Many microentrepreneurs are solopreneurs, meaning they go it alone. If they don’t, their small, agile team is hard at work on their juggling skills. Truth is, without the right tools, managing multiple projects at the same time can be stressful. Projects slip through your fingers quicker than sand. Clients are getting salty, or you’re not hitting your money goals.
All because there’s TOO MUCH going on.
Luckily, you’re not alone. Tons of other microbosses out there feel your pain. And of course, the digital world has spat out answers (some of which we’re about to show you). Check out 10 tools microentrepreneurs need to manage multiple projects simultaneously, leaving them time to do their boss thang… But first, we’ll unearth five of the biggest challenges of juggling projects and how to solve them. Chop chop! Let’s get to it.
First things first… Here’s a hug. Everything’s going to be OK. We see you’re struggling, and we want you to come out of this stronger. Stay with us a bit longer, and you’ll be feeling MUCH better.
Remote teams are great and all, but the struggle is REAL when it comes to keeping everyone in the loop. Different time zones, tools, everyone working according to their own schedules… You have your hands full, which has its repercussions (unfortunately):
We’re the bearers of bad news. Yes, we know. But, we’re just trying to be realistic with you. Solution: Find a tool that organizes it all for you! We’re talkin’ client comments, team conversations, the like re: specific tasks on a single platform. This way, ya’ll don’t have to waste time combing through dozens of email threads in your already crowded inboxes
Are you a client pleaser? And because of that, you like to flex too tight on those deadlines? Yes, your competition seems to be crushing it. And yes, the due dates probably look good on paper. But, remember you’re human. Your team (if you have one) is also human, and your clients are DEF human. We haven’t reached bot domination yet. So, we're pretty certain about that. No matter whose wishful thinking it was, imposing deadlines that are borderline impossible to reach isn’t healthy.
Anyways, sure you may beat the deadlines at first, and your chest will puff up for doing so. But the time will come when your humanness catches up to you, and life happens. Solution: Use a project calendar tool to manage your schedule and keep track of deadlines and other milestones. If you have to change any due dates, the tool notifies everyone on the team.
For those unfamiliar with the project management term, scope creep refers to the continuous or uncontrolled growth of a project’s scope. You start with a project that requires four steps until completion, and by the time you turn it in, it’s grown to seven. Let’s give you an all-too-real example to bring this point home. Imagine you’re an SEO content writer, and your client asks you for three blogs per month. The initial requirements are for the blogs to be between 800 - 1,000 words each, optimized for keywords provided by the client.
But, as you’re about to finish the last blog, your client tacks on new requirements: Each blog needs at least three affiliate links within the text, a CTA button at the end, and has to be uploaded to their CMS post-revisions.
Just off the top of our heads, here are two big problems with this scenario. You’ll have to go back and do more work for the blogs you’ve already done, and 2️⃣ You didn’t quote the client for those services! (The extra work will take time, and time is money). But, when working on multiple projects with many clients, scope creep is common. Many clients simply don’t define all they need from a project, and unfortunately for you, “I’ll know it when I see it” isn’t a deliverable. While you can’t prevent scope creep 100% of the time, you can manage it or minimize its effects. This will improve your chances of delivering a project on schedule and within budget.
Solution: Here are some tips on how you can try to avoid scope creep:
Follow these steps, and you’ll be saying “Scope creep? Who dat?”
Communication skills kind of some of the most important life skills. When it comes to clients and such, lack of open and transparent communication can lead to:
Solution: Establish communication channels between your team and the clients from the onset. Also, clarify what's communicated on which channels. For example, project updates will be kept to your project management tool and simple check-ins to your communication app.
There are a bazillion tools out there, all vying for your undivided attention. How do you know who to listen to or which one to choose? Putting your budget aside, you need to pick a tool that just plain WORKS for you. Again, getting it wrong could be a waste of time and money in an era where you’re trying to maximize on both.
Solution: Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when choosing:
Fortunately, dozens of tools fit the bill. Let’s take a look at 10 that help microentrepreneurs manage multiple projects simultaneously without breaking the bank
For convenience, we’ve placed the tools into five categories: communication, collaboration, and project management. While there are many more than just these, these 10 tools have pulled their weight day in and day out in the digital world.
Slack is far from slacking in this category… It’s a cloud-based messaging tool that simplifies real-time communication between your team and clients. Simply put, it’s a group messaging platform. Overall, Slacking is pretty straightforward. (... OK, we’re done). You just set up channels, invite members, and then start coordinating. If you need more help, they have a tutorial on how to Slack. It really can’t get easier than that.
Here are some of Slack’s key features:
Also, whether just starting out or looking to expand, Slack’s pricing will meet you where you’re at:
COVID-19 hit, and Zoom came crawling up out of the woodwork, ready to steal the spotlight. Similar to Slack, Zoom also joined the verb club these days, right next to Netflix, Google, and FaceTime. You aren’t going to video call your client over lunch; you’re going to Zoom with them over lunch. Plus, it’s no secret that Zoom is steadily replacing the rather outdated Skype. With their virtual backgrounds, built-in beautification filters, and better call quality, it’s kind of obvious why...
