How to organize your files

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Ever save something to a folder that is supposed to be convenient and you’ll remember but promptly forget where you put it so then you waste 10 minutes trying to figure out where your head was at so you can find this magical document?  Not terribly helpful, especially when you are pressed for time or when you are running a business.  Because of course this never happens when you have all day to find it…

Today I am going to show you a simple framework for organizing your business files so you can easily manage your records.

This structure can be used in any system, my preference is in Google Drive. This way it’s accessible from anywhere and easily shared with new team members or clients as needed.

Brand Folder

The brand folder is for all things visual branding, things like the logos, headshots, brand board, the graphics created for the website, all the templates I use for all visual branding elements.

  • Elements

  • Headshots

  • Logo

  • Templates

    • Blog posts

    • Business Cards

    • Documents

    • Social media

    • Website blocks

    • Webinars

  • Styled stock

  • Website

  • Webinars

The Elements folder contains all those bits and pieces that I use to create the different parts of the branding suite along with inspiration I find along the way.  Styled Stock is the collection of photos I have purchased for use or that are legally able to be used for things like social media posts or within documents.  Website is all the graphics and visual pieces that I have used on my website filed by page.

PRO TIP: Make 100% sure that all graphics and photos are licensed for use.  It is so NOT worth the fees should you not comply.   When in doubt, do not use it.  Get your pictures from a reputable source and not a random google search.

Content

This folder contains the copy and finished graphics for anything I submit.  This can vary from articles I write for other websites or publications to blog posts to my website.

  • Articles

  • Blog posts

  • Newsletter

  • Products

  • Social media

  • Website

    • Home Page

    • About Page

    • Services Page

    • Footer

Blog posts get filed by Drafts and Published.  In the drafts folder I create a folder for each blog post using the working title.  Within that folder I have the blog outline, all graphics used in the post and social media, the content upgrades and anything else relevant to this post. Once the post has been scheduled, I move it to Published and change the folder name to Date Published – Actual Title.

Each page on my website gets its own folder, in it goes the copy, all finished graphics, notes and anything else needed for updating.

Clients

There are two folders in the top tier of this folder, Master Template and Internal.  The internal folder is to house documents needed to manage my clients, things like workflows, draft copies of templates and what not.

  • Internal

  • Master FolderJane Doe

    • JaneD + Simply Dynamic

    • JaneD invoices

    • JaneD workflows

    • JaneD documents

To keep things simple, I created a Master Template folder.  It is a literal copy of everything I need to manage the workflow for my clients.  When I need to update a form or client homework I only have to update it here, then I know that all clients moving forward have the new version. 

When I get a new client, I will copy the master folder and then rename it with the client’s full name, then all the files and documents within get renamed with a short form. I name the first folder with the client ‘s name and mine then share it with her so she has access to all our documents and can add what she needs to get her project done. Things like photos, graphics, homework.  

Finance

In this finance folder I again created a master template so each year I can simply copy and rename for that year.  Any updates to templates are done in the master folder as well. 

  • Master Template

  • 2017

    • Annual Budget

    • Planning

    • Receipts

    • Taxes

There are 2 ways to file your financial records.  Some prefer to do it by subject then by year within that folder.  My preference is to file by year then subject.  My brain remembers things best that way.  Choose whichever works best for how you remember and look for things.

Legal

Anything that needs to be looked over by a lawyer or is needed in a legal capacity is filed here with the exception of taxes because they are with the financials.  All contract are filed here, contract templates, client contracts, contracts between myself and other entities and whatnot.

All my policies are kept here as well along with the terms and conditions, disclaimer displayed on my website.  

Miscellaneous

This folder is for all those things that need to be filed but don’t quite have a home yet.  Be careful to not use this folder as a catch all or all the other folders are for naught.

When you are creating your file structure, be sure to take into account how your brain works.  If you need things in a certain order, you can number them, my preference is alphabetical. 

What do you think of this file structure?  If you need a hand, comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out.