As a freelancer, you likely need to manage many tasks simultaneously. Having the right tools is essential to setting up your business and running everything smoothly. The good news is that the latest technology will make your life a lot easier.
Now more than ever, the foundation of a successful online business is a good online presence. If you are just starting out as a freelancer, it can be overwhelming, with so many routes to go down online. The first step will usually be creating a website, depending on your business type. In the past, setting yourself up with a professional website would cost a lot of money, and you would likely need to hire someone else to do it for you.
Today, there are platforms where you can build a website, creating your own personal brand. For example, with a platform like Wix, you can efficiently build your online business from choosing a free website domain to creating a point of sale payment method as well as an SEO plan. One of the most vital steps you should consider when creating a website is the aesthetic feel of the design and the user experience that it provides potential clients you wish to target. Videos are also a valuable tool for promoting yourself and your services. Posting your videos on your social media is not just a great way to sell your services, but also to build relationships with customers, allowing them to interact with your brand. Social media is free and influences shopping behaviors in today’s digital world. Invest some time in your social media presence to get ahead of the competition.
Project & time management
Project management software can significantly increase your productivity and efficiency. A project management tool will help you track your time, organize your workflows, and increase productivity. There are many project management systems to choose from, but if you are an individual or small team of freelancers, choose something that allows you to focus on collaboration, such as Excel or Smartsheet. Take into consideration how you charge for your time. Do you work on an hourly basis, or by the project?
Find a tool that lets you carefully track expenses for each project. For managing the flow of your project from beginning to end, Trello is a great tool. One of the biggest challenges when you work for yourself, especially if you work from home, is minimizing distractions. Use a time management tool to help you track how much time you waste, where you use most of your time, and to help you optimize your schedule. Using your time effectively is vital to success for all freelancers.
Keeping accurate accounting records is vital for paying taxes at the end of the year, keeping track of how well your business is doing, and where you may need to make some changes. You don’t need to spend money on a dedicated accountant as a freelancer. If you set yourself up well from the offset with the right accounting software, you can easily manage your funds yourself without taking up a lot of your time or money.
Once your business starts to grow, you will soon need to move from time-consuming systems like excel spreadsheets to online accounting software. Using cloud-based accounting software allows you to automate everything. Everything is linked to your expenses, invoices, tax forms, and even bank accounts. For example, some great platforms include Wave or FreshBooks. When deciding on which accounting system to use, look for something with a great mobile app, automation, invoicing system, and payment acceptance. Take some time to research the tools available. While some applications available are free, more advanced options often come with a fee.
Even though keeping paper files is a thing of the past, most freelancers and small business owners will have to keep extensive files online. File management can quickly become overwhelming without a good system. The good news is that there are many incredibly easy-to-use free cloud-based storage services that use the latest technologies to choose from. Some of the biggest names in cloud storage technology are Dropbox, Google, and OneDrive.
Whichever platform you choose, adopt a digital minimalism approach and streamline everything. Organize your files into a few easily identifiable categories. Under each category, you can then break down your files and folders into more specific categories. Stick to a system either numbering everything or color coordinate. Label things specifically to quickly identify files. With the latest software, you can back up and sync your files, so everything is safe and accessible. Synching everything means whether you create content on your computer drive or your online drive, you will have everything automatically saved in both places, saving you lots of time but also giving your peace of mind. Having a good file management system will significantly increase your efficiency. Remember, always keep it simple.