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EXECUTION Project Management for Digital Solopreneurs

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nutleydotie

eCommerce Development Consultant - www.snazzy.ie
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Nov 13, 2017
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Hey,
Been a member here for a few years and have some great connections with friends here from Facebook. Ditched the FB account and actively trying to spend my time being socially active in a. community like this rather than wasting it on Facebook. (See my previous post). I'll split the post up into sections to try explain the journey / story.

Anyway, I've been making websites for around 20 years now (Yes I'm feeling old). And late last year decided to launch a 2nd agency designed to launch lower price websites for clients who just didn't fit the main agency through budget.

1) The 2nd Agency - www.blast.ie
Our main agency is eCommerce focused. So it made sense to split the brochure sites separately, and niche the main business. We built a WAAS model based on WordPress, Beaver Builder and GridPane and have gotten a few referrals. The idea is once I get the system running, it becomes self sufficient through a VA doing my documented work, and builds money through monthly subscriptions (€100 a month is the base price). I'm happy with the limited success so far as I've done little to push it, other then refer the non qualifying leads from the main business.

2) The Workbook - www.websitecontentworkbook.com
Lower price websites tend to be smaller business with less resources, they don't have large marketing departments. The biggest bottleneck we have is content. They don't know what to give us. Late last year I started a workbook to try hold the hand of a small business in getting content / focus for a small website that can make an impact in their business. I've around 2 chapters done, it all be more of a DIY workbook for clients to fill in. Will Charge sub $50 for an electronic version for a client. And come up with a more complex offer for other web designers involving video training so that they can repurpose the content for their own clients.

3) The Project Management - www.shortium.com
While writing the book to get the content I realised I was not happy with the tools I'm using to run my own business. Over the past 6 months I've personally took some deep dives into making Shopify Apps, and custom plugins for WordPress etc and re utilised my PHP / MYSQL skills. I've been using Teamwork for Project Management, as well as their suite for Desk (Support Tickets), CRM and they've become a chore to commit to using.

I've had sticky notes, and draft emails full of todo lists all over the place. My life and my head have become a scatter of things to get done, and I just look aimlessly at them and achieve nothing. Over the New Year stuck in lockdown in Ireland I decided there must be a better method to organise the thoughts, goals and side projects of my own business, along with the projects for my clients.

I'm decided to try expand what I'm building to be very specific to how I ideally want to operate my business. I wasn't to be able plan content related to "#2 The Workbook" and visually see what's needed to get a website finished. Have all my tasks together, organised by priority along with internal goals and side hustles.

@GuitarManDan referred a solid lead to me, but due to me being all over the place in my own head, they'd already choose a new provider before I finally got in touch a few days later. I'm building my own CRM into the software to make sure I don't missing anything in the future.

Shortium ideally is a Project Management for Solopreneurs, possibly in time I'll expand it into Teams. I've had a bit of interest from others in the industry so rewrote it to be multi tenancy and given from free accounts out for others to try. If its something I feel I need, I can bet there are others out there who need it too. I'm interested in launching it as a SASS model, and possibly offer out some LTD via AppSumo down the road.

Anyway, these are the 3 side hustles I'm committing to for the next 2 months. All related to each other, but I need to actually finish them, rather than starting the next project.

Cheers,
Plan to keep the thread updated about these project and a few others I'm working on.
2021 is the year I want to shift from Clients work to my own projects.

Stephen
 

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Empires

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Since launching my business last year I've started more free trials on CRMS and ticket management systems than I can count and it is definitely a business that always has room for opportunity because no 2 businesses are the same.

I think you are on the right path by being a niche project management/crm (for solopreneurs) because no 1 CRM is the right solution for every business.

The struggle I've had is that every CRM I've been looking into is always lacking something. They may have 4 out of the 5 features I need, but that 5th one is just as important.

Even now, I've found one that does them all but the phone system isn't reliable and doesn't always ring. The UI is complicated to set up.

There is a ton of room to add value for you here. I'd be happy to give you some feedback if you're looking for some.
 

nutleydotie

eCommerce Development Consultant - www.snazzy.ie
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 13, 2017
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Dublin, Ireland
Yeah, I’m interested, what would the top 5 features you consider essential?
I have the project/task component complete, currently working on the rest. If you send me your email I can set you up an account to play around with it. It’s still in early dev so don’t put anything overly valuable into it.
 

