The ultimate freelance business toolkit

May 29, 2020

There’s no doubt that freelancing brings a lot of freedom.

But with that freedom also comes a tough truth: Nobody tells you that you’ll be spending a lot of time running your own business. From pitching and prospecting a gazillion leads to invoicing, there are several overlapping tasks.

For this reason, it’s important to leverage nifty tools to streamline and optimize your freelancing business, especially now, when landing clients can be a difficult feat.

I’ve compiled the ultimate list of tools every freelancer can use to up their game to A-level and excel in their business. Read on to learn more about them.

All the Tools You Need to:

● Track Your Goals

○ Monday.com Project Management Software

○ ProProfs

○ Podio

○ Automate.io

● Attract Customers With Less Effort

○ SalesHandy

○ MeetEdgar

○ Aweber

● Own Your Time

○ Time Doctor

○ FocusBooster

○ Feedly

○ Coffitivity

● Manage Your Money Like a Boss

○ Mint

○ Wave Accounting

○ FreeAgent

Plan, Execute, and Track Your Goals With Project Management Tools

If you’re not taking control of your projects and being organized, you’re not managing your time as efficiently as you could.

The simple nature of being a freelancer means you’re constantly juggling your projects in different stages of completion. And meeting deadlines is important. Use these tools to track the progress of every project along your freelancing journey.

Tool #1: Monday.com Project Management Software

Monday.com has one of the best project management tools out there. It’s a comprehensive project management tool that also gives reports for your goals.

Whether you’re tackling your clients’ projects or even starting your own business, Monday.com has got you covered. You can even use it alongside Monday.com’s Work OS for maximum project management coolness.

It’s also excellent for managing remote teams.

Features:

● Clean and simple interface

● Ability to break down projects into sub-tasks

● Collaborate better by sharing files, ideas, comments, and more with your clients

Price: Free 14-day trial, then price depends on the number of users

Tool #2: ProProfs

If you own a website or ecommerce store and you get a lot of customer questions, you’ll need a ticketing system. Handling every query from your inbox is OK, but most businesses outgrow this solution fast.

Customers nowadays expect an answer within one hour. A ticketing software like ProProfs helps you keep on top of customer questions from start to finish.

Side note: If you need more tools for your team, check out Chanty’s 50+ amazing tools for team collaboration.

Price: From free to $15 per user

Tool #3: Podio

Podio stands out from the other tools because of one thing: personalization. If you want a next-level tool that’s super-customizable, Podio is it.

I especially like its ability to add project templates, which can help you as a freelancer. For example, you can use the same template if you’re writing articles with a similar outline for a client instead of making a new one each time.

Features:

● Ability to add links, text boxes, categories, and maps to projects

● Can make project templates to clone and reuse for different projects

● Super customizable— control the design of each project outline

Price: Free for basic or $9 a month for more than 5 users

Tool #4: Automate.io

Freelancers use several tools and platforms to go about their workweeks. For this reason, it’s a good idea to use an integration tool for seamless experience.

Automate.io is an automation tool that works great to integrate your online tech stack. It creates simple one-to-one integrations, or multi-app workflows, and several other automations in just a few minutes. Do 3x more automated tasks and scale your freelancing.

Marketing Tools: Attract Clients With Less Effort

Cool, so your projects are well-managed. But it’s not really useful if you can’t get your name out there and convert your audience into paying clients or customers.

So let’s check out some marketing tools to take your marketing game to the next level.

Tool #1: Sales Handy

Automation is your best friend as a freelancer. If you’re still sending every pitch and proposal manually, stop right now. All that extra time you spend trying to sort your outreach into different categories could be automated.

SalesHandy is an excellent tool for automating and tracking your email outreach. You can even send 10,000 emails with them if you want (wow!).

Having trouble attracting customers in the first place? Limecall has an amazing article on some of the best lead generation tools available.

Features:

● Email scheduling

● Email templates

● Email tracking

● Email campaign

● Auto follow-up

Price: The free version comes with unlimited email tracking

Tool # 2: MeetEdgar

So you want a cool tool to automate your social media needs? MeetEdgar is a scheduling tool you can use to post content on your social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

If you combine MeetEdgar with sweet visual presentations, you’ll have some sick social media content that attracts visitors. As much as we love browsing Facebook, wouldn’t it be better to let someone else post all your stuff for you?

Features:

● Have a constant stream of fresh content for social media

● Schedule it and forget it. Reuse old content so your sweet posts will keep on getting the attention they deserve

● Split test your posts so you know how well you’re performing

Price: Free for 30 days, $49 per month after

Tool # 3: Aweber

If you’re looking for a sweet e-newsletter automation tool, look no further. Aweber helps you create and send newsletters. Plus, with over 700 templates you can choose from, Aweber blows the rest of the competition out of the water.

Pro tip: Want to take your social media automation to the next level? Check out Content Studio for content automation tips.

