These days, people are no longer limited to working a fixed job in a 9 to 5 time frame. Most of them have shifted to freelancing, where they get the freedom to do what they like and be their own boss.
However, it is no easy job. When you are a freelancer, the biggest challenge is to work without a team and handle everything on your own. You alone have to be the creator, advisor, accountant, and manager all at once.
So, if you are thinking about how to wear all these hats and manage the work efficiently– you are at the right place!
We have come up with 11 must-have tools that will assist with different tasks, making your life a lot easier. Let’s get started!
Best For – Accounting, Contract Creation & Invoicing
Bonsai is all-in-one contracts, e-signing, proposals & invoicing software built specifically for freelancers. Being your own administrator or accountant is one of the biggest challenges for freelancers, and luckily, Bonsai can help you out!
You can use the platform to craft proposals, generate contracts, manage client documents, create custom invoices, and send automatic payment reminders. You can even use ready-made invoice templates. Apart from that, you can automate and track expenses, track your profit, and get quarterly/annual tax reminders with tax estimates.
- Create proposals & contracts
- Client CRM
- Invoicing and payment reminders
- Expense tracking & tax estimation
- Templates for contracts. Proposals, invoices, and quotes
- Forms & questionnaires
Best For – Project Management & Client Reporting
SmartTask is a cloud-based project management platform that enables you to maintain the independence and creativity you’ve cultivated as a freelancer while also centralising your projects and communication with your client base.
You can create projects and tasks, attach all the required files, add client details, set priorities, keep track of their deadlines, and much more on the platform. It also lets you invite your clients as guest users on projects, keep them updated on the progress, and take their feedback in real time.
You can connect with your clients via VoIP, or video conference whenever required. You can also set the cost estimate for each task, track the time spent on it, and generate billable hours and progress reports for your clients.
- Multiple views – task list, board, timeline, calendar, and portfolio view
- Milestones and dependencies
- Time tracking
- Estimation and billing
- Inviting clients as guest users
- Real-time communication & collaboration
- Newsfeed, VoIP, and video conferencing
- Dashboards & reporting
- 1000+ integrations
- Available on web, as well as mobile, and desktop apps
Best For – Online Appointment Scheduling
As a freelancer, it’s crucial to be available to your clients while managing your time effectively, and this is where TIMIFY comes into the picture. It is a versatile scheduling and online booking software that will let your current and potential clients self-schedule appointments from your website, social media, and applications in just a few clicks.
The app also syncs with popular calendar apps like Google Calendar, MS Office 365 calendar, and MS Exchange, allowing you and your customers to receive reminders via email, text, and smartphone push alerts.
- Online Calendar
- Appointment booking and payment
- Booking Cancellation and Rescheduling
- Resource management
- Customer management
- Service management
Best For – Kanban-style Project Management
Trello is another project management tool built for freelancers and solopreneurs who want to use the classic Kanban board view to plan their projects and organise tasks. You can also assign tasks, manage deadlines, and automate tedious tasks with no-code automation.
Trello is great for professionals seeking a simple tool with the ability to subsequently add more advanced functionality using plugins. For example, to track time in Trello, you can integrate your favourite time tracking tools such as TimeCamp or Clockify with Trello.
- Kanban board and cards
- Butler automation for redundant and mundane tasks
- Power-Ups and integrations
- Ready-made templates
- Android and iOS mobile apps
Best For – Time Tracking
Freelancers must work out their own payment for work hours, unlike employees who work 9 to 5 in an office. The best way to do it is to use software like TimeCamp for time tracking of your daily work.
The essential aspect of TimeCamp’s time tracking is that it keeps a tab of the time spent on each project/task. As you switch between different tasks, or finish one project and move on to the next, the app records your movement in a half second. Furthermore, at the end of the month, all time spent on each project is recorded, so you can charge your clients accordingly.
- Automatic time tracking
- Work hours management
- Productive and non-productive hours tracking
- User-friendly Dashboard
- Activity tracking
- Billing and invoicing
Best For – Automation
Wearing multiple hats means being dependent on multiple apps for all your different needs. So how do you keep them connected? The answer is IFTTT – a platform that connects apps, devices, and services from different developers to trigger one or more automation.
