Being your own boss has its perks. You’ll likely avoid micromanagement, save on the commute costs and can spend your day doing the things you love (yes, even things that don’t involve work). But, becoming a freelancer is not an easy shift. While being your own boss evidently has its advantages, there are some downsides to the freelancer life. Mainly, managing your time effectively, maintaining self-discipline and feelings of isolation are some disadvantages to being a freelancer. Yet, don’t fear – here’s TechRound’s must-have tools checklist for any freelancers today who want to transform their freelancing.
1. Reliable Internet Connection
Many freelancers work from home. In fact, many took the leap to become self-employed during the pandemic in 2020 because of its convenience. But, what is one thing every freelancer must have if they want to ensure productivity, client retention and results? A reliable internet connection. More specifically, business broadband.
Though starting off as a freelancer will come with a budget, one area that workers should spend their money on is an internet connection. Home broadband, while it is cheaper, simply doesn’t provide the benefits that business broadband does. Business broadband is faster, more secure and comes with a guaranteed engineer if, in the rare event, the connection is lost. Want to find out more about home vs business broadband? Read more here.
2. Comfortable Workspace
The environment you work in will have an impact on your productivity as a freelancer. While being a freelancer allows workers to work from abroad on occasion or to visit the local café for some mid-afternoon motivation, having a base as a freelancer is key.
For some, renting out a space or a desk, especially in London, is a good way to network, and stay disciplined and organised. While for other freelancers, working from home is part of the beauty of the job. However, if working from home, freelancers should ensure that their workspace is comfortable and inspiring. But, how can you achieve this?
Some quick tips for improving your working-from-home space as a freelancer are:
- Investing in a standing desk (these have great health benefits)
- Buying an ergonomic chair (you can find plenty online, such as from IKEA and Amazon for an affordable price)
- Find a designated work area (this can help separate your work and home life)
- Add some plants, photos or photographs to make the space more exciting
- Try out noise-cancelling headphones
Making your workspace as a freelancer doesn’t need to be expensive; there are plenty of ways remote freelancers can invest in their work environments today.
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3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool is a software system that can help analyse and maintain customer relationships. Essentially, CRM software enables businesses, and freelancers, to centralise a large amount of information. This specific information can include, but is not limited to:
- Customer data (names, addresses, contact details etc.)
- Sales leads
- Sales processes
- Marketing campaigns
- Customer complaints/issues
- Sales performance data
- Customer interactions
CRM tools are not just beneficial for large corporations, they can also help freelancers streamline work and analyse customer satisfaction. Likewise, it can be used to maintain, organise and report client information (which, is crucial for any freelancer).
4. Time-Tracking Software
Though becoming a freelancer means saying goodbye to dated leadership styles, freelancers will still need to report to clients. Specifically, freelancers will need to be transparent about the time that they are spending on client projects for any reports. While a trusted Google Sheet can do the trick, there are time-tracking software tools available today that can help speed the process up.
But, how can time-tracking software help freelancers? Well, it’s mostly beneficial because they can help you understand what client, task or project is being spent the most time on. Similarly, it can help create billing reports more quickly and accurately.
5. Collaborative Tools
Another must-have tool for freelancers is a collaborative tool. While freelancers often take the leap to become self-employed because it means working solo, they will still need to manage and organise their work effectively. Luckily, collaborative tools like Asana, Basecamp and Trello are all great examples of software that enables freelancers to organise their time effectively.
What’s more, such collaborative tools often come to allow you to share specific files, add notes to projects and assign deadlines. These are all great features that can be used by freelancers who want to streamline communication with clients.
What Tools Do Freelancers Use?
Freelancers use a variety of tools. From social media management software, and SEO software to copywriting tools like Grammarly – the tools that are available today are endless. But, some of the main tools freelancers invest in are: an ergonomic desk/chair, project management software, accounting software and business broadband. What tool suits one freelancer might not suit the next. The great thing about being a freelancer is that you can find the tools that suit you most.
Should I Pay for Freelancer Tools?
Investing in freelancer tools is not always a must. But, there are some non-negotiables such as a fast and reliable broadband connection, a comfortable workspace and any other client management software. However, that’s not to say you have to spend hundreds of pounds on freelancer tools. There are plenty of discounted, affordable and even free freelancer tools available online in the UK today. It’s also a good idea to try tools before you buy the full version!