Whether you call them consultants, independent contractors, or gig workers, the freelancer demographic is expanding. In fact, an article on Small Biz Trends reveals that more than a fourth of the US is officially part of the gig economy. But while it may seem like a dream to be your very own boss, freelancing is far from easy. Often, it involves wearing many hats — such as being your own accountant, manager, secretary, and much more. However daunting it may be, having the right tools can definitely help. Here are some apps and programs to try for maximum productivity.
For payment management: Wave
A recent survey conducted by PayPal found that 58% of freelancers in four major countries in Southeast Asia have experienced not being paid for their work. Though the sample might be limited, it’s a problem for independent workers everywhere. With Wave’s free accounting and invoicing services, freelancers no longer have to feel intimidated asking for the pay they are due. You also get to save time thanks to its recurring billing feature, and its credit card and bank integration makes for seamless transactions.
For finding opportunities: Upwork
For some industries, finding the right jobs and people to fill certain roles are very hard. Tech freelancers on Yoss suggest that it can be an intensive process just finding people who meet the specific skills and know-how. Similarly, it’s also a challenge for workers to look for like-minded clients who won’t low-ball their talents. Tools like Upwork take care of both ends by providing a curated platform where clients and freelancers can connect. It’s matchmaking made easy — clients can easily sift through freelancers who have the technical talent, and freelancers can apply to jobs they feel confident in doing.
For organizing tasks: Trello
Visually neat and straightforward, Trello lets you list down all your projects, which you can break down into smaller tasks with their own deadlines and notes. You can even collaborate with other team members, and share your boards with clients to keep them in the loop. This tool can also be integrated with Google Drive for easy file access.
For scheduling: Google Calendar
Inarguably, Gmail is the most common email service that professionals, individuals, and companies use. As such, Google Calendar is perhaps the gold standard when it comes to calendar management. Because it syncs with other accounts so easily, you won’t have a hard time scheduling meetings and tracking everyone’s attendance.
For storing files: Google Drive
No list of handy tools is complete without Google Drive. While popular for its cloud storage capabilities, freelancers also use it to submit content, track revisions, and collaborate with clients. A basic package comes free with every Google account, but if you’re looking for more storage space, you always have the option to upgrade to G Suite Unlimited.
For focusing: RescueTime
You might think that freelancers are living the dream away from a 9-5, but Indiez editor and digital strategist Shreya Dalela shares that a lack of time is another top struggle that freelancers face. However, it’s not always about not having time, but not knowing how to manage it. To check exactly where your hours go, RescueTime runs in the background on your devices to check which apps and websites you use, and for how long. Its detailed reports will tell you which nasty habits you need to nip in the bud, whether it’s aimless scrolling through Instagram or YouTube marathons.