Tools to consider as a freelancer in 2021
Freelancing requires you to do a lot more than design and development. You have to take care of your own finances (and taxes), find, close and manage projects and manage your time wisely. Fortunately there are tools that will help you deal with the administration and time management allowing you to focus on your work. Let’s look at a few different types of tools what I’m using as a freelance web developer.
For years I’ve used Toggl, nowadays I’m using Clockify for one reason: it can handle multiple currencies for free. Both of the tools are great and they also offer a free plan. The features what they have in the free plan are pretty much the same:
- auto time tracking
- manual time tracking
In their paid plans you can manage whole teams, round times to the nearest 15-30-60 minutes, audit timesheets, estimate projects, set email reminders and generate reports with billable rates.
If you are getting started with time tracking right now, I would recommend Toggl over Clockify. It’s a really nice looking and smooth app which will help you to create a habit from time tracking. As soon as your business starts growing, Clockify might be a better fit, it offers more features for free.
I won’t write much about calendars, any calendar which is capable of synchronization between your devices will do. If you have a Gmail address, one of the best options is probably your Google Calendar: it has apps for iOS, Android and you can sync your calendar with any third party app.
A project management tool is required, even if you’re working alone. For a long time I used Trello boards with Evernote to keep track of my projects. Both of the tools are free to use, Trello has a connector called “power-up” to attach notes from Evernote. One power up per one Trello board is included in the free version. At the end of 2020 I found ClickUp what quickly became my main project management tool. It has a lot of features for free:
- project management with list, boards and calendar,
- unlimited workspaces
- time tracking,
- gantt chart,
- automation (e.g. an email received in your inbox can create a task for you automatically)
- and the best thing: it’s flexible, you create and change your workspace as you want.
There are no pros and cons here, Clickup is the tool to try and use in 2021.
Invoicing and finances
For your finances you should consult with an accountant about the taxes and rules in your country as the first thing. The best invoicing app what I can recommend is Invoicely, it has all the features for free what you need for a starting business:
- online payments,
- multiple businesses.
You should also look around in your country about local invoicing apps and services. Sometimes a local service or app is more beneficial as an international one.
The second great tool what I can recommend is Wise (formerly TransferWise). I’m using their services with my clients, the final amount which appears on my bank account is still higher than a standard bank transfer. They charge a small amount for the transfer, but they have an excellent exchange rate in return. Highly recommended.
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