THE VIEWS

Airtable is THE project management tool of choice for solopreneurs selling services (that’s a mouthful!). The reason is two words :: FORM VIEWS.

YOUR DEFAULT GRID VIEW

As always with Airtable, you start with the Grid View. Any field you create here becomes an entry for your form. Any customization you apply to your field – such as multiple selection or checkboxes – is then applied to your Form View.

FORM VIEWS

When you switch to your Form View, you may notice that you have fields you don’t want in your form. For instance, you may have fields for your reference that you don’t need your applicants to see. You can add and remove fields from within your Form View and they will continue to exist in your Grid View. If you decide you need to add a question to your form, that entry will get tacked onto the end of your grid. Should you have a field you removed from your form, it will still exist for your reference in the grid.

You can also set your fields to REQUIRED. Unless someone completes these sections, they will not be able to submit their form. Handy feature!

CALENDAR VIEWS

Another handy feature when working with clients is to make use of the Calendar View. As you manage your projects and due dates, it’s great to be able to see what is due today, next week or perhaps what you’re overdue to follow-up on. In the same way as the changes you make to your form are reflected in your grid, you’ll find that if you drag-and-drop a project from one date to another, that changed date will be reflected in your Grid View as well.

KANBAN VIEWS

Finally, there’s the Kanban View. I’ve set up two Kanban views :: the first to stack each stage of delivery and the second to stack project phases. The type of energy you’re bringing to onboarding a client versus fulfilling the actual project versus following up with a past client is very different. Let’s say you’re a graphic designer and every Tuesday is dedicated exclusively to design work. You can ignore everything else and simply address your PROJECT stack and knock out your deliverables without distraction.

Let’s geek out over how we’re going to manage the actual workload, shall we?

 

CLIENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

The stages of delivery and your project process is unique to how you “do you”. I’m not going to delve deeply into the world of workflows here but if you want a blueprint to managing your clients, I have four done-for-you workflow templates you can snatch up here.

PROJECT DELIVERY

As I alluded to in the Kanban View, this example has us rolling out with 3 project phases :: pre-project, project, and post-project.

Within each phase, I’ve established different stages of delivery. This allows you to keep track of what has been done, what is coming due, and ensures you don’t miss anything important, like a contract or a payment.

The way I’ve set this up is by including a DUE DATE as well as prompts within the stages. You’ll see that the first entry of the table is Joan Jett at the POST-PROJECT phase. We are waiting for our FIRST FOLLOW-UP with her, which I’ve indicated should take place 30 days later. Whatever date you completed the last stage on, you would then add 30 days to that and replace your DUE DATE with this new DUE DATE. This way, your Calendar View will show that on that 30 day mark, it’s time to show up for miss Joan.

ACTIVE VS. INACTIVE PROJECTS

What happens when you’ve completed a project? I’m personally not a huge fan of deleting client information, which is why I create an ARCHIVED field with a checkbox. I then apply a FILTER to remove from view any ARCHIVED entries. Likewise, if I host a consult call and that person and I aren’t a good fit, I prefer creating a NOT A GOOD FIT checkbox field over deleting the person. After all, I may think of something or someone who is a good fit and I want to have that person’s information to refer to.

You can also create a new table for each quarter or year, depending on your workload. I would recommend you DUPLICATE the table without records and essentially archive your “old” table or even export it as a spreadsheet in case you would ever want to reference it again.

EXTRA-AUTOMATED

If your email marketing service (like ConvertKit, Mailerlite, ActiveCampaign, etc.) uses automations, you could always integrate your Airtable Base to handle some of your stages for you. I get more in-depth with this in my course {AIRTABLE LIKE A BOSS} but in short, you could create a zap via Zapier to make the two platforms play nice. Essentially, every time a new record is created (see :: someone submits a form), your zap would 1) add that contact to your email list and 2) funnel them through a sequence that automates the delivery of things like  welcome packages and contracts and follow-ups.

(Another video? Yups! I decided I had more to say on this.)

AIRTABLE VS. CRM

PROJECT VS. CLIENT ENERGY

Managing your clients and managing your workload requires a totally different mindset. I know a lot of service-based freelancers will us a program like Dubsado or 17hats to manage clients, but use Trello or Asana for their projects. You don’t have to do that with Airtable because you’re able to separate the two while still keeping them linked.

While your client onboarding and management happens in one table, you’d create another table to manage your actual project work. Active projects can then be linked to this table and unlinked when they’re inactive. This way, all you’re seeing is the work you have to deliver on rather than the maintenance of your clients. I would even encourage you to delegate the maintenance of your client management table to a virtual assistant so you can then focus on just doing the voodoo that you do.

PROPOSALS + QUOTES

If you’re willing to upgrade your free Airtable account, you can access the PAGE DESIGNER Block. This block will allow you to create PDF templates you can use to produce quotes and proposals as you would with a traditional CRM. You can even email these through Airtable, again by using the Blocks feature with the paid version. Just like everything else with Airtable, it’s about maximizing your ability to customize how you want to view, track and see through your work.

WANNA GRAB THE AIRTABLE BASE USED IN THE VIDEOS AND PICTURES FEATURED IN THIS POST?