Freelancers are an interesting group of business professionals that expands each day as more and more day workers leave the corporate world and enter the world of working for themselves. With a much looser operating structure, freelancers can get into bad habits if routines aren’t established from the start. Large and small companies in addition to freelancers themselves have found a niche market in producing tools, applications and software oriented towards freelancers.
Applications consist of time trackers, invoicing and billing, project management and quote or proposal web applications. Utilizing available tools whether they be free or paid, can significantly cut down on the amount of time spent doing monotonous or daunting but necessary tasks as a freelancer. Similar to the way that a corporation’s accounting department has ledger software, the creatives have design software and the coordinators have project management software – a freelancer needs to become all of these entities in order to run a successful business.
Project Management Tools for Organization
Once a freelancer starts working with multiple clients at a time, it can be difficult to remember what was emailed to who, said over the phone or promised during a meeting. Using a software that can note these events under clients will save time and prevent heartache in the future.
Certain project management applications even offer internal task creation events to keep a virtual, cloud based to do list for each client. Insightly is a free project management software that also offers Gmail integration; making logging contact with a client even easier. Enjoy all of the benefits of a large company’s system available to you as a freelancer with Insightly.
Contract and Proposal Creation Applications
Freelancing involves a little bit of sales work as well. As a freelancer, you’re constantly pitching yourself and your skillset to new clients who have quite the list of freelancers to choose from. A great contract and proposal creation application offers freelancers the chance to show off their skills while spending half the time than before when putting contracts or proposals together manually.
Motiv is an excellent choice for creative freelancers as it offers industry specific content for freelancers to aid in the proposal creation process. It’s a known fact that each job a freelancer does requires a contract; Motiv also has handy content for aiding in this process including the option for clients to e-sign.
Time Tracking and Invoicing Tools
Projects taken on in the freelancing world either operate off of an hourly rate or a flat rate per project. Both are common depending on the specific industry and scope of the work. A large website would be done on an hourly rate while a small character creation or animation would be done on a per project basis.
Harvest is a legendary time tracking tool that allows freelancers to honestly report the amount of time they spent working on a specific project. It offers one click time tracking from your desktop, browser or mobile device. From there, reports and invoices can be generated for clients when it comes time to invoice. Invoicing in itself may be a feared aspect of the freelancing job. Having to keep track of accounting and produce documents to both clients and accountants is no simple task.
Freshbooks has a wide amount of invoicing tools for freelancing professionals including the option to be paid online versus snail mail checks.
A freelancer can arm themselves with many tools that will help them succeed in both the long run and short run of their freelancing career. By utilizing one or all of the available tools, a freelancer can adequately track their hours and send professional invoices using Freshbooks and Harvest, create killer proposals and contracts using Motiv and keep track of what’s what with Insightly.
Most of the applications mentioned above offer a free trial period and are under $20 per month for individuals. Considering the amount of time saved by utilizing available applications, many freelancers take advantage of applications available. Finding what works for you may be a process with a significant amount of applications on the market. Achieve a balance between apps and complement them with your work. Remember, apps are here to help you grow as a freelancer; not hinder your work.
Images: ”Mobile office, stock exchange market trading, accounting, financial development and banking business concept: notebook with stock market application, bar chart, pie diagram and smartphone isolated /Shutterstock.com“
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