It took a few contracts under my belt, but I eventually realized each new client brought with it a slew of new information I had to keep track of in order to work with them. From people to passwords, I quickly learned I could not keep it all in my head and needed a way to manage it. Enter Google Docs, or more precisely, Google Sheets. A simple sheet with two tabs I labeled "People" and "Places" for storing all those bits of info. You might not think there's all that much to track, but if you're self-employed, you have to interact with many people and places every day to do business and the little bits add up.
The "People" tab is self-explanatory by its label, but "Places" is broader in meaning. I generally use this tab for urls and server paths I need to access with a particular client. And these places often come with unique user names and passwords. I prefer using Google Sheets for this task because I then have access to the information from home and work computers and my phone.
The following are ideas for content you might put under each tab in your spreadsheet. The more you rely on this sheet, the more it will grow throughout your contract.
- Human Resources
- Payroll Processing
- Tech Support
- Client Personnel
- 3rd Party Contacts (Recruiters that placed you in your role, etc.)
- Project Leads
- Your client's time tracking site
- Any 3rd party time tracking site you use
- Server Paths (Network locations for folders you need to access, etc.)
- URLs for corporate sites (intranets, project management sites, etc.)
I've made the Google Doc one of the first items I create whenever I begin working with a new client. Even if I only have a few items in the beginning, it invariably grows over time and increases in usefulness.
How do you keep track of this kind of info? Do you have suggestions of your own?