Handy tools for freelancers getting started
Deciding to go it alone and run your own small business is a liberating, brave career step, but it’s not without its risks.
Particularly at the beginning, you may find being your own boss a tricky change to handle. Suddenly your time has become your biggest asset, so managing it well, and having the right support to help you get the job done is very important.
Today there is a wide choice of digital tools that you can use. Here are some of the best free apps and tools for freelancers to help smooth your way, as highlighted by Inna Kaushan the co-founder of Solna.
What is it? Time tracking software that syncs across devices to show you exactly where your time is being spent.
Who’s going to love it? Small businesses or freelancers with a lot to do and no love for admin.
Time really is money, and spending too much time on a job means you’re losing money!
Accurate time tracking means you won’t undercharge or overcharge for your work. You’ll also be able to see all your projects’ progress, and how much you have left to spare when you’re pitching for new work. The key to not wasting time is knowing where you’re wasting it.
Clockify’s timekeeping dashboard is the epitome of organised, you’ll know exactly where your tasks are at a glance! Synced to both desktop and mobile, it breaks down your hours, days, and weeks. Track your time, break down the data, and turn timesheets into a doddle.
What is it? A super straightforward to-do list with easy task management. Trello is a favourite for freelancers and other small businesses because even the free version gives them exactly what they need.
Who’s going to love it? List addicts and people who like to keep their tasks and projects organised.
The humble to-do list should never be overlooked. Having a simple list of jobs to do can help you make the most of your working hours, and avoid those unpleasant moments of forgetfulness.
Bullet points on bits of A4 paper might work for a while, but when your job list starts growing, you’ll need a smarter way of managing them and staying organised. Trello is a simple task management tool which helps you organise and order your jobs with clean, colourful cards and lists. If a deadline changes, you can just move the cards around, and if you win a new client, you can create a list specifically for them and keep everything in one place.
It’s all dragging, dropping, and a bit of typing - easy!
What is it? More than just an invoicing tool, Solna does all the admin for you. It helps you track your income and gets you paid faster.
Who’s going to love it? Freelancers with lots of invoices and no time to chase them!
For some small businesses and freelancers, getting paid means sending email attachments and mailing A4 pieces of paper. It sounds simple, but it can end up being a big admin job without the right help.
If you want to get paid on time, smart invoicing is the only way to go. Solna helps you create stunning, branded invoices, send automatic payment reminders to those pesky late payers, and track every invoice until it’s in your account. All invoices come with read receipts, so no more chasing random accounts people either.
What is it? A current account for freelancers, the self-employed, and small businesses, that also takes care of the accounting and tax.
Who’s going to love it? Anyone that dreads financial admin.
Traditional accounting packages and business bank accounts haven’t kept up with the fast-paced way we work today. Cashplus addresses this by combining banking and accounting in one simple product.
Cashplus provides freelancers and small businesses with a UK-based bank account that can be set up within hours. After completing your online application you can get instant approval. Cashplus can then provide you with an account number in 5 minutes. Other benefits include that you do not require a credit check to open the account and its free to receive bank transfers and set up direct debits and standing orders
What is it? Easy meditation you can do in five or 10 minutes.
Who’s going to love it? Everyone who has a busy mind; i.e. all of us.
Running a freelance business can be stressful so a mindfulness app can help you deal with it. Headspace isn’t designed for freelancers specifically, but some quiet mindfulness is something we could all do with.
The app has hundreds of short meditation sessions designed to help with stress, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems. You can try 10 sessions for free before you decide to pay for a subscription.
As a freelancer, you’ll discover where you need help most and you’ll find that almost always there is an app that can help you. The apps mentioned here are a great help for getting started helping you to organise everything and relax when you need to.
What is it? Self-assessment tax return calculator and submission tool
Who's going to love it?
GoSimpleTax software submits directly to HMRC and is the solution for freelancers and anyone who has income outside of PAYE to file their self-assessment giving hints and tips on savings along the way. GoSimpleTax does all the calculations for you so there is no need for an accountant. Available on desktop or mobile application.
The software will provide you with tips that could save you money on allowances and expenses you might have missed.
What is it? A business proposal template tool which packs some advanced features.
Who’s going to love it? if creating business proposals in Word or PDF format is becoming cumbersome (and lets face it - they look a bit boring! ) then you need to use a proposal tool like Qwilr. Not only will it produce beautiful looking proposals, but you can embed spreadsheets, videos, slides, include interactive quotes, allow digital signature capability and much much more!