, including iPhone backups, quickbooks data, and the main "work" folder.
Internal Data Management
Custom interface / open source backend (database of clients, leads, billing cycles, etc)
For the first 8+ years of operation, this "database" existed of a bunch of Excel spreadsheets. Recently, I started building this into the "Client Login" on my site, which gives me better flexibility for searching and sorting, expansion, and easy "export to excel" features for when I do mailings and the like.
Looking at my old excel file, these were the column headings:
- Company (Who am I building the site for? e.g. ABC Company)
- Contact (Who did I send the proposal to? Directly to the company? An agency?)
- Date Sent
- Last Follow Up (Date)
- Amount ($$$)
- Notes (Who referred this client? Or if the lead came from a particular marketing campaign, which one?)
Files & Folders:
I keep one main "Work" folder on my local drive. I've found that having a separate "account" on the computer is too much work to make a separate one for my "personal" stuff, and one for "work," so this "Work" folder just sits under my "user" folder:
If you're on a PC:
/documents and settings/Nate/My Documents/Work
Or wherever it makes sense for you.
Then, from here, I break down into a bunch of main folders:
- Clients (each client gets a separate folder. this also applies to Mail, where each client also has their own folder.)
- Internal (my company stuff here)
- Proposals (new leads go here. logic: if you haven't given me money yet, you're not in the "clients" folder)
- Reference (industry resources, script libraries, open source platforms, etc)
Now looking directly at one of my client's folders... this is broken down into the same type of sub-folder structure for consistency:
- Archive (anything I won't need again goes here - old proposals, outdated site content, PDF copies of paid invoices, etc)
- Artwork (Photoshop files, Illustrator, and any other high-resolution artwork goes here)
- Backups (I keep at least one backup copy of every client's site on file - just in case)
- Drafts (Rough drafts, wireframes, and any pre-design concept files go here)
- Copy (Site content - usually in Word format - from the client)
- Notes.txt (a plain text file containing a journal of client activity, notes, account information, reference links, etc)
- Photos (any photos the client / photographer sends)
So an example client's "Photos" folder would be here:
On my calendar (iCal), I have these categories:
- Clients (meeting reminders, etc)
- Internal (reminders for company / marketing events)
- Leads (reminders for meetings with prospective clients)
- Accounting (monthly invoicing, quarterly tax reminders)
- Personal (anything not work-related)
I sync my notes over Gmail / IMAP between my iPhone and laptop:
- Hot list - my main to do list, client tasks, proposals to write, calls to return
- Internal - marketing and internal company notes. (This is where I'm writing this post's rough draft.)
- Taxes - financial notes
I can't have any messages in my inbox; this is probably some form of OCD. My inbox is for messages I haven't read yet. If I've already read it, it gets stored in the respective client folder. And if I need to respond to it, I flag it and use a smart mailbox to show me all of the flagged messages at once. Then I go through them in a first in - first out order. On a normal day, I spend a few hours going through my email / support tickets, then I work on my hot list and internal note / task lists.
Please use the "comments" box below if you want me to expand on any points, or if you have any time-saving suggestions.