Whether you are a freelance photographer, writer, or developer, having the freedom to work wherever and whenever you choose is one of the greatest perks of being self-employed. At the same time, being a freelancer comes with its own set of unique challenges. Thankfully, there are a variety of tools and systems that can help any freelancer overcome those challenges. Check out five of the most important resources every freelancer should have in their back pocket.
1. Productivity Tool
Becoming a successful freelancer requires a high level of self-motivation, dedication, and organization. But even for the most self-motivated, dedicated, and organized freelancer, it can be challenging to juggle several clients, multiple projects, and various tasks simultaneously. As such, having good productivity tools by your side is an absolute must.
Whether it be tools that help you create checklists, create timelines and deadlines, or monitor your progress on a given project, effective productivity tools can do wonders to help you stay focused and guarantee the timely completion of all of your projects.
There are a variety of productivity tools out there, though the most common tools that freelancers use include ClickUp, Todoist, Smartsheet, and Asana.
2. Billing and Accounting System
In addition to managing multiple tasks at once, being a freelancer also requires you to keep an accurate record of the income that you earn. Using a reliable billing and accounting system can help you automate the process of tracking incoming and outgoing money for your freelance business. It is also an excellent way to help ensure that all of your bills are paid at the end of the day.
One of the trickiest aspects of freelancing for beginners is figuring out how to pay taxes. As a freelancer, you have to track your own income and ensure that you pay your taxes on time. When it comes to taxes, you need to report the exact amount of money that you make during specific time frames throughout the year. In order to avoid any potential fees and penalties, keeping an accurate record of your income as a freelancer is crucial.
Ultimately, you are in charge of your own invoicing, accounting, and tax payments throughout the year. There are several popular billing and accounting systems used among freelancers, such as FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Self-Employed, and Bonsai. These tools help you ensure that your financial earnings and expenses are well managed.
3. Time Tracking System
It’s important to respect your time as a freelancer and make sure that you are paid appropriately for your time and work. For that reason, freelancers should consider using a reliable time-tracking system to keep track of how long you work on a project for a client.
Even if you are not being paid on an hourly basis, using a time tracking system is a great way to track and measure your own productivity as a freelancer. This will help you work as efficiently and productively as possible. Several popular time tracking systems include OfficeTime, Toggl, Harvest, ATracker, and Tracking Time.
4. Cloud Storage Tool
One of the many benefits of being a self-employed freelancer is that you often have the freedom to do your work whenever and wherever you choose. Integrating the use of cloud storage tools into your daily practice can provide you with endless possibilities in terms of when and where you can work on projects. Cloud storage tools allow you to upload, save, and access the materials that you need from virtually anywhere.
In addition to greater accessibility, cloud storage tools are also an excellent way to ensure that you do not lose access to import materials needed to complete a particular job or project. By uploading and saving materials within a cloud storage system, you have the power to minimize any potential risk of lost materials for both you and your clients. Popular cloud storage tools include Dropbox, pCloud, iDrive, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
5. Email Management System
Similar to project management systems, an email management system is a great tool to get into the habit of using as a freelancer. Whether you want to ensure that you maintain frequent communication with a client or just keep your inbox as organized as possible, integrating an effective email management system into your daily practice can help to ensure that no client ever goes unanswered.
While traditional email services generally have a few basic features that allow you to keep your inbox organized, there are a variety of other systems and extensions that you can use to elevate your inbox’s organization even further. Systems such as Help Scout, SaneBox, Front, Sendinblue, and Hiver all offer freelancers useful tools such as making private notes on emails and creating customer profiles for your clients to easily view past conversations and information.
As a freelancer, you are required to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities both for yourself and for your clients. Those responsibilities include managing your own productivity, maintaining good working relationships with your clients, and ultimately ensuring that your clients are happy with the quality and timeliness of the work that you produce. Thankfully, you don’t have to do all of those things on your own. There are a plethora of tools and systems out there to ensure that you are able to manage your responsibilities and become a successful freelancer.