Tools and Apps for Freelancers
Sure, a successful freelance career starts with excellence in your chosen field. However, in addition to being a writer, graphic designer, virtual assistant, or other type of professional, you’re also now a one-person business owner. With this title comes a variety of responsibilities. Fortunately, a plethora of tech options exist to aid the modern freelancer.
Here’s a look at common tools and apps for freelancers that can help you do your job more effectively.
Why: Every freelancer wants to get paid!
Features: First things first, find a tool or an app for freelancers that gets you paid. Clients know you mean business when presented with detailed, professional-looking invoices. Create documents that reflect your brand as well as clearly outline charges. Specifics such as discounts, taxes, and additional expenses are a breeze to add as needed. You can even include payment method options such as credit cards and PayPal. Some systems include a digital proposal option that automatically generates an invoice when a customer accepts your terms. And if you have a client that needs a nudge to pay up, auto reminders stay on the case for you.
Common apps and tools: FreshBooks, ZoHo, Bonsai, Harvest
Why: Outlining terms of an agreement keeps everyone on the same page and serves as a reference should discrepancies arise.
Features: A thorough contract spells out the specifics: what you’ll deliver and when, for how much, and when payment is due. The document helps prevent “scope creep” — clients asking for more than what was settled on at the start. Since most freelancers aren’t well-versed on legal language, contract creation tools take away the guesswork by guiding users through the process.
Common apps and tools: Bonsai, The Freelance Contract (through Freelancers Union), PandaDoc
Why: Knowing how much time tasks take is essential for proper billing and setting fair rates.
Features: Whether you prefer putting in hours timesheet style or starting/stopping timers as you work, time tracking eliminates guesswork. Users often end up surprised when reports show how long they actually spent doing something as compared to what they estimated. When choosing a product, look for one aimed at individual time management vs. a system designed for managers overseeing teams.
Common apps and tools: Due Time Tracking, Harvest, TopTracker, RescueTime
Why: Awesome organization ensures all tasks get done on time.
Features: Details can slip through the cracks when trying to manage multiple demands. Project management tools ease the mind by showing where each assignment stands and what still needs to be accomplished. Experiment with products until you find what best suits your needs, as many are designed with bigger businesses in mind.
Common apps and tools: FreshBooks, HoneyBook, Bonsai, FunctionFox
Why: Centralized scheduling maximizes efficiency.
Features: Want to schedule a meeting without the back and forth? Put in your availability, share the link, and let automation work out the time with one person or a whole group. Use settings to send out reminders, cap your number of meetings per day, and create time buffers to allow some breathing room between appointments. Time zone detection proves very useful for freelancers who deal with international clients.
Common apps and tools: Calendly, Acuity Scheduling, SimplyBook.me
Cloud Storage and Document Sharing
Why: It keeps documents safe and accessible.
Features: Never again get caught at a meeting with the file you need at home. Cloud-based storage allows you to pull up what you want, when you want, from wherever you want. Beyond portability, you can’t beat these cloud docs for collaboration, making these extremely important tools and apps for freelancers. Allow others to view and edit documents as you see fit, even tracking who performed individual modifications. No more USB sticks!
Common apps and tools: Google Drive, DropBox
Why: A picture is worth a thousand words.
Features: Video conferencing is the next best thing to being there in person in terms of showing examples, demonstrating products, or simply trying to get a read on someone’s feelings. Meetings can include participants from various locations, saving everyone the time and expense of physically gathering. These tools and apps for freelancers may allow recording meetings to the cloud with auto-generated transcripts. Look for a system that can help you organize and support virtual events if your freelance business would profit from webinars or live broadcasting over social channels.
Common apps and tools: Zoom, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans
Interested in More Tips and Tricks?
As you may have noticed, many tools and apps for freelancers serve more than one function. Which products are right for you? The ones you’ll actually use! Experiment (and take advantage of free trials) to see what best suits your freelance needs.
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Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
By Beth Braccio Hering | Categories: Work Remotely