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Jul 6

5 Notion Frameworks For Freelancers & Agency Owners

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Okay, be honest- how many different tools, platforms, and places do you use on the regular to manage all the moving parts of your work life (shoutout the dozens of browser tabs you’ve probably got open right now too ::wink::)?

Let’s see if we can guess what you’ve got going on….

  • One or many spreadsheets to track sales and CRM
  • A project or team management tool of some kind
  • Something else for creating, storing, and sending deliverables
  • Another tool for tracking sales
  • A place to store contracts, agreements, and other files
  • And of course, something to help plan, create, and schedule content

Are we close? Have we missed one or many things?

One way or another, if you’re reading this, we’re guessing that you frequently find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, unable to efficiently track projects or hold yourself or your team accountable, and generally feeling like you have so much to do that you don’t know what to work on or when.

It doesn’t have to stay this way!

Here, at The Futur, we use a single tool for nearly everything. This one tool helps us…

  • Manage our creative projects, clients, and teams
  • Track and improve our sales
  • Streamline our content planning process and creation
  • Store documents, contracts, and files
  • Make spreadsheets practically obsolete

It’s called Notion and we love it so much, in fact, that we’ve created The Operating System (OpSys), an all-in-one template to manage projects, clients, and sales for your agency, studio, or freelance business—powered by Notion.

While building OpSys, we were inspired by the following frameworks and wanted to share some insights about what we’ve learned along the way.

Pillars, Pipelines, and Values

Here’s what we like about Pillars, Pipelines, and Values:

  • It has a lot of resources and examples to learn the framework
  • It works for most situations or needs within your business
  • It has a variety of dashboards, and examples for when they’d come in handy
  • It is flexible in how you use the framework (business and personal)
  • If you need structure, this gives you that—providing clarity on what you need to be working on

Here’s what we don’t like about Pillars, Pipelines, and Values:

  • It needs to be customized for business use (vs. personal use)
  • It requires learning new lingo that may create barriers to use
  • It requires a lot of data that needs to be put into Notion
  • It uses a ton of individual elements (see example here)

Getting Things Done (GTD)

Here’s what we like about GTD:

  • It comes with a free template (you just have to use an email address to get started)
  • If you’re already using the GTD system personally, this should be a seamless transition
  • It’s not a framework that was built with only Notion in mind—but was built independently, and applied to Notion

Here’s what we don’t like about GTD:

  • If you haven’t read the book, Getting Things Done® by David Allen, it could be a bit hard to know where to begin or how to get started using this method
  • There’s a lot of documentation out there, but it’s not organized very well, and it’s often difficult to find what you’re looking for

Projects, Areas, Resources, & Archives (P.A.R.A.) by Tiago Forte

Here’s what we like about P.A.R.A.:

  • Since it’s project-based, it’ll likely work well for freelancers and agencies
  • It’s flexible and customizable
  • It works with many project management systems, not just Notion (while Notion may work great for you now, you don’t have to worry if you need to migrate to another project management software in the future).
  • The system is well documented

Here’s what don’t we like about P.A.R.A.:

  • There’s no solution for small tasks that don’t necessarily fall into a larger project
  • The ‘project’ vs. ‘area of responsibility’ concepts can be a little bit tricky to understand

Bulletproof (Buckets, Bolts, & Bytes)

Here’s what we like about Bulletproof:

  • It requires sifting through heaps of documentation to explain how to use it
  • The core principles are solid (i.e. centralize information, present, and filter using dashboards)
  • You can purchase a pre-made template, making it easier to get started

Here’s what don’t we like about Bulletproof:

  • It introduces a lot of new lingo/vocabulary that you need to learn in order to use it
  • You can purchase a pre-made template (the template can be difficult to set up—not knowing what information is just an example; or what should/shouldn’t be deleted, etc.)
  • It’s not easy to navigate around the documentation

Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, & Decided (RAPID)

Here’s what we like about RAPID:

  • It’s based on a framework developed by Bain and Co. (so, the framework itself actually works)
  • It’s simple- not that much information needs to be tracked

Here’s what we don’t like about RAPID:

  • The framework is focused more on decision-making than project/agency management
  • There’s not much documentation to go off of

All this is to say, dear friend, that there’s no one size fits all when it comes to how you “should” use Notion.

That’s why we built OpSys- to make it a million times easier for you! We designed Operating System (OpSys) as an all-in-one template to manage projects, clients, and sales for your agency, studio, or freelance business. Powered by Notion.

Here’s what you get inside OpSys:

1. The Operating System

Dashboards and preconfigured databases for managing projects, tracking sales performance, producing social content, and keeping contact details at hand.

2. Branding Workflow Template

A complete workflow built to guide you and your clients through the branding process we used at Blind. This includes step-by-step instructions and ready-made task and milestone templates.

3. Copy Archive

A complete library of our most commonly-used messages and emails to clients and internal teams (archived from years of client work).

4. The Instruction Manual

We’ll walk you through each step of setup and customization- learn advanced Notion tips, tricks, and template tasks.

If you’re ready to finally have a practical way to centralize your data; scale your processes, systems, and teams; focus on building or running your agency without setting up tools; know what you need to be doing and when; better manage your time; find what you need when you need it; and get your tools all in one place, scoop up OpSys today!

Kristin Lajeunesse

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