Features:

● Unlimited emails to send to your subscribers with more templates than other tools

● Analytics and easy integration into third-party apps

Great customer service and support options

Price: Free for 30 days. Then 5 plans, ranging from $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers and $149 for up to 25,000 subscribers

Leverage Productivity Tools to Own Your Time

So we’ve covered how to market yourself — now let’s look at productivity tools. In the world of all things freelance, being more productive is key to being more efficient.

And nothing beats getting your work done days before your deadline so you can relax and have your own free time.

Tool #1: Time Doctor

In the world of remote freelancing, it’s not all about leisurely working in your pyjamas. Not getting enough sleep and ongoing distractions are real problems. Time Doctor is one of the best time tracking tools. It helps freelancers to effectively manage time and to keep track of the hours spent at work. It allows users to create to-do lists for the day.

Because most freelancers struggle with distractions, Time Doctor has an built-in anti-distraction tool that helps remote workers avoid getting side-tracked.

As a freelancer, you can also use timesheets to keep track of how much time you spent on each task and each client’s specific projects. It also helps you generate accurate billing information for your clients.

Features:

● A to-do list feature makes it easier for you to manage tasks

● Warnings whenever you start getting sidetracked by unproductive sites and apps

● An accurate dashboard that generates timesheet reports, project reports, and web usage reports

Price: Free 14-day trial, then from $12 for one user

Tool # 2: FocusBooster

In the world of productivity, timing is everything. And with FocusBooster, you’ll be able to use the popular Pomodoro Technique to set your working time — usually 25-minute intervals — followed by short breaks. If you have a hard time concentrating for long periods, check out this app to maximize your productivity.

Features:

● Records your working time so you can have a better idea of how long you’ve worked

● Generate invoices and reports so you can share with clients

● Multiple platforms, from online, Windows, Mac, and mobile

Price: Free for limited use, then starts at $2.99 for individuals

Tool # 3: Feedly

Feedly is a great tool that essentially acts as a better bookmarking service, letting you access all your online findings in one location and come back to it later. It’s great for compiling all your favorite marketing content or to save important info for later.

Features:

● Clean, easy-to-use interface with bright colors

● Can choose between many different layouts for reading sources

● Easy integration with other services like Facebook, Google, or Microsoft for social network sharing

Price: Free for standard version, $5 per month for pro version

BONUS Tool # 4: Coffitivity

Here’s an extra tool for the ambience lovers. Stuck working at home but love the good vibes a coffee shop brings? Coffitivity comes in to save the day. This online tool mimics the gentle morning hums and busy chatters of a real-life coffee shop. It’s essentially a tool that helps you get those good vibes and work more consistently.

Features:

● Great ambient noise to help you focus and work better, whether you’re programming or learning how to start a blog

● All online, so you don’t have to download it at all

● Free — no hidden fees

Price: Totally free

Pro tip: For even more productivity tools, check out the best productivity tools for 2020 (that are perfect for anyone working from home).

Manage Your Money Like a Boss with Financial Tools

Let’s move on to the good stuff: money. Money’s especially important if you are dealing with multiple clients — and when you have several sources of income, you’ll need the right tools for the job to track them. Otherwise, your money may just be going out the window.

Tool # 1: Mint

Mint is an awesome app you can use to plan your budget and reduce expenses. It tracks all your expenses and income earned through updated information from your own bank accounts. And it connects to most Canadian and US financial institutions and banks (it’s trustworthy as well, with an excellent privacy policy and millions of users!).

Features:

● Ability to connect all your financial accounts and see their balances in one place

● Up-to-date information that’s categorized in a clean interface

● Customized tips and savings with recommendations based on your current balance and accounts

Price: Free

Tool # 2: Wave Accounting

Wave is an accounting software for freelancers that helps you manage your income and expenses — you can track your payroll, payments, and invoices with automation. It’s a complete software that has everything in one spot — and the best part is it’s all free.

Features:

● Lightweight software and mobile app is easy to navigate

● Instant syncing of all your data, from invoices to payrolls and automated reports

● Support for currencies from over 180 countries

Price: Free

Tool # 3: FreeAgent

FreeAgent is another awesome tool for freelancers that allows you to invoice billable hours and expenses to your clients. It also offers basic inventory management features and is totally cloud-based — so you can access it from any browser connected to the internet.

Features:

● Ability to snap photos with your phone and upload them so you’ll never lose a receipt

● Send and track professionally designed estimates and invoices to clients

● Connect to your bank accounts for automatic transactions

Price: 30 days free, then starting at £9.50 per month

Find the Perfect Tools for You

The more you can use tools to your advantage, the more time you’ll have to spend on other important things in life — like coming up with new business ideas and spending time with loved ones.

As productivity consultant David Allen says, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, it's hard to eat spaghetti.” Likewise, you’ve got to find the right tools for yourself to make your freelance journey easier.

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Mark Quadros

Mark Quadros (https://www.dherealmark.com/) is a content writer who helps SaaS businesses boost user engagement. He loves traveling and living a minimalist life from his backpack.