Table of Contents
- What Is Freelancing?
- How Does Freelancing Work?
- What Are Some Common Fields in Freelancing?
- How to Manage Work as a Freelancer
- 6 Tools to Make Your Freelance Operations Super-Easy
- Key Takeaways
The advent of tools has made freelancers more productive. An emerging and evolving trend in the world of opportunities has carved out new dimensions for freelancers. As a freelancer, you have a lot of benefits: ranging from choosing the type of work, the time you want to spend on your work, the place from where you work, etc. Before discussing the best tools for freelancers, let us first understand what freelancing is.
What Is Freelancing?
Freelancing means working independently, as a self-employed person, without being under direct employment of someone. Freelancers usually take up jobs on contract. The biggest advantage attributed to freelancing is that you use your knowledge and skills to work with several clients at the same time. There is no fixed schedule to visit an office in this case. Freelancing is done in contrast to the conventional 8-hour workday, wherein people reach the office by around 9 am and leave by 5 pm in the evening.
The future for freelancing seems to be really bright as per several surveys. It has become a great source of appeal to millennials, who either choose this for an additional source of income or are engaged in it full time. Research by McKinsey states that 20-30 percent of the working-age population in the United States engages in independent work. The availability of freelance project planners online is another reason why more and more people are finding freelancing convenient.
The revolutionary changes in technology and business atmosphere have led to freelancing being taken up as a lucrative career option. If you think you can take up multiple projects and execute them on time, there is no stopping you from earning. And all this from the comfort of your home! Yes, freelancing opportunities are usually work-from-home, while there may be some that require you to visit the client. This is only case-based, and the best freelance management tools can make either of the tasks easier.
Freelancing jobs are called gigs, and they may be part-time or full-time. The compensation for the job can be fixed upon negotiation between the client and the freelancer. Freelancing has started to emerge as a great career opportunity across the globe. The “gig economy” is a new-age term that has been developed due to the ushering-in of huge freelancing opportunities. It is made up of people who take up independent jobs that are for the short-term. There are many other terms for freelancing work. It is known as contract work, a consultant job, an independent contract, etc.
While the term freelancing is common, the jobs done by freelancers are not the same. Umpteen fields can be chosen for a freelancing opportunity. If you possess the industry-specific skill, you can go ahead and approach the client to take up the gig. The fields include and are not restricted to accounting and finance, IT, web content creation, digital marketing, graphic design, editing and proofreading, and arts. Make sure you can impress the client with your skill to grab the opportunity. The best tools for freelancers are always there to take you further.
How Does Freelancing Work?
Freelancing can be taken up either as a full-time job or a part-time gig. For some people, this can be an additional source of income, but for several others, it is the primary source of income. There is no hard-and-fast rule in freelancing, and you can choose your terms of work. Once you are sure of the niche you can choose, you have to look for opportunities. Make sure you use a freelance project planner to manage your work effectively.
Several platforms are available where you can choose work that caters to your sphere. Freelancers are called independent contractors because they choose the jobs on their own. A plethora of opportunities is available online, and you can directly approach the clients or bid on available jobs.
Upon presenting your portfolio sample, you can make your clients understand your capabilities. Once the clients are sure you can match up to their work, they will hire you on a contract. The payment and terms are also decided mutually. Freelancers are paid for the job on the basis of hours worked or for the job as a whole. This differs from case to case.
The client specifies the timeframe within which the task needs to be completed. Once you are through, you should go ahead and submit your tasks. On-time completion adds value to your work. As per the terms of the contract, you may either be required to prepare an invoice for the month’s work, or the client keeps track of your work online on their portal and pays you accordingly.
Your payment will usually be made online and credited to your account, once the client approves your work. The payment cut-off date varies from client to client. While some freelancers fix their own rates, several others adhere to the rates fixed by clients. With more years of experience and more skills added to your portfolio, you will be able to fix your own rates.
Freelancing is not as easy as it sounds. You should have the right skill that is in demand, and also be aware of how to market them. To be successful, you should be determined and work towards your goal. Make sure you polish your skills from time to time, use the best tools for freelancers, and upgrade your equipment if any. Finding the right platform is also highly essential. As a newbie, you may find yourself struggling in the initial attempts, as competition is massive here. But trying without losing hope can land you the best offer.
