Freelancers are always on the lookout for new tech tools to make their lives easier. Unlike traditional employees, freelancers aren’t provided with everything they need to do their job. When a freelancer wants to improve their efficiency and organisation, they need to figure out how to make it happen.
There are infinite tools available for every profession, but in a freelancer’s world, only the best will do. Here’s what successful freelancers are using to keep up in their industries:
Airtable is a genius application that blends spreadsheets and databases, allowing users to create custom applications without any coding knowledge. The company has received $52 million in new funding, and their mission to become the next Microsoft in the business app world is attainable.
Move over Excel – Airtable presents an aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly spreadsheet powered by a database that does things Excel junkies can only imagine. In fact, Airtable is so powerful that it can be used as a CRM tool, task management, project planning, and precise inventory tracking that updates for all users in real time.
Tesla uses Airtable to track their inventory. Startup company WeWork uses Airtable to sort and filter customer feedback. Media publications including Time, Money, and Fortune all use Airtable as an editorial calendar for managing production schedules.
Freelancers use Airtable to keep track of client requests, project timelines, and project development phases.
You can use Airtable for free. The free option gives you the ability to create unlimited projects with up to 1,200 records per project, 2 GB of space per record, and access to a two-week revision history.
The next option is $10 per month – a price every freelancer can afford (and write off on their taxes). Freelancers, don’t worry, the elimination of the miscellaneous expense deduction doesn’t apply to the self-employed. You can still deduct miscellaneous expenses on your Schedule C form.
Every freelancer has struggled with creating a professional invoice at some point. It’s not acceptable to send an invoice in the body of an email or in a simple Word document. Clients expect invoices to be aesthetically pleasing, professional, and even branded.
Freshbooks provides professional invoice templates for freelancers that removes the frustration from creating and sending invoices. This application allows you to save clients in the system so you don’t need to create their basic profiles each time you send an invoice. You can save profile data like the client name, the rate they’re paying, and any applicable taxes that need to be factored into their invoice total. All these items can be adjusted at any time.
Freshbooks makes it simple to send a one-time invoice, a recurring invoice on a regular schedule, a prepayment invoice, and even a credit invoice that informs a client when they’ve got a positive balance. A credit invoice is useful when a client has overpaid, or you want to reward them with a discount to be used toward their next project.
The best feature is that clients can pay what they owe directly from the invoice by clicking a link. You’ll also be notified when a client receives your invoice, which eliminates the “I didn’t get your invoice” excuse.
Professional invoices are more likely to be paid on time and in full. Other factors that get invoices paid faster include good design, the ability to automate recurring invoices, and making it easy for the client to adjust the payment terms.
New freelancers without corporate experience often struggle to create the framework for proposals. You really need design skills to create a good proposal from scratch. If it’s not aesthetically pleasing, the best copy in the world can’t save you.
Proposify makes it easy for anyone to create a stunning proposal. They’ve got a wide variety of proposal templates to choose from in different categories like design, software, marketing, events, real estate, and professional services.
Freelancers in every industry benefit from Proposify’s customizable proposal templates.
Tedious time and expense tracking seems like overkill at first, but it’s critical to discovering the true cost of your projects. Harvest makes it easy to track both time and business expenses.
Freelancers often outsource pieces of their projects to other contractors and just pay the bill when it arrives. When the contractor provides a flat rate fee, it makes sense. However, keeping track of your contractors’ work hours lets you know if they’re charging you $500 per hour or $50 per hour. If you’re being charged a $500 flat fee for an hour of work, unless that work is being performed by a top specialist, you can find someone with a cheaper rate.
Research, research, research
Before investing in a tool, try it out to see that it fits your needs. Research the founders to make sure the company will stick around for a while, especially if your data isn’t exportable to a familiar format.