Making the switch to freelancing full-time can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make for your career. Here’s why more and more people are going freelance: If you’re one of the 42 million Americans who freelance, or plan to in the future, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it is predicted that by 2020, half the workforce will be comprised of freelancers. This isn’t just a trend-this is the new normal for work.
The pros of working for yourself often make the idea of freelancing sound very attractive. And don’t get me wrong, it is great! However, what many people gloss over are the challenges that come along with being your own boss. When you freelance, not only do you have to complete the clients’ work – which is obviously important – but you also have to take care of all the other business responsibilities by yourself.
What I’m trying to say is this: You’ll need some help. After all, you have to manage the books, but that doesn’t imply that you must become a professional bookkeeper. Here are almost every single tool and resource you need to get your freelance business started.
It is crucial to be organized when you are a freelancer so that you can achieve your goals, whether working by yourself or as part of a group.
Asana has completely changed the game when it comes to group collaboration tools. Not only is it free to use for up to 15 people, but you can also subscribe or unsubscribe to notifications so everyone knows what is going on with regard to changes in the task. Plus, it looks great while doing all of this!
Evernote is a versatile tool that can help you keep track of your projects by storing notes, receipts, and other miscellaneous files.
With this tool, you can get your collaboration on like never before! If you love having a good, organized brainstorming session, then this is the tool for you. It’s free to use and easy to learn. With it, you can create boards full of lists and cards that are relevant to your project at hand. You’re also able to attach files such as images so anyone who joins in on the collaboration will be up-to-date. And if someone makes a change, no worries! The changes appear in real-time so everyone on board is always seeing the most recent version.
This project management tool is one of the more popular ones on the market, starting at $20 a month for 10 projects.
Knowing where your money is coming from and going to is essential for any business.
Wave is perfect for those running a business by themselves or with up to nine employees. It’s an invoicing, accounting, payroll, payments, and personal finance app all in one that operates using the Cloud.
This software provides accounting, invoicing, billing, and banking online. You can try it out for free to see if you like it before committing to anything, and then it’s only $19/month after that.
Keep your finances in check with this bookkeeping and invoicing application, perfect for small businesses and freelancers.
If you’re looking for an easy financial solution for your small business, this program is perfect. You can import data from any existing accounts you have and the setup will be quick and simple. Every day it updates itself with information from your accounts and categorizes transactions automatically so that you don’t have to lift a finger.
It is an online ordering and invoicing service that’s perfect for digital download sales or web hosting services.
If you work for yourself, invoices will become your public enemy number one. There will be days where all you do is write and organize them. FreshBooks has been my saving grace; it’s easy to use and free until you have more than three clients–which, in my opinion, is well worth the $30 monthly fee.
Expensify makes it extremely easy to keep track of your expenses by simply taking pictures of your receipts and uploading them. The app is compatible with iPhone/iPad, Android, WebOS/Palm, and BlackBerry phones.
If you want to be a successful freelancer, learn to manage your time wisely.
Harvest provides multiple pricing plans ranging from free to premium, with features including time tracking and invoicing. The software is compatible with iPhone, Basecamp, and Beanstalk among other platforms has a WordPress plugin available and offers both times tracking and invoicing tools.
This app not only keeps track of your billable hours, but it also helps you stay organized, tracks leads and properties, monitors tasks, events and provides detailed analysis reports.
This tool not only lets you see how much time you’ve spent on a project, but also how close you are to deplete your client’s budget. And if that wasn’t enough, it also comes with a free iPhone application!
Toggl is perfect if you’re billing by the hour, or just want to see how long a specific task takes.
Klok is a nifty tool that allows you to efficiently keep track of how much time you spend on various assignments. With a simple press of a button, you can start and stop the tracker for each project. In addition, Klok gives you the capability to generate multiple reports based on this newly acquired information!
- Ora Time and Expense
Ora is much more than a standard expense tracker; you can also use it as a to-do list and run timers on tasks.
Time management is essential for freelancers, and that’s why Laura Shin swears by OfficeTime. Not only does it help you keep track of your time, but also see how much money you’re earning per hour. This information is key in the early stages of freelancing because it allows you to identify which clients are actually paying you your worth.
This app tracks how much time you spend on each project and client, then generates reports for any period of time.
Finding a Job
First and foremost, you have to find work!
This website is perfect for people who need to outsource design and graphic work. Browse through current posted projects and put in a bid to win the contract.
You can use this to your advantage by bidding on listed jobs that need programming or design work.
If you’re looking for anything computer related, from design to developing an entire site, this is the perfect selection for you.
You’ll receive many programming assignments and blog content creation opportunities.
You need to showcase your skills and abilities in order to land the client.
If you’re a freelancer, then you understand how time-consuming crafting proposals can be. It’s even worse when you put all that effort in and still get rejected. But thankfully, BidSketch has templates that will considerably reduce the amount of time spent on each proposal.
This is similar to the idea of BidSketch, which allows you to show potential clients what you are capable of in a more organized and streamlined way.
