As you get more than a few contracts and customers, you'll soon realize that you'll need to have a system for everything related to a customer or to a job to keep everything organized.
So how do you store and maintain customer data? When working with customers, you will get plenty of requirements, documents, files, access credentials, discussions, emails etc.
Do you use some kind of project and task management tool? Locally or in the cloud? CRM?
How to track changes to customer systems for example (configuration, code)? Version control?
Do you have an extranet where customers can login to and upload files etc securely?
Do you use Skype, email or just Upwork messages for customer communication?
How do you store everything securely?
Or do you just simply create a directory for each job on your local hard drive and be done with it?
Please provide your experiences, best practises and answer to any question if you have any ideas.
I haven't ever been so busy that I have needed a project management tool. I think Upwork prefers that you stick to using Upwork messages, although I have used Skype when the client requested to speak to me directly (there was no other real time communication method on Elance). If I were in your position, I would only use these tools when the client specifically requests it, as time is at a premium.
I will say one thing about your profile, though. Your hourly rate is too low for somebody with so much experience. I got told this when I first joined Elance. My hourly rate was originally about $6/hour, then I changed it to $14/hour, on the advice of many fellow colleagues. You will definitely get work at a higher pay rate. It is good for you, and good for Upwork.
"Or do you just simply create a directory for each job on your local hard drive and be done with it?"
I folllow this way & most often it's useful, when client get back & require saomething that relates to that projects somewow!
I use Skye when it's necessary to talk otherwise contact through message & when outside use upworks android app!
**Edit - This thread may have al you need
I create a directory for each client, sub-directory for each job, then fan out if anything else is necessary. An excel file to categorize and order jobs of similar nature - for easy reference.
This is old school, I am sure technology has surpassed this.