It’s a dream job for millions of people, but there are definite struggles that come with being a freelancer. When all the productivity is up to you and your time management skills, you have a whole new level of responsibility.
Most people go into entrepreneurship via freelancing because of the freedom it provides. However, it helps to have the mindset to push through obstacles and the tools to get and stay organized.
It takes a lot of persistence and just as much dedication to be a successful business owner. In addition to the power in your own mind, technology can help your productivity, too.
These five tools are so powerful for freelancers, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.
We’ve all had that deer-in-headlights feeling. You know the one, when you realized that a five minute social media search or one-episode Netflix break turned into hours. And you had tasks you meant to get done, but now it’s too late?
In the structure of an office work environment, there is a framework that keeps this from happening. As a freelancer working from home or on the road, a time management app keeps you focused and prevents lost time from distractions.
There are many different apps available for your trial and error use. Some of the most popular freelancer options include:
- Focus Booster, an organizational method that keeps track of your tasks and breaks them into 25-minute chunks through the Pomodoro Technique
- Timely, perfect for teams and freelancers with frequent large projects
- Tomato Timer, a simple countdown app that works using the Pomodoro Technique
Whether you’re looking for something basic or complex to help you keep track of your time, “there’s an app for that.”
One of the biggest drains on your time will be communicating with clients. Potential, current, and past customers demand attention, often immediately.
You need a program that limits the interaction you have with them and reduces the time you spend on redundant questions. When you use an interactive scheduling program, it can be set up to do this for you.
Even a simple scheduler like Google Calendar can be interactive. However, other programs that are created to manage your time and communication offer even more benefits.
The right scheduling program is often part of a customer relationship management system. This can make the business end of your freelancing job more efficient than you ever dreamed possible.
A CRM with a scheduler lets clients set their own appointments in the times you allot without talking to you. Bots interact and answer simple questions so you don’t have to.
In fact, a scheduling program will save you so much time and headache, you’ll want to use it for every part of your life!
You might not need an all-in-one CRM, but a task organizer helps everyone with a to-do list.
Through visual mapping, apps like Trello and Droptask take your day and put it in perspective for you.
Most of the programs offer various colors, shapes, and pictures as an impactful reminder. It’s not just for added interest; it’s a strategy.
Your brain responds better to colors. Finding a hue in your app that works for you, along with an organized methodology, increases productivity.
Budgeting is essential when you’re a freelancer. Unless you have clients that pay regularly, you might not know when your next payday will be.
It’s not enough to get paid double or triple (or more) your previous hourly rate if it’s inconsistent. In fact, looking at your new income as a windfall might lead you to overspending and get you in trouble.
With a financial budget tracker and money manager, your expenses and projected income are easy to see at a glance. Don’t forget to use your CRM or another system to store your receipts so you can use them as tax deductions later.
If you want your clients to have your personal cell number and private social media accounts, that’s up to you. For a more professional approach, a messaging app is the way to go.
These can be downloaded to your phone or another mobile device. If a client is trying to contact you on the app, you know it’s business-related. Even better, you can set the notifications to mute the call and respond with a greeting that you’ll get back to the person later.
When you want a face-to-face meeting, apps like Skype, Zoom, and Facebook Messenger are frequently used. You don’t have to give out your personal number for FaceTiming or video chats via your social media accounts.
Successful freelancing is worth every bit of extra work you have to do in order to be your own boss. But some of that effort is a matter of working harder, not smarter.
Why reinvent the wheel and do repetitive tasks that aren’t necessary? These five tools will boost your productivity and give you the extra time you need to focus on other, more important things!