This is a quick wireframing tool you can use to create mockups and UI concepts. With it, you can work with product managers, developers, designers, and clients simultaneously.
Make sure people know who you are!
An email marketing newsletter is a great way to get your work noticed. Use this simple template platform to keep your clients updated about new posts or products. The best part? It offers a free plan, perfect for those just starting out.
This email campaign service is perfect for business owners who want to foster positive relationships with both current and former clients.
- Dribble on Behance
This tool looks like a Pinterest board, allowing designers to share and promote their products, as well as serve as inspiration for others.
Ensure that you don’t lose any of your data!
One of the most important things for freelancers to remember is to always have a backup. Mozy offers cloud backup solutions for businesses of all sizes, so you can rest assured knowing your data is safe.
You can easily back up and sync all your devices by using your Apple ID.
DropBox automatically syncs with your computer, so you’ll never have to worry about losing files or forgetting to back them up.
A well-organized business starts with a well-organized you.
If you’re like me, there’s nothing more satisfying than finally crossing something off your to-do list. Fortunately, Wunderlist can help make that happen by giving you the ultimate to-do list experience. Not only does it sync across all platforms, but you can also assign tasks to other people! That’s the best part!
- Time to Note
Use our system to streamline communication with customers, suppliers, leads, and others. Keep your contacts in one place that can be accessed by multiple users, and create shared to-do lists.
Never again forget an important date or task with Remember The Milk.
Google Calendar is an online tool that helps users keep track of their schedule, so you always know what tasks need to be completed.
- Ta-da List
Keep track of your progress and show it off to others with this easy-to-use app.
An organized inbox is crucial for any freelancer because it serves as the hub of their business.
Keep your inbox tidy with Sanebox so that you can focus on your business. Your inbox is the center of everything related to your company, manage it well with this app.
If you’re forgetful when it comes to following up with clients, this app is perfect for you. It will automatically take care of everything for you.
Reaching Inbox Zero will be enjoyable!
This new Gmail app is a more organized and graphical email communication center. It will automatically categorize your email into basic sections like travel, purchases, finance, social, updates, forums, and promos. With this email software, you’ll get built-in snooze buttons, attachment previews, and automatic labeling and filing features. This email is exactly what I was looking for!
Learning from the successes (and failures!) of other freelancers is one of the best ways to figure out how to run your own business. If you’re a freelancer, then check out these blogs for some excellent articles.
If you dream of being your own boss, this site is perfect for you. “You were never meant for the mundane. You prefer to decide your own self-worth rather than allow an employer to put a price tag on your work. You light up from the thrill of deciding when to shift gears, challenge yourself, and kick it up a notch. You are a solopreneur. The site provides you with a community of freelancers and businesswomen who are taking risks and changing their lives every day. “One Woman Shop is your safety net.”
Although you may not initially think apps have amazing blogs, Buffer is an outlier. The blog is hilarious, informative, and useful for entrepreneurs. You can read articles on topics ranging from social media strategy to content marketing and take away something new each time.
- The Freelance Strategist
This site is focused on helping journalists develop a freelancing strategy, but the information is relevant to everyone. As their about page claims: “We’ll find out what publications pay and how to pitch their editors; we’ll report on freelance success stories and helpful career advice; we’ll hold publishers, editors, and others accountable for freelance abuse; and, of course, we’ll focus on the daily quirks and eccentricities that are inherent to the freelance life.”
This site is all about staying up-to-date with the latest technology and Trends. If you’re looking for some productivity advice, then Lifehacker is definitely the site for you. You’ll find plenty of interesting articles here about innovative thinkers and everyday life hacks.
This is the go-to spot for all freelance web designers. With free web designer kits, plus articles on social media, HTML, branding, and more, this site has everything a busy freelancer needs. The how-tos and tutorials cover email template design to parallax – whatever issue you’re facing right now, there’s guidance here. Plus everyone will pick up tips on great web design and user experience too!
If you need some entrepreneurship inspiration, look no further than Fast Company. With articles written by business leaders and professors, as well as top entrepreneurs, it covers everything from how to get more done to advise on writing business plans.
Good is “a place to share creative solutions for living well and doing good.” Keep the community updated on your progress, how it seamlessly fits into your life, and its effect on global affairs. You will also find blog content discussing topics such as books, technology, lifestyle choices, and design; as well as suggestions for other businesses and entrepreneurs to follow.
If you need help getting a blog going for your business but don’t consider yourself an expert, Pro Blogger is a fantastic resource. They have content ranging from ideas for blog posts to tips on how to organize Google updates. This site is perfect for personal brand building if you’re a freelancer!
- LKR Social Media
Looking for some help with social media? Laura Roeder is a social media marketing expert who offers fantastic tips and advice on her blog. Covering everything from designing an effective sales page to top tools to organize your work, she’s got you covered. Plus, don’t miss great ideas on building up your (or your client’s) social media presence.
This blog addresses all of the questions you have about freelancing, even the ones you were too ashamed to ask out loud.
This article was originally published on SkillCrush.com.