Expand Your Writing Skills: Project Management

Taking on bigger freelance projects requires a writer to develop project management skills, if only out of self-defense. The ability to run a project, coupled with a knowledge of writing can make you the perfect freelancer to pick up contracts to do project management, as well as writing. We’re talking about nothing more than organizing people and resources — and I’m willing to be that you’ve built those skills as a freelancer or in your personal life.

Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Project Manager

If you want to add project management to the services you offer, start by listing out projects you’ve worked on in a management capacity. Prospective clients are practically guaranteed to ask for examples of your past work. You need to be prepared to discuss your projects in terms of time, cost and scope — the three key variables of project management. There are certifications that project managers can obtain, as well, such as the PMP (Project Management Professional) designation from the Project Management Institute. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to get these certificates — at the very least, they’re expensive. However, it is something to keep in mind if you often find yourself managing projects.

Project Management Resources

For a very basic overview of project management, try this article from About.com. If you’re interested in learning a bit more, try the video below (it’s 15 minutes and split into two parts). It’s a good overview, though meant as an advertisement for Surprise! Now You’re A Software Project Manager. Ignore the bits where he says software — the information is just as relevant to writing projects.

6 Comments

  1. Christine   •  

    Have you ever tried SmartDraw for project management charts? It works really well. I use it to create flowcharts, timelines, Gantt charts, and other cool diagrams when I’m freelancing web copy or PR. Makes me look like a real pro. You can download a free trial here:

    http://www.smartdraw.com/specials/project-management-chart.htm

  2. thursday   •     Author

    There really are plenty of nifty tools out there!

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  5. laura   •  

    Thursday,

    It’s an interesting concept. When I was in the corporate world I was in charge of (“managed”) several writing projects. Since I knew what was required and was familiar with the teams, my “project management” worked fine.

    However, my husband has one of those “expensive” PMP certifications. He spends all day, every day, managing multiple projects for a large corporation. He is often thrown onto projects that he is unfamiliar with on very short notice and expected to turn the project around. Somehow, he manages to do it.

    As a writer I could not (nor would I want to), do what he does.

    If you’re a writer thinking about billing yourself as a project manager, then I say: think twice. Be sure that you really understand what a project entails before taking it on.

  6. thursday   •     Author

    Laura,
    You do have a valid point — project management can be hard work. Just like any expansion of a freelance writing business, one would want to think it over first. But it is an option to consider.

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