Whether you’re an ace developer, a management consultant, or a copywriter, if you’re freelancing, you need to keep your duck in orders and your processes organized. Getting ahead in an increasingly competitive gig economy environment is reliant on you providing the very best service possible to your clients.
Luckily, there are a few handy tools to help you do just that. Here, we take a look at five of the top tools for freelancers in 2020.
1. Writing — Hemingway App
Named after the famously terse writer, Ernest Hemingway, the Hemingway app promises to make your writing “bold and clear.” Even if you don’t work with written text as part of your standard day to day tasks, you still need to communicate clearly and effectively with clients, not to mention pitch new clients with your ideas.
The Hemingway app is free to use online, either write on the page directly or copy and paste your work in progress. The app will then give you a score based on how readable your writing is.
While Hemingway is notoriously pedantic and takes issue with adverbs, among other things, it’s a handy way to ensure clean, clear writing.
2. Accounts — Wave
We’ve selected Wave above other popular accounting programs such as Quickbooks and Xero because Wave offers a free version, which is ideal if you’re just getting starting and cash flow is tight.
With Wave, you can organize all your incomings and outgoings in one place and track your expenses in detail. Perhaps the best thing about Wave is that it automatically pulls info from your connected bank accounts so you can quickly and easily see what’s happening across the board.
Invoicing functionality means you can bill clients from the app and it keeps records regarding the status of the invoice.
3. Security — a VPN
One of the very best things about freelancing is the freedom. Want to work on a beach in Bali or finish up some pressing work while you wait for your next flight?
When you’re a freelancer you can do these things and more. That freedom does come at a bit of a cost to cybersecurity though.
Working on unsecured public networks is a recipe for disaster, particularly if you’re handling sensitive data. Skirt the risk factors with a VPN for your work devices. A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts data in transit making it secure. It also allows you to get around pesky geo-blocks.
A word of caution here, avoid free VPN as these are known to sell your data to third parties. Stick to a well-known and respected provider.
4. Organization — Zoho
Like the popular app Trello, Zoho is an organization solution that allows you to create tasks, boards, deadlines, and assign work across your team. Even if you’re a team of one, the software will keep you on track and remind you of any pressing work.
We’ve gone with Zoho over Trello here because unlike the latter, Zoho has an integrated chat feature, which is useful if you’re working collaboratively and down want to leave Zoho to talk with the team members or staff.
Zoho is free to use if your team is up to ten team members. Any more and you’ll need to upgrade to one of the company’s premium plans which start at an affordable US$8 per user per month.
5. Time Tracking — Clockify
If you’re working on an hourly basis for clients, reliable time tracking software is an absolute must. Overcharge your clients and you risk losing them, undercharge and you’re doing yourself a disservice.
With Clockify, you can accurately keep an eye on your work hours and then log them for clients. Even if you’re working on a fixed-price contract or task, it’s still helpful to know how much time you’re spending on each aspect so you can better plan your day and apportion extra time when needed.
Freelancing might be tough, but a financially rewarding freelancing career is an award those who put the extra effort in receive. Kickstart yours with these top five tools for freelancers and make the most of your work in 2020.