Organizing Your Business with Project Jackets

Right now you may be sitting in your studio or office, you’ve just started down the road as an entrepreneur and have a few client projects on the table. You’re able to organize them by laying the projects out on the desk in front of you and are able to recognize them just by the piece of paper and the pen that you used to write them out with. So you may not feel that you need project jackets for your studio. The truth is that you will grow, you will get more clients, and you will get tighter deadlines. At that point the days of recognizing projects at a glance will be gone. You will need some type of system that will help you keep track of the projects that are live on the board. May I introduce the project jacket. You may have even heard of these before as many artist use them, but what do you put on them and how does the system work?

Project jackets aren’t rocket science but can save your life down the road. What you put on the project jacket is up to you and everyone may be a little different based upon the services they offer. The first thing you need is a place for a tracking number. When we were a smaller organization I used to use the date (20120111) and would add a letter if I got another project on the same day. That worked for a while until the days started mixing together. So now we just create stickers that can be put on the front in sequential order. You will need a due date and an order date for the project. We also add customer numbers to each new client, that helps in tracking the growth of the business. You will need a space for a contact name, company name, phone, email, and address. You will want to add a spot for the type of project (book illustration etc), and any special instructions. I also add some empty space that I can write down a call log as to when I spoke with people on the project.

So I created all that information on a Word document and print it off on the front of a 9×12 envelope. You now have the important information on the front and a place to insert notes, sketches, etc that relate to the project. Once the project is completed the whole envelope gets filed in the cabinet. We use this system faithfully for projects, events, and more and it has worked well for us, hopefully it will work for you as well.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an illustrator and consultant from Southern Ontario Canada. For more information on Bruce please visit his website at www.bruceoutridgeproductions.com

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