When you’re a freelancer, being busy is great. It means you’re fully booked with client projects on the go. It also means you need to find the right tools to handle your workload effectively.
There’s a big difference between being productive and just being busy. Time management and organization are key to staying on top of your projects without letting other things slip – things like marketing, following up with clients, or even more important stuff like, say, you’re personal life. Or sleep.
As a freelancer, you need to manage client accounts, draw up contracts, track time and be awesome at all of it. And the right tools can help you do that.
Here are five of our favourite apps for freelancers:
Harvest is a simple way to track your working hours and bill clients for it. You just click to start and stop timers throughout the day when you’re working, so you don’t have to lose focus. When you’re ready to wrap things up, you can quickly create invoices for your clients.
Harvest also gives you some pretty neat analytics to help plan your projects more efficiently in the future. When the time comes that your client asks about the progress you’re making, those reports are pretty handy to provide updates and screenshots.
As a freelancer, you tackle all kinds of jobs in a day and not just in front of your computer. Harvest works on your web browser, desktop or mobile device. It’s also compatible with a whole bunch of other tools you may already be using, many of which are included in this list.
Once upon a time, a guy missed out on a big sale because he was unable to accept credit cards. That guy was a friend of Jack Dorsey, Twitter Founder, who was inspired to create Square. Square is a pocket-sized card reader that allows you to sell from wherever you are. It’s an easy and cost-efficient way for freelancers to charge via credit card.
When you sign up for Square, you get a free card reader and the app for your iOS or Android device. You can pay-per-swipe or go for the monthly payment plan. We like the way that Square was designed to be simple, from the product to the pricing model. Nobody likes hidden fees.
Bidsketch allows you to quickly create professional-looking proposals for your clients. It provides you with clean design templates that are ready for you to add your own images, colours, content, and even embed videos. All of your content is saved for you to reuse on future proposals.
Bidsketch is easy to customize with your logo and even your own domain name to make the whole proposal experience feel consistent with your brand. Since it’s quick and easy to send, you’ll close deals faster and your clients will save time too.
Sometimes there are other kinds of documents that need to be signed aside from just client proposals, like insertion orders, deliveries and other deals. You can create and share those other legally-binding documents using HelloSign.
Just like Bidsketch, your documents can be signed right in your client’s browser, saving the time and money required to print, scan and send. HelloSign keeps all your important info completely private and secure, and even supports two-factor authentication for your documents. Win.
When you’re managing a project (or twelve), it’s nice to be able to visualize what needs to be done. Trello allows you to create and organize your to-do lists. All of your clients and projects are organized into columns, with their individual tasks laid out on cards that are easy to customize.
When it comes to project management apps, it’s one of the most basic tools we’ve seen. The user interface is laid out in a way that just makes sense. If you’re working with a team, Trello offers collaboration tools too, so everyone can stay on the same page.
Trello is free to download with unlimited lists and usage. The paid version has some extra bits of functionality you might like (such as support for larger attachments) and some you’ll definitely like (custom emoji, obviously).