As a freelancer, your time is money. So you’ll want to spend less of this precious time on things like invoicing and calculating your dreaded taxes, and more time on client work and generating new clients.
Luckily we live in an age when it has never been easier to be self-employed, with so many apps available at low cost, and with nifty technology that means less time in front of excel and more time doing what you love.
Here are six of our favourite apps that help freelancers manage time, money and projects.
Combining tax-software with cloud-based accounting, XERO is a great way to keep a record of your income and expenses. You can scan and upload receipts, connect to your bank account and even track milage automatically. It has a basic invoicing system and is a good fit for sole-traders or small businesses. It will calculate your annual tax payments making self-assessment a breeze.
A more expensive option but one that is popular amongst the freelance community, Freeagent is £9.50 per month for the first 6 months. This software is better suited to limited companies, as it has all the features of Quickbooks, with the addition of more in-depth reporting and a useful time tracking feature.
A favourite tool for agencies and one freelancers should utilise. It will help steer their client comms away from WhatsApp once and for all! Slack is free to download and works on desktop and smartphones; think of it like a modern day MSN messenger. You can start individual or group chats, chats about projects, issues or just use it to share documents and reduce the amount of emails. It’s vital your clients like using it for it to be a success, so take the time to sell the benefits of time saving for them too.
When you sell your time, it may seem obvious (but not all that common) to actually track the time you spend on tasks and clients. Toggle is a free to download app that takes one click for you to track time spent on client calls, meetings, design work or copywriting. It will even go into idle mode if it detects the tasks may have gone on for too long, so you can edit it later if you get distracted with something else.
You’ll probably be using a good old pen and paper or your phone’s notes section to record any ideas, lists or moments of inspiration from articles you want to keep or share. Evernote is free and allows you to make these notes and lists in one place, which is then easily synced with your other devices. Perfect for tech-savvy freelancers who need a bit more organisation help.
You’ll wonder how you lived without this one. It does take time to get used to, but you start a ‘board’ for a client or project and they are great for personal admin too, as well as tracking new business as a freelancer. Each board has lists and ‘cards’ which are tasks you can assign to team members, set dates for completion and attach documents. Making it the perfect place to keep everything together and for your client to see exactly what you are working on and when. If you want to eliminate those weekly email updates or reports, this would be a great first step.