Episode 111: Cool Business Tools for Freelancers & Creatives

Business tools for freelancers

It seems not a day goes by without hearing about a new tool or technology that will ‘revolutionize’ your business, productivity, and life. While we don’t buy into a lot of the hype, there are a handful of very cool business tools for freelancers and creatives that’ll make your day-to-day much, much easier and less stressful.

Many of these tools are ones we’ve mentioned on the show in the past, but we wanted to corral everything into one place and talk about their benefits, how we actually use them and give some examples. We’re also going to talk about a couple that we don’t actually heavily use ourselves but we definitely still recommend — and if one of them was around years ago, I would have been ALL OVER it.

TRELLO

  • Many love this for project management, and when used appropriately, it totally works.
  • In fact, we use this for internal planning due to its visual nature and ease of moving things around on boards.
  • Benefits:
      • Free.
      • Visual.
      • Super intuitive.
  • We use it with clients:
    • Create boards for their projects.
    • We recommend they have an internal version of the board so clients don’t have to see your inner workings.
  • While we use Basecamp 2, we love it for our pipeline management and capacity planning.

BASECAMP 2

  • So we don’t use Trello for client work, but we adore and love Basecamp 2.
  • It’s not free, but it’s a huuuuge stress to dollar ratio saver for us.
  • Seriously. Worth every single penny.
  • Benefits:
    • Simple.
    • No fluff.
    • Houses all things in one place: files, to-dos, text docs.
    • Invite clients (no charge for client access).
    • Ability to easily hide things from clients, so internal work can live in the same project.
    • Progress and “everything” tabs make it easy to keep track/overview of what the team is doing.

AND CO

  • This is a relatively new tool, and it’s a sort of “all in one” system from Fiverr. (We know, Fiverr, but stick with us for a second here.)
  • Benefits:
    • While we’re not huge fans of all-in-one tools, what we like about it is its drag and drop ease of building proposals, simple yet customizable invoicing capability, and oh yeah, it’s FREE.
    • It does a lot of other things, but the invoicing and proposal software are the best features in our eyes.
    • Another cool thing is that it comes with a Freelancer Union contract that you can use and customize for your projects, so there’s literally no excuse for not ever having a contract in place with all the work you do.

BIDSKETCH

  • If you listen to the podcast, you probably know that we use and love Bidsketch for our proposals.
  • Benefits:
    • It’s not free, but it’s sub $30, and it makes making money so easy, and dare I say, fun too.
    • This tool single-handedly lowered our stress to dollar ratio around proposal writing and sending them.
    • We have saved sections, and there’s and e-sign ability, so we can also create our contracts in it.
    • We love being able to track what’s happening with views of the proposal.

GOOGLE CALENDAR

  • Oh, dear google calendar. I love you.
  • Benefits:
    • Boundaries.
    • Blocking.
    • Never missing a meeting — syncs to phone, reminders, etc.
    • Syncs with scheduling systems.
    • Teams.
    • Video on YT on how I use it – smallbusinessboss.co/youtube.

GOOGLE DOCS

  • If I could only have 2 tools to run my business, it’d be Google Suite and a way to collect money.
  • Google Docs might be the best tool on the internet for small businesses with virtual employees and freelancers.
  • Benefits:
    • No more version hell – seriously.
    • Share access/edit/view/block
    • Comment & assign
    • Track changes
    • Go back to revisions

 

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