6 helpful tools to help master your freelance business
Let’s be honest.
You’re an app junkie, right?
I know this because you’re here.
And because I'm also an app junkie!
I love to see what other tools business owners use to manage their empires. And I love testing out every single one I come across.
I've tested apps that track money, help you invest, calendar apps that help you get organized, even social apps that help keep you connected to clients and customers; the list goes on.
Most of these apps came and went, but I have a handful of favorites I continue to use because they've been the most beneficial to my business. Tools that helped me propel my business from an absolute mess of boxed receipts, handwritten balance sheets, missing emails and saved projects strewn across multiple platforms (I’m looking at you Dropbox) to an organized database of business apps and tools.
So, today I want to share 6 of my favorite business apps with you.
What is a few minutes worth to you if you could find a new tool that will help you master your business?
Let's get started!
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article feature affiliate links (I’ll tell you which ones). If you purchase items using my links, a small commission will help pay to run this blog at no additional cost to you.
From managing project deadlines to customer proposals and invoicing, business admin is the most time-consuming part of running a business. That's why these two apps have been the ones to save me the most time and money.
17hats has been with me from day one.
When I started my business in late 2015, I looked for an app that would allow me to manage clients, projects, invoices, estimates, questionnaires and leads. That’s when I found 17hats.
Since 2015, 17hats has grown into a massive comprehensive business tool designed specifically for small businesses and freelancers to manage the back end of their business. I use it to manage everything from incoming leads, email traffic regarding a particular project, project estimates, client invoices, project contracts, work timers, and a ton of stuff more. I can't imagine tracking all these things with different platforms.
Even though 17hats has a built-in calendar and links with my Google Calendar, it didn’t offer the level of sophistication that I found with Asana.
At first, Asana was so intimidating that I dropped it. Then I found Matt Giovanisci’s Asana for Bloggers course. He shows you all the Asana features that are most useful to bloggers. I was hooked from there.
As a freelancer, it can be a pain trying to stay on top of multiple deadlines and keep track of blog post ideas. Asana lets you do just that for free. I’m able to stay on top of multiple projects and manage a database of blog topics on one calendar.
I get mobile alerts when tasks are coming due, and I can turn client emails into tasks by emailing them to my Asana calendar.
I set up my Asana calendar with every project broken down into daily tasks for the week. That way I can stay ahead of the project deadline and not overwork myself. It's perfect because when I sit down to work on my business in the morning, I just open Asana and I know exactly where to start my work.
Just in case you didn’t know, this money writer loves financial apps the most! Two apps that I’ve come to love using for my business is by Quickbooks.
I’ve tried tracking my business finances in apps like Mint, 17hats, Everydollar, and the Capital One app but none of these tools come close to the way QuickBooks Self-Employed helps manage things.
QuickBooks SE not only tracks every income and expense from multiple business accounts, but it also helps calculate quarterly taxes!!
All I have to do is manage my transactions once a week and QuickBooks SE tells me how much I need to save for taxes in the next quarter based on current income. They even send tax-time reminders and, for an extra fee, will submit my quarterly payments for me using the TurboTax app.
How cool is that!?
QuickBooks recently came out with an invoicing feature built into their QuickBooks SE program. So I’ve been giving it a try because I’m looking to replace my clunky 17hats invoicing software.
Perfect for service-based businesses, you can quickly create professional-looking invoices complete with your name and company logo.
I really like the way you can add invoice amounts using a flat rate, an hour rate, by item, by an incurred expense, or by mileage in which you can also track using the QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile app.
If you already have QuickBooks Self-Employed, you get the invoicing feature with your account.
I’m a freelance writer, and most of my readers are freelance writers, this short review would not be complete if I didn’t share my favorite writing tools. Although this short list is not all encompassing, these are the top two writing tools that I use often.
Most online writers are familiar with this fantastic editing app. Grammarly is a premier spell check and grammar software that integrates with all the places you write online (except for Google Docs).
I especially love using Grammarly in my MS Word program and on my WordPress platform. It makes final edits to my blog posts a breeze!
Not only will Grammarly find missing articles and misspelled words, but it will also check for comma and wording usage depending on the type of writing you’re doing.
For my freelance blogging, I have Grammarly set up to review errors for general creative writing, so it doesn’t penalize me for using contractions, clichés, and some slang.
There’s a limited free version, but I purchased the full version since my business relies heavily on handing a clean error-free copy.
This one is not an online writing app/tool, per se, but it I often refer back to this online course for reference all the time in my freelance blogging business.
Elna Cain is the creator behind this online course for first-time freelance writers, I signed up in December 2015 and it turned out to be the best investment I had made. Within 4 months, I got my first high-paying writing client.
Since then, Elna’s course has evolved into an evergreen, constantly-updated product. She has helped me navigate my way around the content marketing and online freelance writing world. I always refer back to her lessons to help me with client projects, portfolio, and WordPress management.
If you want to start a side hustle as a freelance writer, Elna’s course is where you want to begin. She breaks everything down in easy-to-implement steps so you can get started writing online.
What are your favorite tools?
It took me a lot of trial and error finding my favorite business tools, and while no one tool is perfect, you'll eventually find a handful of apps that you just can’t do business without.
No matter what kind of freelance business you're running, there are tools out there to help you save time and money.
What online tools have you found invaluable to your business?