Friday, April 12, 2013

Top 10 Time Saving Tools for the Freelancer


The Internet has made running your own show a lot easier. As a freelancer, you’re likely to encounter problems that, if you were the CEO of a large company, would probably be dealt with by your subordinates. However, as a one-man band, you have to deal with the nitty-gritty, as well as dedicate the time to actually running your business. Thankfully, whatever your problem, someone has already created a solution to it. Let’s take a look at the top 10 time-saving tools available to freelancers.

1. QuickBooks. This is the most popular bookkeeping software in the world, and is used by over 4.5 million companies. Accounting is one the most time-consuming, yet vital aspects of business management. However, bookkeeping software can turn a time-expensive process into an automated process that virtually looks after itself. There’s no need for any accounting experience and the software will merge with practically any platform. Check out Intuit UK for more details.

2. LogMeIn . This is perfect for freelancers who spend a lot of time doing onsite work for their clients, but occasionally need to use their computers. LogMeIn is an app that allows you to log into your home computer through a browser and control it remotely. You may have encountered versions of this when seeking technical support online. You don’t have to be in your home to get hold of that important document; using this service, you can get hold of it wherever you happen to be.

3. SwitchRates. A lot of time can be wasted on trying to work out just how much you ought to charge for your services. SwitchRates is an online conversion calculator that does it all for you. It works out the annual cost of running your business, your personal costs, how many hours you can charge for and how much profit you’d like to make, before coming up with an hourly rate. A great tool for freelancers who are striking out for the first time and haven’t yet decided their worth.

4. GoToMeeting. In the early days of business, travel can cost and the time could be better spent elsewhere. You have to pay for this service but, compared to the financial and hourly cost of train travel or flights, it practically pays for itself. Essentially, this software allows you to organize online conference calls with the minimum of fuss.

5. Google Documents. Unlike Microsoft Word and Excel, this software is free and does the job with equal finesse. You can access and view spreadsheets and documents using Google’s service and even convert them back into Excel and Word, if those are the platforms your clients are using.

6. Lino It. Time is often lost through the process of sticking post-its to computer screens or work surfaces. In an untidy office, these things run as much risk of getting lost as anything else. However, if you like the scatty approach, then why not do it online? Lino It gives you a virtual cork board and sticky notes that will never fall off or accidentally get hovered up.

7. Todoist. The most successful businesses run on lists. Todoist allows you to make that list online and will even send you reminders about important events and dates. You can use it as broadly or as specifically as you want, even to the point where you can create an hour by hour schedule, complete with notifications and alerts.

8. Toggl. This piece of software is like a virtual egg-timer that will tell you how much you communicate with each of your clients. It will record the length of phone calls and the frequency of emails, so you can manage your time that much better.

9. MindMeister. Brainstorming doesn’t have to come to a halt, even if your soundboarding partner is miles away. MindMeister creates online maps of ideas and how they link together, however tangentially. Brilliant for those ideas you might want to revisit at a later date.

10. BaseCamp. This is a project management tool that breaks all the constituent parts and participants in a project down into categories and columns. Using this you can get an instant snapshot of who’s supposed to be doing what and by when. Project management can be extremely time-sensitive, so make the most of the time you have.

Special thanks to JonJon Yeung, a freelance writer, for writing this informative guest post for us.

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