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by Kaitlin McManus | March 27, 2020

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Whether you’re freelancing to pick up some additional work in these uncertain times or starting a new career altogether, freelancing is a great opportunity for those with desirable skills. Freelancing has a ton of benefits—including working remotely (very important at the moment), choosing your own hours, and only taking the jobs that you want to take, so it’s no wonder that it’s an attractive option. So let’s talk about some of the tools that are available to aspiring (or thriving!) freelancers.

Freelancing Job Boards

Freelancer job boards like Upwork, Fiverr, and GURU can help get your name out to clients and establish your reputation as a reliable freelancer who provides quality work product. Different sites focus on different industries and types of jobs, so whether you’re a writer, a video editor, an SEO specialist, or anything in between, you can find the niche you want to work in.

Website Builders

When it comes to freelancing, however, the goal is to not have to rely on job boards for income. It’s much preferable to have a steady stream of recurring clients that you’ve built a relationship with and who would be happy to share your information with their colleagues. That’s why it’s important for freelancers to have a website for their services. Website design can be difficult, however—that’s where website builders come in. These are services that take most of the coding and “hard stuff” out of website design and let you customize the design to your aesthetic and desired functionality. I use Squarespace for my personal website, but some others that I’ve heard good things about are Wix, GoDaddy, and Weebly. These services will host your domain name for you and will run your website, which you can redesign whenever and however you want, for a monthly fee.

Project Management Tools

Hopefully, you’ll be managing several different projects for different clients at any given time. If this is the case, good for you! But you’ll probably want an app that can keep track of what you have accomplished for each client and what remains on your to-do list as deadlines begin to loom. The tool that works best for you will likely depend upon the type of work that you do and what your workflow looks like, so check out your options. Many project management apps are free, and the ones you pay for usually have trial periods, so definitely don’t be afraid to shop around to see what fits! Some popular options are Asana, Trello, and Taskboard.

Time Trackers

Freelancers often bill hourly, so keeping track of the time that you work for each client is critical—you should never work on a freelance project without proper compensation! The easiest way to keep track of your time working, right down to the minute, is by using a time-tracking app. Options include apps like Due, TopTracker, and Toggl, all of which record time for clients, as well as apps like RescueTime, which can help you see how exactly you’re using your time on your computer and shows you ways in which you could be more productive.

Invoicing Software

Here comes the fun part of freelancing—getting paid. Some freelancing job boards will take care of the payment stuff for you, but if your service doesn’t or if you’re working for a client directly, it’s important to invoice all your projects properly—in part for the client so they can see how much they owe and for exactly what services and in part for your own records. Tracking your invoices and payments is particularly important when it comes time for tax season—you’ll definitely need to know exactly how much you made while freelancing. Many of the time trackers I mentioned include invoicing options, since the two often go hand in hand, though there are other apps available as well, including Freshbooks, QuickBooks Self-Employed, and Bonsai. Many companies will require an official invoice in order to pay you, so definitely don’t forget this tool—unless you want all your work to be pro bono!

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