Empires

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Yeah, I’m interested, what would the top 5 features you consider essential?
I have the project/task component complete, currently working on the rest. If you send me your email I can set you up an account to play around with it. It’s still in early dev so don’t put anything overly valuable into it.
Top 5 features for me would be:

1. Custom Fields for everything. Tasks, Contacts, Projects, etc. I've seen some CRMS and Pipeline's only allow custom fields for certain components and that limits the customization.

2. Kanban board for tasks/pipelines. The usability and visuals are much more efficient than lists IMO.

3. Good phone system to make calls directly from the CRM. Inbound and outbound. This allows automations to have tickets triggered by incoming calls and makes it a hell of a lot simpler to manage. As someone who deals with a lot of phone calls, having it directly integrated into the CRM is important because otherwise we need a custom integration or webhook to trigger a ticket creation. Check out Twilio for this, they are probably your best bet for setting this up.

4. Integrations. Everyone is working off of a bunch of different softwares, so being able to pass data back and forth between automatically makes processes work much smoother.

5. Open API. No CRM is perfect for any given business. If I had $50,000 I would have a custom one made that integrates all my different systems in one place so my agents can have the smoothest possible process. But right now that isn't in the budget. But I want it as an option for the future to be able to integrate my systems into the CRM to customize it to my businesses unique needs.
 

nutleydotie

eCommerce Development Consultant - www.snazzy.ie
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 13, 2017
24
54
29
Dublin, Ireland
Top 5 features for me would be:

1. Custom Fields for everything. Tasks, Contacts, Projects, etc. I've seen some CRMS and Pipeline's only allow custom fields for certain components and that limits the customization.

2. Kanban board for tasks/pipelines. The usability and visuals are much more efficient than lists IMO.

3. Good phone system to make calls directly from the CRM. Inbound and outbound. This allows automations to have tickets triggered by incoming calls and makes it a hell of a lot simpler to manage. As someone who deals with a lot of phone calls, having it directly integrated into the CRM is important because otherwise we need a custom integration or webhook to trigger a ticket creation. Check out Twilio for this, they are probably your best bet for setting this up.

4. Integrations. Everyone is working off of a bunch of different softwares, so being able to pass data back and forth between automatically makes processes work much smoother.

5. Open API. No CRM is perfect for any given business. If I had $50,000 I would have a custom one made that integrates all my different systems in one place so my agents can have the smoothest possible process. But right now that isn't in the budget. But I want it as an option for the future to be able to integrate my systems into the CRM to customize it to my businesses unique needs.
1. Custom Fields are pretty straight forward, the issue is they have to be the same for all users. Could possibly make them unique in the future, but the database structure would need to change.

2. Have the UI for this in the planning pipeline. Currently using "stages" and just signing them a number. Once I figure how to code a draggable system and write to the database without clicking update each time can have it live.

3. This is the tricky part. Have zero plans to automate anything here originally. Everything was note taking manually. I called this activity and you manually entered notes, and contact methods. Looking further I might try hook in Twillo (Twilio - Communication APIs for SMS, Voice, Video and Authentication) - They've a ton of API that I could use for these features. Currently the "Support Ticket" needs PostmarkApp to run correctly. Will need to try white label the process into it going forward.

4. For the moment I'm gonna choose the key bits I use personally. Its not gonna suit everyone. Could possible work it into an add-on system for other devs down the road.

5. Currently the project is a proof of concept built in raw PHP/MYSQL. Once I get some traction/interest I plan on rewriting the spec to Laravel to take advantage of their stack to correctly scale it as a web app better. At this stage Webhooks, Zapier and a REST API would be possible.

The CRM would be just a small part of this so not sure how deep I'll go with everything. Currently the plan is more of a way of managing a smaller amount of website projects / website quotes.

I'll send you on access via PM to have a play with. CRM is not functional yet, anything marked "Coming Soon" is still being built. The whole project is only around 2 weeks old.
 

Empires

Silver Contributor
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1. Custom Fields are pretty straight forward, the issue is they have to be the same for all users. Could possibly make them unique in the future, but the database structure would need to change.
The way custom fields usually work on other CRMs is that you have a selection of types of fields available that users can change the name of. So a text field, a drop down field, a number field, a multiselect field, etc.
 

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