Being your own boss is an incredibly rewarding and liberating way to make a living. But it isn’t easy. Not only do you have to keep up with the fluctuating workload of your freelance projects, but you also have to handle every last administrative detail, constantly solicit new work, communicate effectively with your clientele, and do it all quickly and efficiently.
Fortunately for us freelancers, we live in the age of smart phones, and there are countless tools to help keep our businesses running smoothly even when we are on the go.
Business Card Reader
Networking is essential for every freelancer, and we are constantly collecting business cards and phone numbers of prospective clients. This iPhone app allows you to quickly import, organize, and store the contact info you need, eliminating time consuming data entry and the need to dig through piles of cards looking for an email address. Business Card Reader sells in the app store for $4.99.
Available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, this app is an incredibly useful and efficient way to track your work hours. It allows you to simultaneously record time spent on projects and the tasks within in them, making cost analysis and invoicing much easier and more accurate. It even incorporates a GPS tracker to count your mileage on road trips. Retails for about €8 per month.
For the android users out there, this free app is brilliant for increasing your typing speed when sending emails or editing documents. Just slide your finger along the keyboard without lifting your finger and the program generates and suggests words quickly and accurately.
This powerful free iPhone app sends you push notifications of job listings posted on Elance.com, Freelancer.com, Odesk.com, Vworker.com, and Scriptlance.com related to your specific work interests. It will save you hours of mining through ads while sitting in front of the computer.
Omni Invoice is an app that helps you generate professional customized quotes and invoices right from your iPhone. It will help you avoid costly delays in payment because of backlogged quoting or billing, which is essential for every for every healthy freelance business. Get it for $5 in the app store.
This simple app is great for the freelancer who needs a little extra push to get started on that job he’s been putting off. It keeps track of how long it’s been since you sent that last invoice, started the project that should be done by now, took a vacation, sat down to get some serious work done, or anything else that has been a bit too long in coming.
iFiles lets you link files from your work computer directly to your iphone so that you can view, edit, and share efficiently while you are on the move. Sleek and intuitive, it costs just $3.99.
Need to manage multiple social media pages to market your freelance services, but don’t have a single platform for easily staying on top of all of them at once? There is an android app for that. It is pricey at $5.99 per month, but gives a lot of bang for the buck and can be a tremendous time saver.
Available for free on most Smartphone platforms, Skype is the essential tool for keeping connected while on the go, allowing you to video chat and make calls internationally on the internet for free. If you don’t already have it, you should.
Blogs are a great way for freelance writers and artists to get their work and their names out into the world. Having an app on your phone that keeps you connected with your readers wherever you may be is a must have.
Staying on top of the many aspects of a freelance business can be tough, and we all need a little help now and then. That is why it pays to make sure you have the tools you need to make the most of your time, so that you can spend more of doing paid work, rather than all the administration and business tasks that go with working as a freelancer.
About the Author: Jenny Quinn is a freelance writer with a passion for technology who currently works for Cancer Research Jobs.