What Are Some Common Fields in Freelancing?
As we just saw above, there is a plenitude of freelance opportunities in various fields. All you have to do is identify your skill and proceed to approach the client. Let us look at some of the primary fields available in freelancing.
Information is what guides people. Throughout the world, there is a huge demand for quality writers who can bring home the necessary information. If you have a flair for language and can write an engaging piece of article, you should try your hand at freelance writing. Article writing, blog writing, copywriting, ghostwriting, academic writing, and technical writing are some types of jobs available. The most positive thing here is that most of these are online jobs and can be started off with great passion even if you do not possess many years of experience in the field. If your sample work passes, you have a good chance.
This is yet another field that has a promising future. You need training and experience in the field to have an edge over the others. Once you get the skillset, you should identify your area of specialty. You may design company logos, websites, e-commerce stores, etc. Decide on the niche and develop a portfolio that can speak about your skill. You could also try some internship opportunities before landing an independent gig, as it can help you gain exposure.
Another amazing world of opportunities lies ahead of your lens. Whether you are trained or untrained, if you can click awe-inspiring content, then it is for you. Here, too, your portfolio can be your ticket to success. It helps clients identify your prowess in the job. Your area of expertise could be wedding photography, child photography, wildlife photography, fashion photography, and more. To hone your skills, you can take up short-term courses online. Make use of social media and the best apps for freelancers to make yourself known to clients. You will have them knocking at your door, instead of you looking for chances.
4. Coding and programing
This is one of the hot jobs on offer today. You must have read in the papers that even school children are at it these days. Demand for coding is persistent, whether you are a front-end or a back-end developer. You should upgrade your skills if you are looking for gigs in this area. Learn popular coding languages like Java, Python, and C++. Use the most popular tools for freelancers to augment your learning.
How to Manage Work as a Freelancer
Freelancing is indeed a bustling sea of opportunities, and what is very crucial here is to know how to manage your work. Since you do not work in an office from 9 am to 5 pm, there are chances you may lose track of time. Procrastination is a big threat here.
There is a lot of distraction you should do away with if you are working from home. You should understand that by planning and managing your work, you can easily convert your efforts into money. Make sure you follow sound strategies and adhere to your timelines efficiently. Also, don’t forget to use the best freelance management tools.
1. Split your tasks into smaller, achievable ones
For this, you must frequently review your past work. Chart out the tasks you can handle and how you want them to pan out. When you know what works for you and what doesn’t, you can develop ideas accordingly.
Don’t run behind huge tasks, as they may be overwhelming, and you might end up doing nothing. Analyze the number of hours you can be productive at a stretch. If it is three hours, then plan your work for those hours only. Leave a gap and then restart. This will help you complete your tasks on time. You can also use the best apps for freelancers to achieve this.
2. Keeping track of your time every day after work is highly essential
After a day’s work, you should not end up thinking about how the whole day went in vain. The moment you start to work, you should start monitoring your time. Every break needs to be accounted for. Should you pick up that phone call? Should you reply to that email at once or can it wait? These are some questions you should ask yourself. This helps in prioritizing your work. Moreover, many time-management tools for freelancers are also available that can help you here. Time Camp, Toggl, Timeular, and Hubstaff are some examples of time-management tools.
3. Learn the art of saying “no”
There is a saying, “You cannot bite off more than you can chew.” This means you should be realistic and set your limitations. You should understand that you cannot take up all projects that come your way. There are some that you need to turn down, because of time limitations.
It is better to take up tasks that are within your limit, rather than performing a shoddy job at the end. Even though working remotely is an option, you cannot spend the entire day working. You need breaks to be more productive. Your quality of work may suffer, if you take up more projects than you can handle.
6 Tools to Make Your Freelance Operations Super-Easy
Managing work is extremely important, even as a freelancer. You have to plan and organize projects, maintain accounts, take care of finances, and make effective business proposals. For this purpose, you can use some tools for freelancers. Below, we take you through some of the best freelance management tools available today.
- Time-management tools
- Marketing tools
- Accounting tools
- Writing tools
- Design tools
- Calendar tools
1. Time-management tools
Time-management tools are essential for freelancers. Only when you know how you spend your time, can you analyze and manage your day? A good time-tracker should have real-time tracking facilities and reporting features and be able to export data from reports generated. This can help you improve productivity and also manage a team.
