With New Year’s coming up, again (another year passed, already?), it is time to reflect on our lives and create our New Year’s resolutions for 2017. Spend more time with family, live a healthier lifestyle, and... grow our businesses and get more clients.
As a freelancer – a writer, designer, consultant, web developer, event planner, or other type of professional – you need a well-stocked tool box to get your projects completed, build your career, attract new clients, and stay organized.
Here is a list of the top six tools that can help keep you on track and enable you to concentrate on what you know best – delivering your product or service.
1. Xero – an ideal accounting solution
Accounting is probably one of the most important elements of your business. Xero is online accounting software for small businesses. It allows small business owners to log in anytime, see their up-to-date financials, send invoices, and create expense claims. Users can send online invoices to customers – and be advised when they’re opened. Bank accounts can be reconciled by importing and categorizing the latest bank transactions. The Xero mobile app is designed for use with iPhone and iPad as well as Android phones and tablets.
The cost of plan ranges from $20/month to $40/month depending on the features and capabilities required.
2. Spectoos – a great platform for lead generation
The main problem with testimonials is that they can be easily manipulated and falsified, and most people never truly believe what they read. Spectoos aims to alleviate the problem by linking every testimonial to a social profile that can be easily verified by anyone. This allows website owners to build trust with their audience, generate more business, and drive conversions.
The powerful Spectoos testimonial platform streamlines the entire process of testimonial curation, management, and display. Users can collect testimonials from all the major review sites (Yelp, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Recommendations, etc.) or create a branded testimonial request form and easily share it with their customers.
Testimonials are displayed in a widget (known as the Faceboard) or can be embedded to your website as new page showing a list of all your testimonials. WordPress users can use the WordPress testimonial plugin. Spectoos also provides performance stats (e.g. which is the most-clicked testimonial), a mini-site to help drive SEO traffic, and more.
Pricing ranges from free to $50.00 a month, depending on the level of service and features required. All Spectoos pages and widgets are mobile-friendly and can be accessed from any device.
3. Freedcamp – a nice tool for team collaboration
Freedcamp enables planning and organization between individuals and groups. It empowers collaboration using digital versions of the many and varied methods people have used to date. These include:
- Task lists and overviews
- Sticky Notes
- A calendar, with tasks, milestones and events all in one place
- File uploads
- Time tracker; enables tracking project time and then billing via the Invoice application
Pricing ranges from US$2.99 to $10.99 a month.
4. G Suite – an easy and free set of tools to stay organized, collaborate, and more
G Suite (formerly known as Google Apps for Work) provides a full suite of software to help small businesses. They offer email, calendar, document creation and storage, and more. Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets enable online cooperation on documentation, updating, reviewing, editing etc.
Mobile devices, email addresses, security settings and more can all be managed from the Google Admin console. Events can be scheduled in Calendar with meeting reminders sent directly to a Gmail inbox. Hangouts enables teamwork, and budgets can be created in Google Sheets, for sharing with team members and editing it in real-time.
G Suite is free, but there are plans for $5.00 or $10.00 per month, depending on the amount of storage and other features you require.
5. Freedom – A fantastic app for boosting productivity
Freedom blocks Internet, apps, and websites to allow you to concentrate on the task at hand and to stop being distracted by internet activity when you should be working. This aids productivity and reduces irritation from pop-ups, update messages, and the like. It creates unlimited lists of distracting websites and apps and allows you to add websites and apps to custom lists.
Freedom works on Mac, Windows, and iOS (iPad, iPhone). You can use this app for $2.42/month if you sign up for a year (a one-time payment of $119.99), or you can pay-as-you-go at a rate of $6.99/month.
6. Shake – A wonderful solution for the legal aspects of your freelance business
Shake allows you to create, draft and sign fully legally binding agreements and documents, without having to spend huge amounts on lawyers. The agreements are created from templates and cover a range of legal aspects, from rental and leases, through freelance contracts, confidential (non-disclosure) agreements, buying and selling contracts, loans, and photography releases. They also provide a personalized contract which can be created 'on the fly'.
Shake by LegalShield is available on the web, iOS and Android. Prices are subject to needs.
In 2017, there should be no reason for you to feel stressed about work and how many clients you have – thanks to these tools, you can feel empowered and confident that you will get the clients you need and manage your business like a champ.