For example, whenever you make a phone call on an Android phone, a Google spreadsheet is updated with a record of it. Or if you add a new task to your to-do list, it will automatically be added to your reminder app.
- Cross-app automation
- Voice assistant
- Customised app-lets
- Low code platform
Best For – Communication
Slack is a great tool for freelancers who want to stay organised and connected with their clients and communities. It helps in boosting your productivity as you have all your conversations in one place without having to switch between apps.
Furthermore, the platform offers freelancers and clients a set of tools that allow them to collaborate without much context switching. With Posts, Calls, Screenhero, and the deep Google Drive integrations, clients and freelancers have almost everything they need.
- Channels as central space for conversation, files, tools, and people
- Slack connect for connecting and collaborating with people
- Instant messaging, and calls
- Sharing images, files, videos, etc
- Hurdles and clips
Best For – Video Conferencing
Freelancing brings opportunities from anywhere around the globe, and you are not always able to meet them in person for the project. The next best thing to meet face to face is video conferencing, and Zoom is the best app to date for e-meeting your clients.
Zoom stands out for its ease of use, outstanding functionality, and incredible stability. Zoom handles all of your communication needs, including meetings, screen sharing, chat, phone, and webinars, as well as conference room systems and online events. Its generous free plan makes it a great option for freelancers.
- HD video and audio collaboration
- Cross-platform messaging
- Cloud phone, webinars, and virtual events
- Meeting and calendar scheduling
- Meeting reminders on mobile
- Password protection
- End-to-end encryption
9. Google Workspace
Best For – Document Management & Collaboration
Modern freelancers tend to do most of their work online. But if you’re worried about how to organise files, documents, sheets, meetings, and emails, you might consider Google Workspace.
You may be familiar with some of the tools offered by Google Workspace such as Gmail, Drive, Docs, and Sheets. However, It also includes Calendar, Meet, Slides, Chat, Forms, Sites, and Keep. It offers several paid plans that come with extra cloud storage per user, the capacity to add numerous users, personalised email addresses, and other security measures.
In fact, you can use these free Google tools for entire client project management. For example, you can use Gmail for business communication, Drive for file storage, Docs & Sheets for data organisation, Meet for video conferencing, Calendar for scheduling, Slides for presentation, etc.
- Email communication
- Office editing in Docs
- Connected sheets for storing data and tracking work
- Google Drive to store & organise your files and documents
- Calendar for keeping important dates, events, and schedules in check
- Meet for video conferencing
- Slides for presentation
Best For – Designing
Being a freelancer means you are your own marketer. And not everyone has the time or skills to play around with Photoshop, Corel Draw, and other such apps. This is where Canva comes as a breath of relief for freelancers.
It’s a free tool (with the option to upgrade) that lets you design graphics for marketing, web, and other outreach. Getting the hang of it is easy once you know the basics, even if you don’t have a design background. It comes with ready-made templates and designs. So you can choose the one you like, edit, and bam! You have an amazing creative ready.
- Social media banners, brochures, and business cards
- Logo, flyer, banner, poster, and resume maker
- Intro video maker
- Infographics, book covers, and mind maps
- Templates & integrations
Best For – Writing
Grammarly is an excellent tool for writers, but it is not limited to just writers. As a freelancer, you need to send emails, converse with clients, approach them for collaboration, and write reports. Sometimes you might also need to write for your own blog, website, or social media posts.
This is where Grammarly can guide you to craft an excellent copy with the right tone and free of spelling & grammatical mistakes. In this way, you can communicate your message clearly and make a good impression on your clients.
- Spelling & grammar check
- Tone detector
- Writing suggestions for clarity
- Analytics dashboard
- Plagiarism detection
- The extension works on Gmail, Google Docs, etc
While there are plenty of tools from different categories to work with, we have tried to add almost every type of tool you might need on your freelancing journey.
If you are not sure which tools to start with, start thinking about which activities take up most of your time, and you can then appoint the tools as per your needs. The best way to do so would be to start with a project management tool where you can list all your tasks and then keep a tab on how things are progressing to understand where you need help.
As your business grows, though, your needs become more complex, and you may need to return to this list. So give yourself time, track, understand, and let tech handle what you can’t.