Whether it’s project management or invoices, the right apps can make all the difference. Here’s our suggestions of the best ten apps for every freelance occasion.
Managing your projects
It’s no wonder that Evernote is such a popular app, because it really is a godsend for organisation. You can make to-do lists and reminders, as well as save important images and documents. On top of that, it syncs across devices so you don’t need to worry about leaving your planner at home anymore! And you can make group notebooks, so it’s easy to share relevant notes with clients.
Asana is fab too. You can make each client a separate ‘project’ in the app and set up separate to-do lists for each of them. You can also upload attachments and share with clients.
Tracking your time
Toggl lets you track how much time you’re spending on a specific project, in real time. You can track as many projects and clients as you need (and colour code them – who doesn’t love colour-coding?!) You can even send pie charts to clients so they know how much time you’ve spent on their work and what that time was spent doing. This is perfect if you set an hourly rate.
Hours is another app for time-tracking. You can set unlimited timers and switch between them with just a tap. Syncing between devices is also included in the free package. You can also upgrade if analytics and data visualisations are up your street.
If you can’t put your smartphone down, Forest is a must-have. This nifty little app lets you plant a seed and set a timer. When that timer’s finished counting down, your tree will grow. But here’s the catch – if you leave the app, your tree will wither and DIE. So if virtual forests are your thing, that’s pretty good motivation to stay off your phone!
If you really want to go all out on this front, Freedom is the holy grail of anti-procrastination apps. You can block yourself from the whole internet for up to 8 hours at a time, or make block-lists of sites which are the most common offenders when you procrastinate.
Check out Harvest if you’re sick of writing up invoices and want an app that does it for you. As well as letting you track time like Toggl, you can create and send invoices online and get payments through Paypal (as well as other services). On top of that, you can set up flexible billing rates and automated payment reminders (for those pesky clients that keep ‘forgetting’ to hand over the cash). You can even track expenses, so it really takes the struggle out of keeping your finances in order.
There’s also Harpoon which goes beyond just invoicing. It lets you set longer term financial goals and map out plans to achieve them. You can then plan your projects based on how much revenue you want to bring in in a certain month. It means you’re not winging it and you can even figure out the best time to take a well-earned holiday.
Get those important documents sorted
Bidsketch takes the hassle out of drawing up convincing project proposals. With customisable templates, you won’t miss out that key detail again. It’s great for creatives because you can embed images to make your pitch really visual and engaging. No more long hours spent reformatting and rearranging. On top of that, it tells you when the client has opened your proposal, so you know when to follow-up! And it tells you how much time they spent looking at it, so you’re not wasting time on people who glanced at it for 10 seconds.
Bonsai is a similar app, but for those all-important contracts. You answer a few questions and it’ll generate a relevant contract (and all their templates have been vetted by lawyers!) It has e-signatures included too, which is great if you’re working with a client who’s too far away to sign it in person.
So there you have it. With these apps, you can automate a lot of the less than fun elements of freelancing and really focus on what you do best – creating!