When I first started freelancing I was overwhelmed with 100 million tools that all kind of did the same thing, or did only some of the same thing plus some extra functionality that I wasn’t sure I needed.
After a year and a half of freelancing full time, I’ve finally sifted through the bs and found out what’s worked for me. Also keep in mind I’m the ultimate penny pincher. 3 out of 5 of these are free and the two that aren’t are $12 or less. I have no plans to upgrade for at least the next year.
Free Time tracking software
- Allows you to export beautiful timesheets such as this one for clients
- Track your time for each client, project, and task
- Dashboard shows you the breakdown of time utilization (emails *cough*)
Integrates with pretty much everything
- Amazing iPhone and Android application
- Integrates with todo lists like "todo-ist"
- Pomodoro setting
- Chrome extension
- If you work with a team, the team can track hours collectively
4. Google Domain
$12 .com domains without the GoDaddy headache
Look at that simple, button-click allowing you to hookup your domain to any platform of your choosing
- Ridiculously easy to integrate with the platform you built your website with
- You also get free privacy protection (cut down on tons of unwanted spam)
- If it says it's $12, the checkout total will always be $12
- Almost every available .com domain is $12.
- Dashboard is minimal, friendly and easy
3. Quickbooks Self-Employed
Accounting + TurboTax tax return
Note: Full disclosure. For every sign-up I receive $30, but I am recommending this because I actually use the hell out of Intuit Self-Employed
- Calculates taxes owed and allows you to pay Federal quarterly taxes online
- Integrates with every bank and you can create "rules" to categorize deductions/income. Example: Track all bills from Verizon as 'Utility: Phone' expense
- Maximizes your deductions by asking you questions to see which deduction you qualify for. For example, if you qualify for a home office deduction
- Creates Form 1099-Misc for your automagically
- If you use TurboTax for your tax return, it auto inputs your information into your return
NOTE: Do not use this for invoicing clients - use PayPal. Their invoicing is still in beta.
Invoicing classic kicked up a notch
- Known platform giving your client piece-of-mind
- Very nice looking invoices with attached payment form
- They are okay with processing large sums of money ($1000<) while also being exceptionally secure
- If any hiccups do occur, PayPal's been at the game for a long time so if anything happens, you can normally get someone on the horn quickly while also getting the issue resolved quickly.
Free Beautiful, Todo-list on steroids
- UI is perfect and minimal so you can concentrate on the task at hand
- Set due dates and urgency on tasks
- Nest tasks under each other so that they make sense logically
- Projects allow you to group alike tasks in folders and enable you to concentrate on one thing at a time
- Able to integrate with Toggl allowing you to time how long each task takes
- Able to integrates with project management tools (Trello, Jira, Pivotal, etc)
- Seemlessly fits into your preexisting workflow, integrating with nearly everything