It is a time-tracking tool that can run in the background and also syncs the time spent on your various devices. You can either download it as a desktop application or use it as a browser extension. With a single click, it helps you monitor the time and lets you be aware of how much time is spent on work.
It is a tool that helps keep track of your screen time. It also monitors the time spent on different sites and presents you with a detailed report. Based on the report, you can analyze your usage patterns and make amends if needed. This is one of the best apps for freelancers.
Chrometa is a tool you can use for managing time by creating timesheets. It integrates with other project management tools by running in the background. Every minute you spend is captured, with detailed reports to help you manage your time better.
2. Marketing tools
It is not enough to possess the desired skills: you should also know how to market them. By doing this, you can get the gig that you have been waiting for. When you don’t let the world know what you are capable of, how will you be able to get a breakthrough? There are many freelancer management tools waiting for you to take the best advantage of them.
It is a platform from which your work can be shared with prospective clients. This is mainly for freelance designers, who need to promote their work and network with others. You can also make use of the job board present on the app.
Hootsuite is a great tool that helps in marketing. You can manage the content in your profile and also monitor its impact. It also helps you manage and monitor your social media accounts. Not only that, you can also manage your customers on channels, such as live chat, WhatsApp, and more.
It is a free email marketing tool. This app is extremely popular with freelancers who want to reach out to a large number of subscribers at a time. The app can also be integrated with third-party features like Google Analytics.
3. Accounting tools
Accounting tools are other freelancer management tools that help simplify the task of invoicing and tracking your expenses. Since freelancers have to manage all these tasks on their own, accounting tools should be easy to use and user-friendly. An important feature that should be looked for is digitization, wherein receipts can be stored digitally on your devices.
To make your invoicing task easier, FreshBooks helps a lot. It helps in time tracking for projects and gives the client the estimate for each project. Automating payments and setting reminders become easy with this tool.
PayPal is a time-tested tool for freelancers that have been in use for a long time now. It is especially helpful when the client and freelancer are based out of different countries since bank transfer is cumbersome in such cases. PayPal is flexible and is available in more than 200 nations. Before signing up, be aware of the charges applicable here.
QuickBooks is also a wonderful tool for accounting. It can be synced with your bank accounts, so tracking your inflows and outflows becomes easier.
Xero is another important accounting tool that is user-friendly. By connecting to your bank directly, it helps in time-saving and enables you to focus on your work. On this platform, you can claim expenses, pay bills, accept payments, and even track projects.
4. Writing tools
Freelance content writing, one of the most sought-after skills, also needs the assistance of several apps. It is not only crucial to write a good piece, but it should be presentable too. The writing should convey your thoughts well, and should not have any spelling or grammatical errors. Also, it is highly essential that the content is original.
Grammarly is an excellent tool that aids writers in producing error-free copy. There is a free version for basic corrections and a paid version for advanced recommendations. If you want your writing to have a great impact, you should try using this app. The suggestions appear as you type, making the app easy to use.
The Hemingway app is also a free tool that helps with grammar and sentence corrections. It also grades your work, which is an indication of how well your writing is. This editing app helps arrange your words in a concise and presentable manner. The corrections to be made are marked in different colors, making them easier to be identified.
It is one of the most used WordPress plugins. It can help you in identifying your keyword optimization ability.
5. Design tools
Graphic design is an appealing freelance opportunity. To be an effective graphic designer, you can choose from a sea of free tools available. This is one field you need some exceptional skill since your visuals are ones that speak.
Talk design and Canva comes to mind. This alone speaks for the popularity of the tool. It gives you a walkthrough of a tutorial, where you can learn a lot of nuances about designing. Choose from multitudes of design templates for different projects, be it social media, presentations, posters, invitations, and more
Behance is also a gift to freelancers. This is a wonderful platform to display your work. Creating a portfolio has never been easier. On Behance, you can also source files, find inspiration, explore mood boards, and network with creatives from around the world.
Invision is a design tool that is patronized by many freelancers for streamlining their freelance management systems. It can sync with Photoshop, and integrate with other tools as well. Presenting your designs can become a child’s play with this efficient tool. It has various features that help design teams brainstorm and collaborate.