Some other crucial Zoom features include:
And as far as Zoom pricing goes, as expected, there’s something for everyone:
We’re starting strong here with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), the big kahuna of collaboration tools. It includes email (Gmail); cloud storage (Google Drive); calendar (Google Calendar); videoconferencing (Google Meets); and web-based Google tools, such as Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Pretty much everything you need all under one roof. Also, because practically everyone and their mothers know how to use these tools, you rarely need to train a team member or client how to use Google Workspace. In other words, onboarding is extremely easy.
Some key, PAID Google Workspace features you may not know about are:
It’s def an upgrade from what you get with a free Gmail account. #justsayin’ Luckily, Google Workspace’s pricing is also quite straightforward:
Dropbox is a file sharing and cloud storage tool on steroids. It offers a lot of the same amenities as Google Workspace, but with a twist - like being able to edit cloud content AND Microsoft office content directly in the app.… Amounts to less time switching between apps or searching for files.
Other than the standard device sync, simultaneous editing of files, yadda yadda, some other cool features of Dropbox include:
As far as pricing goes, you may be able to scrape by with the free version, which offers 2 GB of storage and limited features. But your large files will fill those 2 GB up quickly, especially when working with a team.
Here is the pricing structure for Dropbox:
Asana is practically synonymous with project management, being one of the most widely used tools by micropreneurs and small businesses alike. It has a clean and intuitive user interface. It’s easy to create boards to track projects, and you can update clients nonstop without the never-ending game of email pingpong. We could go on for days (and we have LOL… see our product review in the Trello section), but to keep things short, we’ll skip to the good stuff.
Some of Asana’s key features include:
And when it comes to keeping your budget in mind, they’re friendly in that department as well.
Check out Asana’s prices:
Simple. That’s the best way to describe Trello. It’s a drag-and-drop digital Kanban (sticky note) board that makes project management seem like a breeze. Its user interface is perfect for light project work, which is why it’s a hit with freelancers and small teams.
Key features with Trello include:
You can’t sneeze at Trello’s pricing either. It’s pretty affordable, especially if you never upgrade:
Yes, we admit that Wrike is not as mainstream as the first two, but don’t judge a book by its cover. The tool is used by companies like Google, AirBnb, Dell, and Hootsuite. And for good reason.
Customized is Wrike’s middle name. They brag that no one else offers the versatility they do when it comes to personalizing your dashboards, workflows, and team-specific automation.
Other notable features on Wrike include:
We guess you’ll have to see for yourself if it’s worth it. Start with the freemium plan and then continue on as you see fit. Here is Wrike’s pricing:
If you’re going to manage multiple projects simultaneously, we’re assuming you’re doing something with at least one of the 100+ social media sites. And if your client’s social media plan is… extensive… you’ll need a tool to power them all.
Say hellooooo to Hootsuite 🦉Publish. Engage. Advertise. Analyze. If you need it, this all-in-one social media dashboard is there for you.
Some of Hootsuite’s features are:
And while it has a free plan, they’re pretty pushy on getting you to pay up. Here is Hootsuite’s pricing:
Paymo is a time-tracking & invoicing tool. Basically, it’s like if Asana and Trello had a baby, and that baby was born with a stopwatch ⏱ and ability to charge. So you’ll never again lose track of time you spend on a specific project (SO key if you charge hourly), and billing happens right there, too.
We felt like sticking it up there alongside the other project management tools (Asana, Trello, and Wrike) wouldn’t do it justice - strictly because of those dandy features.
Many of Paymo’s key features mirror those of its cousins mentioned earlier, but here are a few distinct ones:
Paymo offers a full-featured FREE plan that has everything you need as a solopreneur.
Nevertheless, if expansion is within your site, Paymo’s prices are accommodating:
And last but not least, we have Loom. Loom is video messaging for work. That’s it. Ever need to explain project details to your client, but you just don’t have time to try and schedule a call? Or, your schedules conflict? Loom it. (Dunno if it’s a verb, but we just made it one.) And you reallyyyy don’t have time to explain it over email either? Loooooooom to the rescue.
Since there’s not much more to say about it (it’s THAT simple), we’ll dive right into Loom’s features:
Plus, it’s free, unless you need those extra features, in which case, here are Loom’s prices:
And options we have. Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all tool, especially since many offer similar features and prices. It’s kind of like comparing apples and oranges. Which one do you feel for? We recommend you start by taking a closer look at your basic needs as a microentrepreneur. What gaps do you need filled in your business? What are your current tools lacking? If you have a team, lean on them for ideas, too. What are they always complaining about?
The best part about these? A lot of them offer free plans. So, you literally have nothing to lose (other than time). Get going!
Final note: If streamlining your microbusiness’ systems like a microboss is your thing, get early access to Boost. It’s the only work platform you’ll need to help you focus on what you do best 💪🏽