Let’s accept this: freelancing is a business.
So, if you have decided to be your own boss, that’s great! Doing what you truly love and making money out of it is probably one of the best feelings in life.
You are reading this article that means you already have ventured into a freelance business or want to set your feet into this amazing world. So, first of all, kudos to you for making a brave choice in your life. (Especially if you are a full-time freelancer)
Now the good news – freelance business is booming these days. It has even accelerated more with the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing us to work from home. As we observe a significant shift from conventional work to remote work being the “new normal”, the gig economy emerges strong to take over the world.
Organizations across the globe have started becoming comfortable with this remote ecosystem and are hiring freelancers. And the results are jaw-dropping!
A report says that the total market size for the gig economy stands $1.5 trillion globally.
Another source estimates that freelancers could constitute 80% of the total global workforce by the year 2030.
There’s no denying that you have an excellent portfolio of a writer, developer, designer, or any other professional field. But being a solopreneur, you need to manage everything from time, productivity, finance, and client communication, to your household chores.
I have been there, and trust me; I know how it feels like!
When I started off, I faced so many challenges in managing my freelancing business. It involved:
I think time management is the biggest challenge for freelancers. With only 24 hours in hands, you have to do everything; and how you utilize those hours really makes the difference.
You need to give time to your projects, clients, look for prospects, follow-ups, payments, and not to mention, your household activities.
The difference in time zones increases your difficulty level as decision-making can be delayed this way.
You are the boss here, and there’s nobody to remind you of your lined-up projects. You delay the work, you fail to meet deadlines, your client gets unsatisfied, and your earning is influenced.
In the quest to manage your work effectively, you may have to work late nights, which ultimately starts taking a toll on your physical and mental health.
It seems scary, isn’t it?
Communication is the first thing that comes in when you step into freelancing. It all starts by interacting with your prospects through social media, cold emailing, or any other lead generation mechanism you follow.
The way you communicate with them is the first impression of you on your clients. Many freelancers find difficulty in this.
Different clients have different communication preferences, like phone calls, video conferencing, or messaging. You must be flexible to meet their requirements and must be ready for different types of tools. (You never know when opportunity knocks at your door!)
The reason why most people start their freelancing business is to be financially independent. (Yeah, me included)
When you work in a firm, you don’t have to worry about the payment as it comes monthly, and you don’t need to manage it, all thanks to HR.
However, freelancing requires you to take ownership of every payment activity right from raising invoices and managing them to keeping a record of advance and payment settlement. And this is not that easy.
The way you manage your work in 24-hours of time is the basis of productivity. If you can manage it well without being fussy, then only you can hit your daily, weekly, or monthly goal of some $$$$ income.
There are so many things that come in the path of your productivity, such as balancing your personal and professional life at home. You can easily get distracted and leave your work to rush into your kitchen or talk with your family members for an indefinite time.
You need to balance between the two to stay productive the entire working hours—otherwise, your productivity compromises.
But don’t worry, there’s a solution.
We live in the 21st century, where almost everything has a solution coming straight in your palms; in other words, smartphones!
Modern advancements have blessed us with awesome tools that help you manage every activity. I personally use some tools to keep me sane in my freelancing business.
However, here’s the catch;
While you have the option to use individual tools based on different requirements, managing all of them could be time and resource consuming. And you already know time is money, especially when you are the solo player, conserving every second.
Hence, you can try the following platforms that offer pretty much everything to run your freelancing business the right way.
A multi-faceted platform for small business management, vcita makes it easy to manage client relationships, schedule appointments, send texts and emails and receive payments.
Accept bookings for your services with a click of a button from your site, Google My Business presence, or Facebook page. With automated reminders through SMSs, you can schedule and maintain your calendar for effective workflows and team collaboration.
Build stronger business relationships using CRM, which helps make sure you never miss an opportunity, the name of a client, or face. You can segment contacts here using powerful parameters to send relevant follow-up messages and offers that keep people engaged.
The invoicing and billing tools on vcita are likewise versatile and powerful. You can set up a gated client portal environment, so your customers can access their full transaction histories just like you can.
Upsell and engage your leads and clients with promotions and bundled “packages.” Integrated reminders let people know when they owe you money. There’s also a “pay by mobile” feature, for contactless payments.
The pricing for vcita starts at just $19/month when you bill annually, and it also includes a 14-day free trial.
Concentrate on your work instead of time-killing paperwork. Use Bonsai, an all-in-one suite having smart automation to boost your productivity.
The automated and integrated design of Bonsai helps you streamline your business right from sending proposals to managing invoices and taxes. Thus, you can finish work faster and take up more work without affecting the quality.
Bonsai lets you create structured proposals using custom packages, send and track them online to improve acceptance rates. They offer flexible and professional-looking templates, showcasing your offerings and brand.
Client CRM, contract, and time-tracking: Managing your clients, projects, leads, documents, and payments becomes easy with Bonsai. Make a fool-proof contract with e-signature to protect your freelance business, track working time, and generate automatic time-sheets.
Create customized invoices, set payment reminders, and update. Add tasks and stay productive by managing tasks efficiently.
Manage finances with expense tracking, income reports, tax estimates, and reminders.
Create forms with intuitive questionnaires for client intakes, project-completion surveys, etc.. Integrate these forms with your projects to measure your success rates.
Bonsai has a global presence, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and more, while supporting 180 currencies. The pricing starts at $19/month with two months of a free trial.
