As a freelancer, you and your brain are always on the go. Whether you're working from home, a coffee shop, making phone calls, driving to jobs, to meetings, traveling for a current or prospective client, you're busy! And anything that can make your work life smoother is a plus. There are thousands of apps geared for freelancers, some junk, some good, and some great. Over the years, we've tried different ones and figured out which ones we like the best. Here is a list of 3 that we really love and why we love them.
1. Quickbooks Self-Employed ($10 a month, desktop access as well)
One big part of being a freelancer is that you're an independent contractor so you're not getting a paycheck every week or every 2 weeks with your taxes already taken out. You get paid per job (typically), paychecks come at different times and your taxes are not coming out of every check. Another aspect of freelancing is that the equipment or supplies you need to do your job are not given to you, you need to buy those yourself. Additionally, you're driving to jobs and meetings, traveling to meet with clients over lunch or coffee. That plane ticket, gas for your car, those meals all need to get paid for, right? But it's all part of doing business and you need somewhere to expense it all and keep it organized. Quickbooks Self-Employed is the place to do it!
Available for iOS and Android.
The equipment you buy, the miles you drive, the gas you pay for, the software you use, business meals you pay for, is all part of running your business and are part of your operation costs. Quickbooks is here to organize all of it and make it easier for you to do your taxes. The app will have you connect your bank accounts and credit cards to sync your transactions. Once you see a transaction you can swipe to mark it as a personal transaction, or swipe the other way to mark it as a business transaction, which you then categorize further into "meals and entertainment, gas and fuel, utilities, travel expenses, etc." You can also attach receipts to each transaction so you know exactly what the purchase was for.
Being someone who drives a lot, my favorite feature is the auto mileage tracking. You can change the setting to this, but the app will automatically track all your driving which you then mark as business or personal. When you swipe to mark it as business, you can write a note about the trip, for example, "dinner meeting with client" or "drive to photo shoot." Other apps make you open the app and manually start the trip. Lets be real, are you going to remember to open the app and click around to start your trip every time you drive somewhere? Most likely not. Now you don't have to.
Another great feature is being able to create invoices, send them, and receive payments, all from the app. You're often busy running around and you may not always have time to get back to your desk, create an invoice and send it to the client. Now you can do it all right from your phone.
The app is extremely useful and well worth the money! There's even more to it, but I'll let you check it out yourself! When I first signed up, they had an offer where the first 6 months were 50% off, so there may be a deal going on, but regardless, $10 a month to keep track of my business miles, all my transactions, my income, and organize it all? It's a no brainer. Go download it and sign up today!
2. Timely ($7/month for 3 projects, or $14/month for unlimited projects)
As a freelancer, time is your most important asset and you need to manage it efficiently. Timely is an app that can track the time you spend on your projects, set budgets for each project, and manage different projects under different clients. The $7/month version gives you access to create 3 projects, while the paid $14/month version gives you access to unlimited projects.
It's a very user friendly app, and there is a desktop version as well.
From the first screen you will see your hours for the current day, and you can swipe through to see hours from previous days, or to see your coming up days. You can "plan" your events and put it into the app ahead of time if you want to see what you have later in that week/month/etc. So if you know you have a 3 hour meeting in 2 days, you can put that in ahead of time so you know what your day/week is looking like.
Under "projects" are the current projects you are working on organized by client. When you create a project you create a name for it, assign it to a client, pick a color to represent it, choose who will have access to it, and you can also put in the rate/budget for the project. So if you are working on an hourly rate for a project, and you have budgeted 12 hours for it, you can put that all in and the app will tell you when you're approaching that 12 hours. It's pretty sweet.
Another very cool feature is the ability to create reports for clients or for yourself internally. For example, if you're working with a client who is paying you hourly and you are going to invoice them every week, you can do that. The mobile app can only create reports by the month but the desktop app does let you create by the week. So you can go into the reports section, select the client and the timeframe and it will create a PDF that shows the project(s) you worked on, the hours you worked on the project, and any notes you made.
Yes, you can make notes every time you create a time entry! So if one day working on a project you are working on the graphics for a video, or organizing the photos you took, you can write that. Then you and the client can see what work was getting done and how long different parts took to complete.
Side note - two ways to track time - manually put it in after you've done the work by sliding the logged hours section, or start a timer to track while you're doing it, then stop from the same button.
Overall, it's a really great app and I personally think it's one of the best to keep track of how long different projects take so that you can be aware of how to price your services!
3. Waze (free) (GPS app)
Many of you might already know of Waze, so if you know it and use it, then don't feel the need to continue reading and have a great day. But if you aren't familiar with Waze, keep reading and you'll see how great it is!
Waze is a navigation app. Compare it to Google or Apple maps, but much better.
What's great about Waze is it tracks live traffic, road blocks, police, and any other obstructions that might be on your path. So if there is a road block up ahead, or construction going on, Waze will alert you and tell you how far ahead it is. If you know a different way to go and want to avoid it, go ahead. Or you can click 'routes' on the bottom and the app will present you with other ways to go and it will tell you how long that route takes, how many miles it is, and if there are obstructions on that route.
One feature that I particularly love is being able to 'plan' your trip by clicking 'go later.' If you have a meeting in the morning, you can go to the app, put in the destination, the time you need to arrive, and Waze will tell you if/how much traffic is on the route and when to leave to get there early.
The app also lets you create alerts for other drivers (if you're in the passenger seat of course).
So if you get stuck in traffic due to construction and it's not already shown on your route, you can create that in the app to let other drivers know. It's pretty neat.
Being a freelancer is a very busy life and any tools that can make things easier are always helpful. We hope you found this informative and hope you check these apps out yourself. We use these apps very frequently so if you have questions about any of them, don't be afraid to shoot us an email and ask us! We consider ourselves pretty friendly people and would be happy to help you out.
Have a great day and come back again to check out more of our content!