Freelancing is an appealing career path for many professionals. From flexible schedules to the freedom of choosing the projects, you want to work on, the benefits of ditching employment to freelance are countless. But becoming a freelancer is not as easy as you may think. People tend to overlook the fact that freelancing is often a one-person business, and it demands a lot of responsibility.
As a freelancer, you are solely responsible for finding new clients, creating contracts, sending invoices, and doing taxes. No matter how talented you are as a developer, writer, or web designer, you won’t succeed in freelancing if you can’t manage the workload. Luckily, there is a wide range of tools to help you secure clients, stay organized, become more efficient, and improve productivity. Here are the top six tools for freelancers.
Finding New Clients: Upwork
No business can exist without customers. Finding new clients can be challenging when you are just starting out as a freelancer. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources built to connect freelancers with prospective clients. Upwork is one of them. Upwork is one of the most popular tools for finding clients and work. There is a wide range of freelancing tasks available on Upwork. Using Upwork means that freelancers can find jobs, communicate with their clients, and get paid for their work on the same platform.
Creating and Managing Contracts: Bonsai
Becoming a freelancer means that you have to deal with stuff such as contracts and legal agreements by yourself. The good news is that there are tools designed to help freelancers write and manage great contracts that protect both parties. Bonsai, for instance, helps you create contracts for any type of freelancing work and e-sign it. Bonsai uses technology to streamline the process of creating contracts, a very useful tool for a freelancer. Bonsai can also be used to send invoices. Creating contracts is free, but sending an invoice will cost you one dollar.
Freelancing, like any other business, requires constant communication with clients and colleagues (when available). Slack is a business communication tool that provides freelancers with a central platform where they can communicate and share files with their clients. Slack is particularly important when you are working on a project that requires a collaborative effort, providing both private and public chat channels for team-oriented communication. Slack also supports file sharing, video conferencing, and remote team management. For seamless communication with clients and teams, Slack needs to be used alongside other usual options such as email, Skype, and Google Drive.
Project Management: Trello
Freelancers have to work on several projects at once every so often. But managing multiple projects at once can be very taxing, not to mention time-consuming. Project management tools such as Trello can help freelancers plan their workloads and manage their teams with ease. Trello helps you build daily to-do lists and set deadlines for yourself. While the tool is great for managing your own tasks across multiple clients and projects, its commonly used for collaborating within teams. Trello is a simple, easy to use project management tool. You can use the tool to manage any type of project.
Time Tracking: Toggl
Time management is important in freelancing. Toggl is one of the most popular time tracking tools in the world. Toggl is designed to help creatives, teams, and freelancers manage their time better. As a freelancer, Toggl is the ideal time tracker for you. It will help you keep tabs on your work rate per hour and get things done on time. With features such as idle detection and auto tracker, Toggl helps you make sure that you are not wasting time and complete projects within set deadlines. Toggl comes with a Chrome extension that allows you to keep tabs on time without opening the tool’s web interface.
Data Security: VPN
With security threats increasing by the day, it’s imperative for freelancers to protect client data. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) hides your IP address and encrypts your connection to protect your internet traffic from the wide range of threats lurking on the internet. Freelancers travel a lot and use free public Wi-Fi quite often, which will expose them to cyber risks like MITM attacks. Using a VPN provides protection when you are connected to networks that are not secured. A VPN also allows you to unblock sites and overcome geo-restrictions. It ensures that you can access the services you use wherever you go.
Becoming a freelancer has many benefits, but making a successful career out of freelancing is no walk in the park. Freelancing is essentially a one-person business, and managing the workload of an entire business by yourself can be demanding. Fortunately, there are freelancing tools that can make things a bit easier for you. From Upwork that can help you find new clients for your business to VPNs that will protect your clients’ data, these tools are essential for the success of any freelancer.