Few authors can afford to exist solely on the basis of income from book sales. That’s why one of the most important functions of my MindManager-powered Writer’s Dashboard is the system of linked maps I use to keep myself and my clients organized & happy.
The client portion of my Writer’s Dashboard helps me quickly access the latest maps created during a coaching call and immediately access the files and URLs needed for projects I’m working on for clients, like copywriting, critiques, or training.
Like always, the starting point for working on a client project is my Writer’s Dashboard map, which automatically opens when I load MindManager, as described in my first installment. After selecting Clients, I select either the Clients A-M map or the Clients N-Z map. This alphabetical split keep my maps as simple and uncluttered as possible.
Client access maps
Selecting my Clients A-M map, for example, reveals a list of currently-active clients, which MindManager arranges alphabetically. (Each time I add a new client, I select the center topic, followed by Format>Sort.)
Needless to say, in order to keep my maps organized when adding new clients, I need to eliminate The when it appears in front of corporate names. In addition, I have to remember to enter the names of individuals last name first, i.e., Parker, Roger.
In addition to the names of my currently active clients, the Clients A-M and Clients N-Z maps also contain two additional topics, yy Prospects and zz Inactive. The yy and zz prefaces keep these topics at the end of the map’s alphabetized client lists. (When these topics become filled, I copy my Prospects and Inactive subtopics to their own linked maps.)
The biggest benefit I enjoy is this arrangement is that my attention is focused on my currently active clients, yet I can see at a glance which prospects and projects are in the sales funnel. In addition, I can instantly go back and review previous client relationships.
Client hub Maps
Each client has a primary, or “hub,” map containing links to every file associated with that client. Each client map is slightly different, but typically contains subtopics like:
- Contact. This rarely opened, but very useful when opened, topic contains URLs, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and social media information for the client.
- Coaching calls. I create new mind maps for every telephone coaching session, based on the concerns and questions clients submit the previous day. Coaching calls typically take place twice a month, with e-mail support in between. From the Coaching topic, I can locate individual call maps by year and by month.
- Projects. This topic contains subtopics for each category of project I’m working on for the client, i.e., copywriting, critiques, design, editing, marketing plan, etc. There are subfolders for each specific project, with links to the word processing, spreadsheet, page layout, or artwork files involved with each project. When projects are completed, they are moved into the Finished subfolder, keeping the map focused on current projects.
Note the photograph in the Center Topic. I always code my client maps with their logo, their photograph, or some type of visual that relates to their image. (In this case, the sunset photograph is taken from the client’s front porch, high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.) Clients seem to like the personalization and it helps me to identify printed maps at a glance.
Client coaching maps
For many clients, the most important map is the one I begin before scheduled coaching calls and complete during our screen-sharing coaching calls. Here’s the system:
- Preparation. Before each call, I review the map of our previous call, and set up a new map based on client questions and concerns submitted via e-mail. I encourage clients to send me their questions and concerns before the end of the previous business day.
- During the call. Working together in an online shared screen environment, clients and I add notes and links to the call map as appropriate.
- After the call. Immediately after our coaching call, I send a copy of the map to clients and add a link it to the clients map.
One of benefits of my series of linked client maps is that, during the call, we can quickly access and review maps created during previous calls, which makes it easy get started and track our progress.
I’m sharing the above examples with the full realization that I am, in no way, utilizing MindManager’s capabilities and tools to the fullest extent. Experienced MindManager users will undoubtedly be able to point out numerous ways I could save time and space by consolidating and filtering maps.
However, the above works! The above Writer’s Dashboard and Client maps has been serving me for several years, and has made a major impact on my efficiency and profitability. It’s a highly-effective “work in progress!” Clients frequently mention how much they like immediately receiving a copy of the latest map after each call, which they use as a planner for managing their priorities and time between calls.
I think it’s important that “everyday” users, without exceptional product knowledge, can easily set up and immediately profit from MindManager, and use it while they refine and improve their mastery of the program.
Nevertheless, knowing that I may not be “state of the art” in my use of MindManager features, I welcome any comments and suggestions for building my Writer’s Dashboard into an even more powerful tool for acquiring and retaining clients.