Short and simple, how do freelance artists keep track of their projects? What is your personal organizational system?
I keep track of things with Excel Documents and written lists. Not the most efficient, but I only do very minimal freelance work right now as I have a regular day job and school right now but eventually once I get my school squared away I'd like to "get serious" about this whole thing and start off on the right foot in terms of keeping things in order.
What is most important for you to keep track of, ie: Contact numbers, medium, price, size, due date, etc?
Any advice for folks looking to "be their own boss" relating to this topic so they don't get in over their head and become disorganized?
I'm curious to hear what everyone's system is so maybe I (and others who read this) can improve their own
I'm in a similar situation as you, and I find it much harder to balance freelance work with a full-time day job. I used to keep track of everything by written notes, but I've switched over to a combination of the google online apps - calendar & spreadsheet. I use calendar for deadlines and have it in sync with rainlendar on my desktop to harass me when deadlines are coming up. I also am using to keep track of time I spend working or on the phone with clients or driving to job sites(in this case also mileage), so I have records for when I deduct these things on my taxes. I work on a daily rate so I have set up a simple spreadsheet with all the jobs I am currently working on and then adjusting hours as they increase. It is also useful to have something that calculates roughly calculates tax on each job so you remember to set away that much.
Having a spreadsheet where you keep track of the time you spend on a project, and a description of how this time was used is gold. Since I do animations+game art, I can write, runcycle: 3h, gui: 5h, bg, 2h.
That way when you have to come up with a quote for another project, you can refer back to these ones.