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As a new freelancer, it can be super inspiring to see how others in the same niche can create a thriving business and still have time to spend on marketing and growth.
But how exactly are they able to manage their client load and still have time to work not just in their business, but on it?
One thing that sets experienced freelancers apart is their ability to use tools that help them streamline their business operations.
In this post, we’ll be going over tools that can help you with:
- Scheduling social media posts
- Bookkeeping and invoicing
- Graphic design
- Project management
- Time tracking
Without further ado, let’s jump in!
Pinterest can be a great place for freelancers looking for new clients.
Your pins can link to blog posts showing off your expertise, your work-with-me page, or a content upgrade tailored to help your ideal client.
But what if you don’t want to spend hours manually pinning on Pinterest every day? Cue Tailwind.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool designed for bloggers and business owners who want to save time pinning while gaining traffic and leads from Pinterest.
Below are some of my favorite Tailwind features:
- Schedule one week worth of pins in 30 minutes or less
- Unlimited scheduling when you choose the annual plan
- Use Tailwind Tribes to gain more exposure and repins with the help of your Tribe mates
- Easily loop pins using the SmartLoop feature
- View detailed pin, board, and Tribes analytics
Tailwind offers a free trial for you to test it out and see how you like it. During your trial, you can try all of Tailwind’s features and schedule up to 100 pins.
After your trial ends, Tailwind scheduling comes to about $120 if you choose the annual plan or $14.99 per month for one account.
If you offer social media services, Buffer is a great tool you can use to schedule your client’s content to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
At the time of writing this, Buffer offers a free 14-day trial for their Business plan. After your trial ends, their Pro plan starts at $15 per month. This plan allows you to schedule 100 posts and attach 8 social media accounts.
Here are a few awesome things you can do with Buffer:
- Add your content to multiple social media platforms at once
- Use the calendar view to see when all of your content will be posted
- Create an optimized posting schedule using the Optimal Timing Tool
- Schedule content via Buffer’s website, mobile app, or browser extension
FreshBooks is an awesome accounting and invoicing software made for small business owners and freelancers.
They make it incredibly easy to track your business finances and organize everything for when tax time comes around.
Below are some awesome things you can do with FreshBooks:
- Create and send professional invoices to clients within minutes
- Feel confident that your finances are ready for tax time
- Keep track of income and expenses from multiple clients
- Time-tracking and team management options available
- Accept card and ACH direct bank transfers online
- Super helpful and fast customer support
FreshBooks is a great option for new and more experienced freelancers, so be sure to take advantage of their 30-day free trial to see if it’s the right fit for you and your business. After your free trial ends, plans start at $15 per month.
QuickBooks Online is a popular, stress-free bookkeeping tool for self-employed business owners.
With QuickBooks Online, you can:
- Easily organize your business income and expenses by category
- Quickly send clients invoices and payment reminders, via the website or mobile app
- Accurately calculate estimated quarterly taxes for your business
- Prep for tax time by taking a photo or forwarding an email of your business receipts to save them to your records
- File your federal and state taxes in a jiffy (with the QuickBooks + TurboTax bundle)
For current pricing and more info on QuickBooks Online plans, check out their website here.
If you’re a new freelancer on a tight budget looking for free accounting software, Wave could be a great fit for you.
With Wave, you can:
- Create and send professional invoices within minutes
- Track and manage your business income and expenses
- View profit & loss reports, cash flow, and a balance sheet to gauge your business’s health
- Upload business receipts via the Wave app
- Manage payroll for a small team
Wave is an excellent tool for small business owners looking to manage their books in a cost-efficient way.
Canva is an online software you can use to design graphics for your blog or business in record time.
When you create a free account, you’ll get access to hundreds of templates you can use whenever you need to quickly design a promotional graphic.
With Canva, you can:
- Easily design branded graphics to promote your freelance business
- Access hundreds of free fonts and design elements to help your graphics stand out
- Quickly search for and find beautiful stock photography using Canva’s Photos tab
- Find cute animations, stickers, illustrations and icons to use on your designs from the Elements tab
- Save your designs as a JPEG, PNG, PDF, or MP4 file
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly tool to help you create beautifully branded graphics in a jiffy, definitely give Canva a whirl!
Trello was the first project management tool I used as a new freelancer and I still think it’s a great resource that can help you manage your business and your clients.
Below are a few cool things you can do with Trello:
- Easily collaborate on projects with clients or team members
- Use boards to create to-do lists or project outlines
- Add comments, checklists, and due dates to your board tasks
- Stay on top of your lists via the mobile app (available for iPhone and Android)
Asana is a popular project management tool for small business owners and freelancers. It shares similarities with Trello, but has a different interface and feel.
Here are a few of my favorite features on Asana:
- Easily create projects and collaborate with clients
- View project progress and overview in different formats (i.e. list, board, calendar)
- Send and receive messages with clients using the Inbox feature
- Organize your projects via the website or mobile app
Toggl is a free time-tracking tool you can use to keep tabs on where you’re putting your time as a new freelancer.
This kind of tool can come in handy at the beginning of your freelance career when you’re fleshing out an hourly rate that’s fair to you and your client.
On Toggle, you can:
- See what projects and tasks are taking the bulk of your time
- Invite team members so you can track projects together
- Analyze your time tracking report and filter it by client, project, or tag
- Track time using their app, browser extension, or website
It’s one of the first tools I used in my business, and I can’t recommend it highly enough for service-based business owners.
10. My Hours
Another great, free time-tracking option is My Hours. It has similar features to Toggl, but it has more team management and billing options.
Below are a few of my favorite features My Hours has to offer:
- Track your hours in real-time or manually add hours worked
- Create and send clients a personalized invoice in minutes
- Invite team members, approve team projects, and monitor the status of your team members
- Easily track your time from anywhere with their website and phone app available for iPhone and Android.
how business tools can help you
Managing your own business can be difficult and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right resources and guidance, you can begin to grow by leaps and bounds.
Business tools can help you:
- Better prepare for tax time with accurate records and profit/expense reports
- Send clients professional invoices that send automatic late payment reminders
- Quickly design social media graphics to promote your freelance business
- Track billable hours for clients you charge on an hourly basis
- Schedule a month’s worth of social media content in a few hours
It’s all about understanding how the right tools can help you scale your business, work more efficiently, and ultimately allow you to work on the areas of your business that you enjoy most.
What tools are you using to grow your freelance business?