Apps and online tools are now an indispensable component for every type of business, not least freelance professionals. There is an app for everything these days and many of our activities, both professional and otherwise, are connected in some way to applications and related software.
For freelancers especially, apps provide a vital supportive system that makes running a solo business a whole lot easier.
Freelancing is hard work. Despite the romantic image people have of the freelancer casually working from home in their pajamas, the reality is often something a lot different. The hours can be long, the workloads heavy, and without careful attention to health and productivity, a freelance life can also be stressful.
It’s for this reason, freelancers need to take advantage of all the tools and technology at their disposal. Including those which can improve workflows, automate repetitive tasks, cultivate client loyalty, reinforce a personal brand, and help you get paid on time.
The following are 10 types of apps we believe are essential for successful freelancers:
Time is everything when you’re a freelancer. Whether you bill by the hour or by the project, the more billable hours you can get into a week, the more you will earn. Time tracking apps help you to record, monitor, and analyze your working day. You can then use the data to find more productive ways to work faster, delegate tasks and automate processes.
With Invoice Ninja’s time-tracker you can quickly convert time data into an invoice based on the number of hours you’ve spent on a client’s project.
Kanban board apps
Kanban boards are a project management tool ideal for both teams and solo freelancers. They provide a visualization of your workflow and can include the multiple different client projects you might be working on at any given time. The boards can be used to plan, organize, and complete both project, admin, and self-marketing tasks which are all essential for small business owners.
Our team have developed a Kanban board from where you can also time-record individual tasks.
You need to get paid. You also need to request the payment in a way that doesn’t detract from your brand identity. This means providing your clients with an easy and hassle-free way to quickly make a payment. With Invoice Ninja, for example, your clients can pay directly from the invoice itself with their preferred payment method, in a matter of seconds. All the data is recorded for your records.
Check out our comprehensive suite of invoicing features.
Appointment scheduling apps
For many freelancers, arranging appointments is a hassle. Finding out an exact time when both you and your client are free can be challenging. A simple solution is to set up an appointment scheduler where you predetermine blocks of time for meetings and consultations. Your prospect or client then simply selects an appropriate block of time for them, from the shared calendar, and the meeting time is fixed. It’s all automatic and saves everyone a lot of time.
Electronic signature apps
An electronic signature is an encoded signature attached to an electronic document. They are recognized in most countries around the world (including the US, UK, and EU member states) as a legally binding means of signing documents. Acquiring an electronic signature from a client is extremely easy, when using specialist software, and can be completed within minutes, unlike the traditional paper delivery method which can potentially take weeks.
Email list apps
When it comes to marketing yourself as a freelance professional, there are few marketing channels as powerful as your carefully cultivated email list. A list of subscribers, fans, and clients, is yours to own forever, even if your website was to disappear or your business to evolve. Having that trusted and intimate email inbox access allows you to reach people, again and again, who are likely to one day become clients.
Online file storage apps
Perhaps the most important thing freelancers need to do early on in their career is to set up an online file storage system. Keeping all your documents, including the work you do for clients, in cloud storage ensures the work remains safe. If your computer was to die a sudden death or be stolen, then you can potentially lose weeks, even months, of important paid work you just can’t get back.
Social media apps
Social media platforms are great for developing a presence where your target clients spend a lot of their time. Unfortunately, social media usage can also be a bit of a black hole. What was meant to be a few minutes updating your profile’s timeline can end up as a costly distraction. Social media tools allow you to write statuses days and even weeks in advance, and then schedule them to go out automatically on set dates.
Without a good calendar system, a freelancer will soon find themselves slipping into chaos. A calendar app allows you to add and edit important tasks and events such as phone calls, research periods, and client projects. Together with Kanban boards, a calendar helps you to visualize where certain project tasks or client meetings can be given appropriate time and focus. Calendar apps can also be synced with a huge number of other apps including appointment planners, spreadsheets, time-trackers, and more.
Freelancing is often a solitary career in terms of teamwork but not always. Some freelance services require active collaboration with agencies and other freelancers in complementary fields. When this happens, you need to be familiar with the best collaboration apps. These secure apps allow you to quickly and easily work on projects together with collaborative partners, often in real-time, without the need for long back-and-forth email threads.
At Invoice Ninja we realized early on how important the most up-to-date technology and software is to small business owners and freelancers. This is why we’ve developed a number of apps and tools to make a freelance professional’s life a lot easier. We have a whole suit of innovative invoicing features for busy freelancers as well as integrated time-tracking software, Kanban boards, and more.
Invoice Ninja also connects with thousands of apps via Zapier integrations, which means you can link your account to just about any quality app out there. All this allows you to speed up workflows, improve productivity, automate repetitive tasks, better connect with clients, and boost your brand image, all from one central hub.
Take full advantage of the latest technological developments to ensure your workday is as productive as it can be!