Making the move from full-time employee to full-time freelancer is never easy. While working for yourself certainly has its perks, it can be daunting to take the leap and start your own business. You need to establish your brand, work out your charge rates, attract new customers, do your own taxes and maintain all your paperwork. In order to make the transition to business owner easier, here are five tools that every freelancer needs to get started.
1 Project management software
Once you have your business up and running, you’ll quickly realise that self-motivation is your best friend. You need to keep on top of all your tasks and manage all your deadlines – there’s no manager looking over your shoulder or co-worker to share the load. Tools like Trello, can help you organise all your projects in one place and manage upcoming deadlines. It’s also perfect for collaborations as everyone can have access and make contributions and it will sync across all devices.
2 Email marketing software
As you build up a list of loyal clients and bring people into your business network, it’s worthwhile establishing some kind of mailing list so you can keep in touch. Email marketing software, such as MailChimp, is relatively inexpensive when you’re just starting out. But it can be a terrific marketing tool for your business and help to grow your brand. Embed a pop up on your website and start capturing email addresses straight away.
3 Social media automation
Part of working for yourself is the reality of running your own business and maintain your own brand. Not only is it important to have a well-designed, user-friendly website, but you need to keep your social media channels up-to-date too. That’s where a social media scheduling tool, like Hootsuite, can save you serious time and effort. You can plan and schedule your posts in advance and use automation technology to recycle old posts and repost them at optimum times to ensure best results.
4 Online storage
Now you no longer have an IT department to help with your computer issues, you need to make sure your technology is all up-to-date. In addition to investing in a solid laptop and phone, you need to make sure your work is backed up – often. You could opt for a external hard drive but these days online storage can be even safer and easier to access. Try Dropbox for an affordable solution and rest easy knowing all your work is backed up and secure.
5 Cloud accounting software
Instead of having an employer who takes care of all your paperwork, you’re going to suddenly need to get your head around taxes, deductions and super contributions. You’ll have money coming in and going out and it can be hard to monitor your cash flow and determine how much money you are actually making. Get reliable cloud accounting software, like QuickBooks, set up from the start so you can monitor your business success and avoid any financial headaches come tax time.