Keeping your files organized

Work Culture

Pro tips: How to keep your freelancing career organized


Published on May 08, 2015

Freelancers and independent contractors: we know you have a lot to keep track of. Whether you tend to take on rapid-fire jobs, or you spend months at a time with a single client, you probably have an abundance of files that go along with each project. If you find yourself dealing with endless back-and-forth emails, lost attachments, and trouble identifying the most recent draft, we're here to tell you there's a better way. Try using shared folders and links in Dropbox Pro to wrangle files, stay organized, and keep your clients happy. Start by creating a folder for each of your clients. Fill each folder with everything you want them to have, and then share it with them — they'll always have the most up-to-date versions of the files you want them to see. And there are two different ways to share with your clients, depending on what kind of editing rights you want them to have:

  • Sending a shared link to a folder means your client can only view and download the files in the folder. The won't be able to make any changes to the files, which means your work is safe from accidental (or intentional) edits. This is especially useful for sending "finished products," which can often be large files that you don't want to send via email.
  • A shared folder invitation gives your clients the ability to collaborate with you inside that folder, and by default they can add, remove, or update files. If you want to keep clients up to date, but don't want them to be able to make changes, try using view-only permissions in a shared folder. Then they'll always have the most recent files that you put in the shared folder — without having to manually download them — but they won't be able to make any changes.

If you have a few items that you find yourself sharing over and over — like intake forms or pricing lists — try using food blogger Phoebe Lapine's strategy. Since Phoebe often contributes articles to publications like Food & Wine and appears at food-related events, she gets lots of requests for her media kit. She noticed that she was spending a lot of time drafting emails and attaching files from her hard drive to fulfill these requests. To streamline the process, she created a Dropbox folder called "Press Kit" and put her most recent bio and headshot in it. Now, when someone asks for her materials, she can just paste the link to her press kit folder in an email, and she's done. The recipient can view and download Phoebe's materials, but not change anything in the folder. A thriving freelance career means lots of work, lots of clients, and lots of files. The tips above can help you stay organized, but it doesn't have to stop there: Check out our customer stories to see other ways creative people are using Dropbox Pro.