The freelance life can be tough. Negotiations with clients, deadlines and time-tracking, invoices to file and follow up, can all bog you down. So try these best freelance apps and guides that can relieve the burden a bit.
None of the tools in this article are freelance job apps to help you find a gig. There are specialist sites and apps for freelance jobs for that. What we are concentrating on are productivity tools for freelancers and resources that make you more efficient.
1. Freelancers Union’s Resource Stack (Web): Everything You Need to Know
The Freelancers Union is a New York-based freelance organization that seeks to protect and empower freelancers with anything they might need. You will need to sign up for free membership, and then you can check out the free resource stack they offer.
While some of it is New York or US-related, most of the resources are things anyone can use. There’s an invoice template, financial apps for freelancers, a guide to taxes, answers about health insurance, and a guide to the small claims court. As an independent worker, you need to be prepared for any and all eventualities, which is what the Freelancers Union covers in this stack.
The Freelancer’s Union can also help you find a freelance-friendly lawyer in case things go bad. But if you follow the guides in their resource stack, hopefully it should never reach that stage.
2. Your Rate (Web): Find Your Weekly, Daily, and Hourly Rate
You need to figure out your rate before you ever approach a job because that’s the make-or-break question in most situations. Your Rate is a simple web app to calculate your worth.
The app asks you to state how much you want to earn annually, how many hours a week you want to be billable, and how many weeks you want to take a vacation. Currency doesn’t matter, put in a number.
The smart thing Your Rate does is to multiply your rate by two. If you did the same math yourself, you might forget to account for taxes or savings. These are the hidden costs you won’t account for, and which makes several independent workers eventually think they aren’t making the money they should be making.
It’s a much more real-world view of what your rate should be, and an invaluable tool for those who are new to freelance. Your Rate is an essential part of the best apps for freelance jobs because if you don’t know your rate, you might apply to the wrong low-paid jobs.
3. And.Co’s Freelance Contract (Web): Get an Airtight Contract for Free
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Being a freelancer can mean getting into legal issues over copyrights and other things. To protect yourself, make use of the Freelancers Union’s contract creator, made in association with And.Co. It’s one of the best freelance apps out there.
In a step-by-step process, the guide takes you through the process of creating a contract so that there are no misunderstandings later. The Freelancers Union has created this new standard so that it’s a familiar document for both you and your clients. Just key in information where asked, and you’ll have a new contract in no time. Give it a digital signature and send it to your client, who can then sign and approve it.
In general, And.Co is one of the best productivity tools for freelancers. It mixes invoicing, time tracking, project management, and other freelance needs into one app. It can also be a bit overwhelming at first, so give it a try.
4. TopTracker (Windows, Mac, Linux): Free Time-Tracker With Automatic Screenshots
Freelancers often need to charge your clients by the hour, and so you have to track how much time you are spending on their work. A time tracking software is an easy way to do it. And TopTracker is perhaps the best free time tracking app for freelancers.
It includes everything that some of the other good time tracking apps have, but with one difference: it automatically takes a screenshot while you’re working. This is legitimate proof that you were doing your client’s work, in case they ever doubt you. It’s a choice, so you can switch off screenshots, delete them, or blur them to protect privacy. But this simple feature makes it one of the best apps for freelance jobs that might require you to submit proof of your effort.
Apart from that, the other thing I really liked about TopTracker was that it is free for an unlimited number of projects. Most other time-tracking apps will limit how many projects or users you can add before needing to pay to unlock the full software.
TopTracker is limited to being the best time-tracking freelancer app for PC, but if you want more, check out Toggl, which many people reckon is the best time-tracking app for mobile and desktop.
5. Invoice.to (Web): Quick Invoice Generator and Tracker
I have been freelancing for several years and looked at a lot of invoice generators. Invoice.to might be the best app for freelancers looking to easily create an invoice and send it to a client.
Sign in with your Google ID if you want to record your invoices, or don’t sign in and use it as a no-registration tool to quickly generate a bill. Fill in the blanks where required for your name or company’s name, the client’s name and address, payment methods, and the rest of the details. You can even connect Invoice.to to your Stripe or Paypal account to track payments.
Once you’re done, click the little green arrow at the bottom for an auto-composed email from your Gmail. Attach the new invoice as a PDF and send it to your client. Easy-peasy.
Take a Freelancer Course, It’s Worth It
It’s tempting to download freelance job apps and start browsing for opportunities. But before you take that leap, take some time to assess whether working independently is the right decision for you. As a freelance professional, you have to manage much more than your work alone.
You are now your own boss, and you are basically running your own company with you as the employee. While the aforementioned best freelance apps will help, they won’t magically make you great at it. If you’re a newly independent worker, it can be worth your while to take one of these courses that will change your freelance life.