Do you want to simplify your payments?
Use Bill.com to manage your payments from a single place. It is used by millions and is built in such a way to help you conduct your business smartly. It lets you save 50% of your time spent paying vendors electronically that may be local or international.
Sending invoices to others is easy, and it also enables automatic reminders to make 2x faster payments. You can view your past invoices, supportive documents, and proof of payments without any confusion.
Bill.com helps you manage everything on the go using the mobile application. You can review, accept and pay no matter where you are and what you are doing. It uses IVA (Intelligent Virtual Assistant) that automatically updates your information for review.
They support various payment methods such as international wires, ACH payments, Vendor direct virtual card payments, or checks. In the Bill.com dashboard, you can find all status; whether it’s about sending an invoice or receiving payments, you call track all your payment details through this. Bill.com sync your data automatically with the accounting software you use for effective bookkeeping.
The price starts at $39 user/month that includes essential features and a custom plan based on how you want to use the software to use and pay for it.
Managing payments is one of the trickiest aspects of freelancing business.
But no more, if you have Invoice Ninja!
In addition to invoicing clients and collecting payments, Invoice Ninja lets you create proposals, track expenses and time, and a lot more than that.
Save your time by auto-billing long-term clients where you have to create recurring invoices.
Leverage this workflow visualization and project management tool to accurately track work progress and plan more tasks effectively.
Invoice Ninja lets you send PDF versions of invoices so your clients can process them for payment with ease.
Integrate your application and use Zapier automation to transfer data from popular apps like Gmail, Slack, Google Sheets, MailChimp, and more.
Make your personal brand stand out in the crowd and let your clients see the difference by customizing invoice design. You can add your logo, change colors, adjust fonts, and so on.
Navigate through Invoice Ninja’s admin panel through voice commands. It supports 20 languages and 50 currencies.
Apart from these, you can create tasks, track time, convert quotes into invoices, receive payment reminders, enable invoice approvals, create reports, and many more.
Try its free or paid version, which starts at just $10/month.
Start sailing smoothly in your freelancing journey by choosing AND.CO. Getting on the boat eliminates hassles as it requires no credit cards for you to sign up.
Smart proposals – create exquisite proposals reflecting your brand and setting your offerings apart from other freelancers.
Invoicing – it offers smart invoicing that helps you generate prompt and seamless invoices, saving you from the manual struggle. Get paid directly into your bank account in any currency you like.
Contracts – AND.CO’s partnership with the Freelancers Union has resulted in the creation of an advanced freelance contract that you can use to protect your business and build secure and fair client relationships.
Time tracking automation – It offers dedicated apps that are easy-to-use on Mac as well as browsers for tracking time.
Efficient bookkeeping – Let the platform handle all the paperwork related to managing your expenses, taxes, reports, and more.
Intuitive reports – Generate reports to measure your productivity and use it to measure your business performance over a specified time like yearly, half-yearly, or quarterly.
Integration – it supports bank account integration, credit cards, PayPal, and ACH alongside multiple currencies.
Try AND.CO for free or paid version starting at $18/month with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Plutio is a wide-ranging platform with almost every tool you require to run your freelancing business in the top gear.
Managing projects and tasks – create your tasks and let Plutio help organize them to boost your focus. You can customize fields, manage recurring tasks, use templates, and more.
Comprehensive time-tracking – track time wherever you are and visualize time entries in the time-sheet. It works on any device you use.
Professional-looking invoices – you can send invoices quickly and track when your clients open them. Add payment methods like Stripe and PayPal, and it also supports multiple currencies.
Eye-catching proposals and contracts – use the drag-and-drop editor to create stunning proposals and legally-binding contracts. Track them on getting signed and opened.
Real-time communication – Interact with your clients through emails, messaging, shared inbox, live chat, and canned response.
Robust CRM – Build meaningful business relationships by collaborating in real-time and inviting people through powerful CRM.
Plutio also provides advanced filters and search options to help you with what you are looking for. It emphasizes on security by encrypting data transmission between your browser and their servers. Receive digest emails daily with a task summary, which helps you gauge your productivity.
The pricing starts at $15/month, including a 14-day free trial.
Take better control of your business by tracking your projects right from start to finish with the help of HoneyBook.
You get a bunch of branded templates to simplify client communication. Its superbly designed app provides seamless working experience even from your smartphone.
Invoicing made easy – Create professional invoices, schedule payments, and reminders to stay updated with payment status. It facilitates an easy and secure digital transaction. You don’t have to save your bank time and again because it saves each item automatically.
Flexible proposals – HoneyBook provides beautiful templates to create proposals and send smart notifications. It increases the flexibility of making any changes or updates along with signatures.
Legit contracts – send ready-to-go and legit contracts with online signatures. It comes with a smart bar highlighting the place to sign and provides instant notifications the moment your client signs.
Integrations – it integrates with different tools like Zapier, QuickBooks, Gmail, Google Calendar, and more.
Automation for productivity – Create custom workflows step-by-step, automate tasks and emails, and save your time and efforts.
The whole bunch of goodness is priced, starting at $34/month, billed annually.
In my experience, the journey of a freelancer is not easy-breezy, given you are the solo player in your business. You have to walk the extra mile to get organized and stay productive the entire day so you can make a healthy work-life balance.
But, it does not have to be intimidating if you use the right tools to manage your freelance business like the ones I mentioned above.