6. Calendar tools
Freelancers, especially those dealing extensively in social media, need to schedule content precisely. For this, they may take the help of calendar tools.
This tool is quite popular and is used by most freelancers. A lot of unique features speak for its popularity. It gives alerts before your meeting, helps you to input the location details of the meeting, and also helps share presentations and notes. It is one of the best apps for freelancers, and useful for full-fledged teams too
This is another useful tool for freelancers. It can also be accessed from multiple platforms and devices. It covers all your projects, notes, meetings, and contacts. There are many functions that can be of great use. It helps you keep your tasks organized and eliminate redundancies.
- Freelance management requires effort. Finding clients and landing your first assignment may be a daunting task but with a freelance management system, you can achieve it.
- Tools help you choose your niche. You should know what you are capable of and try to create an identity in that particular field. Your passion in the field can help you identify further opportunities.
- If you are good in a particular field, you should also try to hone your skills and improve your chances of selection. Take one step at a time, and you can go places.
- Sometimes your interests and abilities may not align. Try your hand at multiple projects to find out if the field you have chosen is the best bet. There should never be a full stop to learning.
- As a freelancer, you should try to make use of the best freelance management tools, right from time management, project management, finance management to marketing management.
- Identify the fields that are very popular. Apart from your interests, you should also know what sells in the market. If you possess a skill that is obsolete, you may not be able to find suitable gigs. After all, your job must be remunerative for the efforts that you put in.
- Planning and management are part of a freelancer’s day-to-day tasks. Without proper planning, you will have several loose ends at the end of the day, which will make your work even more unmanageable.
- Repeated defaults will only ruin your reputation and lower your scores. Hence, you should use the best apps for freelancers to assist you in your management tasks.
Analyzing the above points, it is established that management of time and work is imperative for freelancers. If you are a newbie venturing into this field, the blog has valuable inputs to help you out. If you are already working as a freelancer and are struggling to manage your work, then these freelancer management tools can be a great value-addition to your profession. The best tools for freelancers help you streamline your daily operations, so you can focus more on the creative work.
The fact that freelancers create their own time schedules for work doesn’t mean they are at liberty to do tasks at their will. Even as a freelancer, once you have taken up a job, the timelines for completion apply. Sticking to your commitments will help you scale your operations multifold, and earn a good reputation in the field. Since you are on your own, you need to create an identity, so that clients look to you, when new jobs are on offer.
Several tools for freelancers can assist you in your tasks and make your life smoother. Being unaware of these effective tools can make your tasks challenging. Keep researching and keep yourself abreast of the latest developments in your field. Also, since there is an abundance of tools online, you should be careful enough to choose the ones that are best suited to your needs. This may be with respect to your nature of work or your personal requirements.
By now, you must have understood that freelancing is seeing a great surge in competition. If you want to have an edge over others and grab opportunities as they come, you should not only possess the required skills but also know how to go about getting a job. Your client should be impressed on the first attempt. There are several platforms where you can find jobs related to your niche. In order to make this happen, you need to stay current, relevant, and upskilled. The best apps for freelancers can help you do just that.
Productivity and project management are two important factors for a freelancer. There are tools that help them in getting here effectively. Some broad categories of tools that can be useful for freelancers are calendar tools, storage tools, finance tools, writing tools, design tools, and communication tools.
There are many tools available online that freelancers can use for their benefit. To be effective and successful as a freelancer, these tools can be of great help. Many of these freelancer management tools have free trial periods. You can use them on a trial basis; and if you like what they have to offer, you can buy a subscription.
Apps assist freelancers in various ways. These apps can help take and organize notes, sync across devices and platforms, plan and schedule meetings, share events, and create visuals, among a variety of other functions.
Working on multiple projects is common for freelancers, and can sometimes be daunting. If you do not keep track of your time, it can lead to hiccups in your workflow. Tools for freelancers like Toggl, Harvest, and Chrometa help in time management.
Maintaining routines, adhering to priorities, acting without any delays, and a daily checklist of to-be completed projects go a long way in helping you stay organized. You can use a freelance project planner that can be of assistance in this process.
Although a freelancer’s interaction with the client is usually not face-to-face, effective communication is essential for the project to run smoothly. It is also required to keep all stakeholders in the loop. By using technology to your advantage, you can iron out the creases in your communication process.