That’s when the fear sets in. What did you just sign up for? Can you really do this? How do you get started?
Take a deep breath. You’ve got this. You just need to get started on solid ground. Take these six steps and your project is going to shine for your client.
It seems logical that you’d start by asking a lot of questions first, but actually, it’s best to have the client send over everything they’ve got - this is going to generate a ton of questions for you. If this is a brand new project, you won’t have all of the information yet to ask a lot of initial questions.
Step 2: Read Everything
Take the time to read through everything that you’ve been given. Just once. Just read it. Don’t take notes. Don’t reply with emails and don’t ask questions. Just read and let it get into your brain. A lot of times you’ll read things, feel even more overwhelmed, and try to start putting all the pieces together. Stop. Just read. Nothing else.
Step 3: Walk Away
Literally. I don’t mean forever. Just walk away from your computer for a while. Let everything you’ve read soak in. Go for a walk outside, wash some dishes by hand, change the sheets on the bed. Do something physically busy. Your going to distract your mind a bit by doing something else. Yes, you’ll start thinking about the project, but you won’t be obsessing over it. Scrub a dish, consider an idea. Scrub a pot, think about something you read.
Step 4: Read Everything Again
This time, read slowly. Take your time going through what was given to you. Take bullet point notes: Client wants X. What software? Time frame? This second reading allows you to start to understand and think more deeply about the project. And the bullet points are a quick way to gather your thoughts
Step 5: Review and Respond
Go over your notes. You’ll probably have a long list of questions generated from them. This is now the opportunity to ask your client for more information. Send that off in an email, but if the list is unwieldy, you may want to set up a phone call. This will prevent a lot of back-and-forth emails and will get you the answers you need more quickly.
Step 6: Outline the Project
Now that you understand the project and it has mulled around in your head for a while, you’ve got all the steps - put them in order and get started!
Huge projects can feel overwhelming at the start. You just need to remember to take things piece by piece, start slowly, get organized and you’ll be successful.
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