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When you run a freelance business, there are some tools you need to keep the professional side of things running. I’m sure you already know the basics – high speed internet, a computer, and even a website – but what about other tools? For instance, how do you keep track of customer invoices? What’s the best way to track your time for a project?
Not to worry. Thanks to the internet and the beauty of technology, there are resources for almost all your freelancing needs.
When you’re getting started, I know that money can be tight. While there are a ton of resources available to help you run your business successfully, you also don’t want to be shelling out a lot of money you don’t have. Thankfully, you don’t need to. Use some of these free tools to get your freelancing career off the ground without spending a dime.
When you work for someone, you need a way to get paid. Paypal is an easy, preferred way to send and receive payments. It’s free to open a business account, and you can also send invoices to your clients straight from your account. Plus, your clients don’t need their own Paypal account to send you money. Once you invoice, they can pay with a credit card within the website.
If you don’t have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, you don’t need to rush out and buy it. Google Drive offers many of the functions of Office, and it’s completely free. I use Google Docs for my word processing needs, and Google Spreadsheets as an alternative to Excel. Need to do a slide presentation? Just open up Google Slides. You will need your own Google account to access the Drive, but that’s quick and easy to setup. Even better? This free resource is cloud-based, which means you can access it from anywhere.
Keeping close track of how much time you’re spending on a project is vital to any success as a freelancer. If you’re billing clients directly for the time you spent on their project, you need to be honest with your invoicing. Toggl helps you do that. This is a free time tracker that takes the guesswork out of keeping track of your work. Even if you aren’t directly billing for time and you’re billing per project, it’s worth using Toggl. Knowing how much time you’re spending on each project allows to you to ensure that you aren’t undercharging your clients for the amount of work you’re doing.
Have you ever had the (really) inconvenient need to scan a document, but you didn’t have a scanner? Genius Scan to the rescue. This brilliant app uses your phone’s camera to take a picture of a document, which it then automatically converts to PDF form. Voila! Once you have that PDF, you can email it where it needs to go. I personally wish I had known about this app when we purchased our home, because the amount of headache I went through trying to scan and send documents was ridiculous. You better believe this is one app I’m never deleting.
If you’re a work at home mom, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate. Wunderlist is an app that lets you stay organized. Add tasks and to-dos to your list, and then check them off as you go along. Need an alert or reminder? Set a deadline within the task and Wunderlist will send you an alert when you need it. This app is a game changer for all of us moms who are trying to stay on top of a million things.
Wave is a must if you’ll be doing any kind of accounting with your freelance business. The free portion of its software lets you create and send professional invoices, keep track of your receipts and expenses, and gives you accounting control. There are a couple of paid tools as well if you’re looking to upgrade and need to add features like payroll or payments.
As a freelance writer, it’s essential that my work is flawless. Trust me when I say that Grammarly is one of my most beloved tools. When you’re freelancing for any kind of job, it’s important you put your best foot forward. Grammarly is a simple browser extension that helps you keep track of any grammatical errors right as you’re typing. Worried about using the wrong verb tense? Keep confusing your prepositions? Grammarly will help. The free version is usually adequate, but there’s also a paid premium version if you need that.
When you’re getting started as a freelancer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with knowing what you need and what you don’t. My advice is to start with the free tools and go from there.
Do you know of any that I missed? If so, I’d love to hear what’s worked for you!