19 Comments

Summary:

Throughout our careers we freelancers experience alternating seasons of high and low activity. While we may still have projects during seasons of low activity, they may not be as demanding or as regular. During high-activity months, however, we have several leads and potential clients sending queries […]

Throughout our careers we freelancers experience alternating seasons of high and low activity. While we may still have projects during seasons of low activity, they may not be as demanding or as regular. During high-activity months, however, we have several leads and potential clients sending queries to our inbox.

To some freelancers, keeping track of these leads is just as easy as remembering them. But for those freelancers — like me — who are on the forgetful side, we need to have a system in place. Because of this, I’ve created a spreadsheet to manage my leads. After all, I don’t want to leave potential clients hanging.

Here’s how you can make a similar spreadsheet yourself.

The Columns on the Spreadsheet

The image above shows an example of the spreadsheet I use, but with fictional entries. You can create additional columns if necessary, since we all have different needs. Add whatever factors are important to you. Some freelancers might want columns for expected pay, expected total work hours, etc. As for me, I just included the ones that I’ve found essential to keep track of, such as:

  • Organization. This column contains the name of the organization, business, or company that’s planning on working with me. If an individual is hiring me, I simply put his or her name in this field.
  • Job type. Since most freelancers wear different hats, we tend to be interested in a variety of projects. In the example above, a freelance writer’s job types may include writing e-books, blog posts, sales letters or site copy. On the other hand, a graphic designer may have the following items: logo, web site, or product packaging. For automatic input, I made a drop-down menu listing all the job types, which means that I don’t need to type in the text.
  • Contact person. When communicating with an organization, I only find myself coordinating the details with one contact person. So that I don’t get names mixed up, I make sure to include the contact person for each lead. That way, if I need to know more about a job I know who to talk to. On a separate column is the contact information such as their email address or phone number.
  • Submission date. This is the date that the query was submitted — whether I’m the one who applied for the job or the lead came to me.
  • Last contact date. Knowing the last date of contact allows me to follow up on the lead appropriately. If it’s been a week since I last heard from the organization, I may need to follow up on the lead. Instead of searching my email or social networking inboxes for the last contact date, I can easily refer to the sheet.
  • Status. Like the “Job Type” field, I made a drop-down menu for the status of the lead. This tells me if I got the job, if it was rejected, or if the decision is still pending. For easy reference, I applied conditional formatting to the different status items. For “Rejected” I used a dark blue font color, green for “Accepted”, and bright red for “Pending”. This is so that my attention is drawn to the pending projects whenever I’m looking at the sheet.
  • Notes. Any miscellaneous notes, comments, and other remarks go to this field. Filling this in is optional.

Tips and Resources

I use OpenOffice Calc for all my spreadsheets, but you might be more at ease with another program altogether (Excel or Google Spreadsheets, for example). Here’s a list of relevant tutorials that can help you compose your own lead tracking spreadsheet on your favorite program:

How do you keep track of job leads during busy months? Are you able to remember them all or do you need a more thorough system?

Photo credit: stock.xchng user michu633

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By Celine Roque

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  1. Looks good, the only other column which I would add is a ‘Value of Sale’ just so you can see which jobs are worth chasing first!!!

  2. Great tips. I like how you keep it simple.

    But this looks like a great “web 2.0″ application opportunity. Automatically updating “Last Contact” based on e-mail/twitter/etc…. That kind of application must already exist, have you seen and try some?

  3. Hi,

    We are opening a new branch of our office. I plan to perform freelance project also. It will really help me a lot.

    Thanks to the webmaster.

  4. How to Track Freelance Job Leads Via Spreadsheet | JAENUDIN TAUFIK PERSONAL BLOG Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    [...] the original: How to Track Freelance Job Leads Via Spreadsheet var addthis_pub = 'exil0r'; var addthis_language = 'en';var addthis_options = 'email, favorites, [...]

  5. A tool like BatchBook (free edition) has been a great tool for my startup web development business. It’s a CRM tool for keeping track of tasks, customer contact/communications, and deals. It’s a good way to see what jobs you’re landing, not landing and you can leave notes as to why you think you didn’t get the job.

    1. Looks interesting. I’ll give it a try.

  6. Track Freelance Job Pitches with a Spreadsheet [Freelancing] · TechBlogger Thursday, December 10, 2009

    [...] when it’s due, who you’re still waiting to hear back from, and who you can move past. How to Track Freelance Job Leads Via Spreadsheet [Web Worker [...]

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    [...] when it’s due, who you’re still waiting to hear back from, and who you can move past. How to Track Freelance Job Leads Via Spreadsheet [Web Worker [...]

  8. I really like this spread sheet idea. I do not own a business but my dad does and I know he has been looking for a way to organize his contacts.

  9. Hi,

    I have my own too. I use it to indicate the jobs I’ve applied to.

    http://sn.im/jobsapplied

    I might personalize it to how this post described it.

  10. I feel like a simple database in Microsoft Access or Openoffice.org Base could perform this job better. The database provides much improved filtering and sorting capabilities.

  11. Track Freelance Job Pitches with a Spreadsheet [Freelancing] | Computer Tips and Tricks Monday, December 14, 2009

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  12. Links: Winter Break 2009 Edition | Meryl.net Sunday, December 20, 2009

    [...] How to Track Freelance Job Leads Via Spreadsheet: Excellent and simple set up. [...]

  13. This is great I took it one step further and created a google form so I could quickly update my spreadsheet

  14. Top 10 Tips and Tools for Freelancers [Lifehacker Top 10] · TechBlogger Saturday, January 30, 2010

    [...] on a pitch? Those are questions you should have answers for. Web Worker Daily’s Celine Rogue explains how to set up a spreadsheet with drop-down choosers, collated data, and other tools to become a great pitch, client, and job [...]

  15. news @ making money quick money » Top 10 Tips and Tools for Freelancers Sunday, January 31, 2010

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  16. Church IT – Supporting ministry with IT » Blog Archive » links for 2010-02-02 Tuesday, February 2, 2010

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  17. Hi Celine, great article, thanks.

    I like the KISS principle you’ve implemented here, which is a great starting point.

    Using a Google form with a Google spreadsheet which gives you the ability to use dropdowns, checkboxes, free text, multiple choice, etc, and it’s also a quicker method of entering the enquiry. If you want to get clever, you can also have multiple pages which are used depending on the answers given to multiple choice questions.

    The Google forms & Google spreadsheets blend gives you the best of both worlds.

    Thanks!

  18. Excel Takes Wayy To Much Time, I’d Rather Stick With My Current Software, http://www.JumboTask.com

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