SEPTEMBER 21, 2020
By: Lana Karapetyan
5 Freelance Tools to Help Streamline Your Freelance Business
Starting your freelance journey can be liberating, but it sure comes with a lot of added responsibility. You are expected to have a spectrum of skills beyond what’s needed to get the job done, including creating contracts, sending invoices, managing expenses, handling taxes, and so much more. And with all of that in mind, you also need to keep an eye on your budget. Overwhelming, right? It doesn’t have to be!
The good news is that there is a wealth of free tools available to help you become more productive and efficient. We surveyed our Women Who Freelance community to compile the ultimate list of quality tools they use to streamline processes, without breaking the bank.
Time monitoring not only ensures that you get paid for your time but also helps you meet deadlines and boosts productivity.
Toggl is a popular time-tracking app, it’s super easy to use and their free plan comes packed with some excellent features. It works online, offline, and across multiple apps and devices. It’s free for up to 5 team members, has idle detection, offline mode, tracking reminders, and basic reporting. The Pomodoro timer feature will nudge you at preset time intervals because let’s be real, we all need a break. What we love about this tool is that you can track time even if you’re offline and all the data will be synced once an internet connection is available
We all know that keeping your TODOs on post-it notes or tucked away in your brain might work but it’s not sustainable.
Think of Trello as a digital board with sticky notes you can move around. It is a task-management tool where you can drag and drop projects through progressive stages until they are completed. You can also add attachments and images to any card or board. All the features you will need are available in the free plan, including working with a team. Trello definitely stands out from the crowd with its simplicity and visual appeal.
Scheduling meetings can be a real pain when you and your client are using different email applications, or live in different time zones. Calendly is a booking solution that helps eliminate those back and forth emails and takes your scheduling efficiency up a notch.
Calendly will automatically generate available meeting times in a weekly schedule which you can share with your clients or your website via a personalized Calendly link. Avoid burnout by using buffers to add extra time before or after an event and use daily limits to cap how many meetings you take per day.
If you’re still tracking expenses and punching numbers in Excel, we’ve got bad news: You’re probably wasting a lot of time.
Wave is one of the most popular tools that our community of freelancers swears by, and we can’t blame them. It’s free, intuitive, and provides an all-in-one solution to manage accounting, invoicing payments, and receipts. You can create custom estimates and invoices, set automatic reminders for clients, and send them payment receipts. You will also know when your invoice has been viewed, so no more “Sorry for not paying your invoice earlier, your email ended up in my junk folder!!. If connected to your bank accounts, Wave will sync your transactions and easily capture business expenses, making tax season a little more enjoyable. So what’s the catch? There is a small per-user fee for processing credit cards and bank payments through Wave, which is completely reasonable and similar to Paypal. Lastly, Wave is 100% web-based, so you just need an internet connection and browser.
Wish you could spend less time emailing back-and-forth or trying to figure out time zones to coordinate a quick meeting? Let’s be honest, zoom fatigue is real and most of the meetings could honestly be summed up in an email…or a video message!
Loom is a screen-capture platform that allows you to create instantly sharable videos by recording your screen, webcam, and microphone, all at the same time! Whether it’s a quick tutorial or a walkthrough of your proposal, you can send clients videos that they can watch at their own time and convenience. When you’re done recording, Loom automatically places a link to the video on your clipboard so you can send it to your client. It’s the best chrome extension ever. Loom is definitely one tool you’ll want to have around to make communication more efficient.
We hope you take advantage of these free tools and that they help you free up time to concentrate on doing what you love!
Women Who Freelance is a growing community of women freelancers and entrepreneurs in Canada, gathering together to network, collaborate, and thrive.
Read the latest
Freelance designer Shirel Krafman gives us a glimpse into her journey and experience as a digital nomad, from challenges to actionable tips on being a location-independent freelancer.
Brand Designer Jenny Henderson reveals the four phases of brand discovery and the importance of this process in creating a solid foundation for any business.
Bookkeeper Arielle Alipio shares her list of the top most overlooked small business deductions to help you prepare for tax season and beyond.
Professional photographer and designer Veronica Kucherov explains why personal brand photography is so much more than a headshot.
Become a contributor!
Do you have any practical freelancing advice you would like to share with the community? Become a featured guest writer for the Women Who Freelance blog. Give us a shout!