Key Business Tools for Independent Contractors

By QuickBooks Canada Team

4 min read

Independent contractors have a lot of freedom when it comes to deciding when to work and what type of work to take on. Being your own boss is exhilarating, but it also comes with added responsibilities that require you to take on the tasks of marketing, landing projects, and delivering work in a timely fashion. Since there’s no upper management to give you guidance, you need to seek out the best freelancer resources that can help you present a professional face to the business world.

Getting noticed among a sea of equally determined-to-be-successful freelancers is challenging. However, you can boost your chances of being a top freelancer by incorporating some key tools into your marketing and work strategies.

Brand Identity Logo

Usually, when you think of brand identity, you think of large companies with recognizable catch phrases and logos. As an independent contractor, you’re a small fish in a big pond. Is it necessary to have a logo?

Yes, it is, if you want to stand out as a professional who is on equal footing with other professional businesses. While not all independent contractors need a logo, having one lets potential clients know that you’re a serious contender within your industry. Keep in mind that business size has nothing to do with brand identity. Whether you’re a one-person operation or you work with partners, establishing a unique brand identity defines who you are and what you do.

Logo creation is best done by professional logo designers who have experience in translating ideas into visual symbols. The designing process usually involves answering a series of easy questions about your business. Your answers help designers come up with sample logos for you to review. You then pick the design that best represents your company. Include your logo on emails, letters, company handouts, business cards, and giveaway items.

Website Builder

Setting up a website for your freelance business gives you the power to share information with prospective customers. Websites allow you to showcase your services, qualifications, and unique skills. A typical small business website is around five to 10 pages, and each page has a specific purpose. The home page has text and graphics that set the tone for the rest of the site. Do your best to create an intriguing home page to keep visitor interest high.

Save money by building your own site using simple site building tools offered by sites such as Weebly. After signing up, you gain access to ready-made templates and drag-and-drop site designing tools. Create content to go in text boxes. Upload your own graphics, or select images provided by the service. The About page gives you an opportunity to share a bit of personal information regarding your motivations, viewpoints, and professional goals.

Email Marketing Management

Establishing relationships with prospects and clients is essential to your freelance success. Email marketing remains one of the top ways to communicate with people in your network and build a reliable list of customers who want what you offer. First, do some research into email management companies, then choose an email marketing system that provides the robust tools you need.

One tried-and-true way to build a solid email list is to offer an ongoing newsletter via email subscription. Autoresponder tools allow you to set up subscription boxes on your website, and when people sign up, they receive original marketing messages tailored to their interests and needs. Top-rate email management systems let you craft messages and schedule delivery days or weeks in advance. People do business with those they like, and over time, your messages can lead to you becoming a trusted source who receives numerous inquiries and request for services.

Proposal Management

Once you’ve got your website up and running and you’re email marketing efforts begin paying off, some prospects may want you to send them a proposal. In a nutshell, proposals are documents outlining the specifics of what you intend to do for a business if they hire you. Ideally, you want your proposal to look polished and professional, and that’s a lot easier to do with Proposify, a software tool that helps you create impressive proposals with templates. The interface is simple to use, and you can store proposals for future reference.

Time Tracker

The deadline clock begins ticking the moment you accept an assignment. As your business grows, you may be working on several contract assignments during any given month. Some freelancers do numerous projects per week, which means you need a way to manage your time wisely.

Timely is one of those tools that you may come to depend on when it feels like you’re going in several directions at once. This time tracker lets you enter details about your work day using specific blocks of time. Timely automatically keeps track of all activities so you don’t need to wrack your brain trying to remember things on your to do list. It also gives you a nice overview of completed tasks, which is useful for accurate record keeping. Busy freelancers know that time is money, and automation ensures you make more by meeting deadlines.

Analyze Data

Stay informed about who is visiting your website and how many pageviews your site receives by synching your site with Google Analytics. This is a free service that reveals statistics about website and social media performance. Knowing this information helps you figure out what type of adjustments to make to your online marketing strategy.

Create Surveys

There’s always room for improvement, and surveys make it easy to get feedback from customers. Sites such as SurveyMonkey provide simple tools for creating quick surveys to send out to your contact list.

Growing your freelance business requires time and patience. With the right tools, you can improve marketing efforts to speed up your growth.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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