Starting out in the freelance business can be a daunting task. If you aren’t worried about how you want to represent yourself, nor courageous or confident enough to follow up on your pay, a critical question you may end up asking yourself is “What tools do I need?”. This guide should help you with that, and a little extra.
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1. Online Collaboration Software - Trello, Asana, Redbooth, Podio
Working with others can be a challenge. But in this day and age, business-facing collaboration software helps connect you with your team and your clients for rapid access to important updates and such.
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2. An accounting system - Zoho, Wave, QuickBooks, Freshbooks, FreeAgent, Xero
The need to have money-managing tools is recommended everywhere by everyone, and for good reason. From keeping track of your invoices, to knowing when you’ll need to go lean to stay on track with your personal upkeep, a decent accounting system will be more like a personal accountant than a fancy calculator. If you manage it well enough, you might not even need to hire an accountant (or at least pay a lower rate than usual since you’ve done most of the work already).
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3. A time tracking tool - SlimTimer, Toggl, RescueTime
Unlike working in a job where you clock in and out, you will have to manage your working hours by yourself. A time tracking tool facilitates that and gives a more definite way to show your clients actual hours incurred working on their projects, especially when you’re juggling multiple projects at a time.
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4. Cloud-based document storage - Google Drive, Dropbox
Pretty self-explanatory, but also very easily overlooked. A cloud-based document storage app is great for those rainy days when your laptop dies or when you accidentally drop the company hard drive (in this case your own). This almost guarantees your critical documents are always within reach across your devices.
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5. A task management tool - Wunderlist, Google Tasks
With so many things to do by yourself, you’ll need a good way to patch together the schedules for meetings with clients to important appointments and project deadlines.
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6. A video chat and messaging service - Skype, Rounds, MeetingBurner, Bluejeans, Jabbster, Zoom
Since you’re working remote, most meetings happen online. More often than not, explaining something over chat can be a pain so it’s always handy to have a video call app ready for when you want to do sprint meetings with clients.
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7. A document signing tool - PandaDoc, EchoSign, DocuSign
This tool essentially takes away the need to physically sign important documents by allowing you to go digital the entire way. This would essentially save you time, effort, and paper.
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8. An inbox management tool - Mailstrom, Sanebox
Your inbox can get cluttered really fast, what with all those clients you’re getting and the projects they bring in. Factor in a little spam here and some subscription mail there and you’re in for a whole day’s worth of manual organization just for emails. Apps like this can help automate the process and make life a lot easier.
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9. A client database tool - Falcon, Rapportive, Pipedrive
Akin to those little address books with manually scribbled numbers from the 90s, a client database tool helps you keep track of who’s who and which project/s are for whom.
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10. A project proposal tool - Bidsketch, Proposable, Proposify, Qwilr
Whether it’s figuring out the right way to outline the proposal, or making a visual stunner of a statement of work, a good project proposal tool is an invaluable asset that helps save time and keep track of the lines you’ve cast on to the vast ocean of opportunities.
Become a legit freelancer with these tools. Ultimately, it matters what we show to clients. The more official we present ourselves, the more clients we get (and can charge more for that matter). Take the time to go through each app to see which one works best for you. In addition to these tools, equip yourself with crucial benefits like an HMO card. Know more about it here. Good luck!