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April 8, 2016

The Best Online Tools for Freelancers

According to the Freelancing in America 2015 report, freelance work is the new normal.  The latest figures of the Freelancers Union from fourth quarter of last year states that nearly 54 million Americans are doing freelance work.  In fact, from 2014 to 2015, 60 percent started freelancing by choice.  It is forecasted that by the year 2020, freelancers in America will make up nearly half the workforce.

Although they may not think so, freelancers are actually business owners in their own right.  They market their services to various companies and they get paid, they navigate through project requests, fill out invoices and update their portfolio for future clients.  These activities are what small businesses do on a regular basis.

To be an effective and successful freelance worker, the right online tools are needed.  Here is a list of some of the best online tools, categorized per function, to aid freelancers in managing their business better.

Accounting Functions

Wave is a cloud-based accounting system especially made for small businesses.  It has basic functions such as invoicing, payroll, payments and personal finance.

FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting system that is especially designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses.  Its main thrust is to allow non-accountants to use the app and not be daunted whatsoever.  The strength of FreshBooks is its simple approach – it tracks billable hours, has an online invoicing system, has expense tracking and has financial reporting tools that are relevant for a small business. This constant award winner for best customer service and design is a top pick in most online reviews.

Zoho Books is another winner. It was selected as Business News Daily’s best micro-business accounting software.  Freelancers will appreciate its clean and simple platform, which allows them to track expenses, sync their bank accounts and create and send invoices.

MYOB of Australia is a small-business accounting software that has reached global recognition.  It even has its own customized checks that can easily be ordered online. It presents a clear picture of a freelancer’s cash flow and a smart  way to manage bills.

Organization, Storage and Project Management

CX Cloud Storage offers free 10 GB data, much more than other cloud storage software available.  This is great news for freelancers who are looking for free storage space for their expanding files.

Dropbox is one of the most well-known storage solutions. Aside from data storage which can be accessed anytime, freelancers can also share documents using this software.  However, their free plan is only capable of storing up to 2GB.

Wunderlist is a to-do list app that is available through several platforms – mobile, tablet or desktop devices.  This intuitive app allows the freelancer to organize to-do lists per project.  It is also possible to create reminders and set deadlines using this app.

Trello is a wonderful app for organizing projects.  This tool allows freelancers to manage their own projects and even collaborate with a team.  It helps the freelancer keep track of specific tasks within the project, and allows collaborators to comment and ask questions about certain tasks.

Presentations

• Slideshare allows freelancers to showcase what they can do through a presentation platform.  Through SlideShare, anyone can upload and share presentations online.

• Bidsketch allows anyone to create a project proposal that is well-organized, coherent, and engaging.  The templates and landing pages are customizable, and personal electronic signatures can be added.

Time Management

Toggl is a time tracker software that lets freelancers create tasks and set the beginning and end of each task.  Tasks may also be organized per client, and they may also be organized from the shortest task to the longest task or vice versa.

Rescue Time allows the freelancer to determine how much time they’re spending doing a particular task.  It runs on the background of a mobile or desktop device and gives a personalized report on how much time you spend on certain activities.

Communication

• Web entrepreneurs and freelancers all get unnecessary, unimportant e-mails.  There are lots of them.  Mailstrom allows people to clean up their e-mail inbox by identifying related mail that makes it easy to decide what to do with them.

Sanebox, much like Mailstrom, filters a person’s e-mail.  It features functions such as “one click-unsubscribe” wherein users are able to drag mail into the trash and never receive anything from that sender again.  Other functions are “response tracking” and “snooze non-urgent e-mails.”

Mailchimp is an e-mail marketing service that allows a freelancer to manage subscribers, send e-mails and track expected results, should there be any.

Hootsuite allows a freelancer to keep track of all social media activities, and to send all important messages, announcements or information to all social media subscriptions by using one dashboard.


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Robin Peterson works as a business analyst at Chekomatic — a one-stop destination to buy genuine computer checks for all accounting software. Robin has vast experience in the field of strategizing the business policies and can lead a business to the pinnacle of success. He loves sharing the valuable tips on the same with the audience through highly informative blogs.

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