Being a successful freelancer isn’t just about being a talented designer or a skilled developer. It’s also not about how passionate or driven you are. That’s because freelancing requires you to do a lot more than design and development.
Think about it: freelancers deal with a mountain of tasks on a daily basis, from creating great websites to invoicing and admin work to the constant struggle of bringing in new clients, and keeping current ones updated and happy.
The only way to succeed and keep doing what you love is to not try to do everything yourself. That’s what digital tools are for – to handle all those repetitive tasks for you so you can focus on the things that matter most – like creating fantastic websites (and maybe getting more sleep, too?).
Let’s look at six of these time-saving tools that can help get you organised while also creating extra space in your schedule.
1. Trello for task-management
As a freelancer, it’s your responsibility to prioritise and decide the flow of your daily work schedule. The problem is that with so many tasks, it’s easy to miss a deadline, forget about a bug that needs fixing or about following up with a prospective client.
That’s why it’s critical to use the right tools to get organised so you’re always on top of your tasks and aware of the things you need to get done, and when.
A tool like Trello, for example, can help you to organise, prioritise and keep track of every task on your list. No matter if it’s client work or administrative tasks like sending an invoice or following up with a prospect, Trello is a fantastic option to manage your day-to-day tasks with ease.
Here’s how it looks:
Depending on your needs, you can create lots of different boards and cards, add comments, checklists, attachments and deadlines.
2. HootSuite for automating social media posts
Social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube can be helpful to promote your services and stay top of mind with prospects. And the truth is you don’t need to spend too much of your time to manage your social media presence. At least not when you’re using the right tools that can help to you automate this task.
So, save yourself the time of having to go on each of your favourite social networks to share content and instead, use a tool that does this for you.
HootSuite is a social media management tools that allows you schedule posts across multiple channels like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also engage with people from inside the app and quickly reply to comments.
As an alternative, Buffer is another good option that you can use for managing your social media from a single dashboard.
3. Google Alerts for automating client prospecting
Scouring the web to find new clients is time-consuming. While you can’t skip the human interaction part, you can automate some of the initial discovery tasks.
How? By using Google Alerts. All you need to do is to create alerts for relevant prospective keywords and Google will scour the web regularly and notify you when opportunities come up.
For example, you can set up several alerts for “hiring freelance web developer”, “looking for a web designer” and other variations of these keywords. Next, choose the source and the region, as well as how often you’d like to receive the alerts: as it happens, once a day or once a week.
Once you set up your alerts, Google will notify you whenever it finds an opportunity matching your criteria.
4. Bonsai for crafting and sending proposals and contracts
Another task that’s time-consuming is creating proposals. It takes time to carefully prepare each proposal and contract to ensure it’s not only visually attractive and on brand but also clear and mistake-free.
If you want to speed things up, you can use a tool like Bonsai to quickly create your proposals and contracts using a range of customisable templates and legally binding e-signature for peace of mind.
5. Business Email for scheduling client meetings and reaching inbox zero
Scheduling calls or meetings with clients or prospects can waste you a lot of precious time. All those back and forth emails where you’re trying to decide on a time that fits both your schedules can be a headache. And it can be an even bigger one if you’re working with people from different countries and time zones.
Why not save yourself the time and hassle by using a tool like our Business Email? Simply share your calendar with your prospects and clients so they can quickly get an overview of your availability. They’ll be able to see when you’re available, find a free time that works with their schedule and then, with just one click, book a meeting or a call with you.
And you know what else you can do with our Business Email? You can get your inbox organised and stop wasting unnecessary time on that never-ending stream of emails flooding our inbox. Read this post to learn more about the steps and tools to help you achieve inbox zero.
6. QuickBooks for invoicing
Collecting money from clients is not only time-consuming but in some cases, uncomfortable too. That’s why it pays to use a tool that automates this task for you so you don’t have to waste time following up with clients or wondering whether they’ve received or seen your invoice.
QuickBooks is a good option that allows you create invoice directly from your proposals and estimates, send them to your clients and keep an eye on their status.
Bonsai is another great option if you want to save lots of time and only use a single tool to automate the entire process from creating and sending proposals and contracts to sending invoices and getting paid.
Another popular but basic alternative is PayPal that allows you to create and schedule simple invoices via email.
The key benefit to using these tools, or similar ones, is that they can free up lots of time in your schedule that you can use on other paid projects or to find and bring in the next lead.
We’d love to hear from you. Which of these time-saving tools are you using and are there any other you’d recommend?