Full disclosure: I’m new to the freelance game. Entering the freelance world after a career of safe, cushy corporate positions is a bit like a baby bird being pushed out of the nest, but it’s worth the risk to have more direct control over my career. Thankfully, I’m smart enough to know I can’t do it on my own. Whether you’re a newbie (like me) or a grizzled freelancing veteran, there are loads of innovative tech tools for freelancers that can help you run your business like a Fortune 500 company.
Time Tracking Tools
Harvest – limited free option or $12 per month. This flexible, functional time tracking app is compatible with popular accounting programs (Quickbooks, Xero), project management apps (Basecamp), and CRM tools (Salesforce).
Paymo – limited free option or $9.95 per month. Inexpensive option for the sole proprietor offers a goal calendar, client portal and a desktop monitor that will show you how you’ve been spending (or wasting) your time.
Toggl – limited free option or $5 per month. A simple, inexpensive solution offering desktop monitoring, plus a handy Google Chrome extension and a workspaces option for simple, effective project management.
Freckle – $19.95/month. Simplified manual tracking with a clever hashtag feature, professional, Paypal-friendly invoicing and the cool Pulse feature that gives you a calendar view of your productivity.
RescueTime – limited free option or $9/month. Not an invoicing program, but a very robust time tracking/productivity tool. Helps you set goals, block time wasters and rates your activities on a productivity scale from “very distracting” to “very productive,” to produce an overall productivity score.
Social Media Management Tools
Hootsuite – limited free option or $14.99+ per month. Somewhat of an industry standard, it’s robust offerings include management for multiple accounts, team collaboration, scheduled updates and customized analytics. Can get expensive as you start adding team members and/or requesting additional reports.
Buffer – $10 per month. The perfect tool if you need posting and scheduling help across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
SocialOomph – limited free option or $39.99 per month. Compatible with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. blogs and more. Features include post scheduling, analytics and dashboard functionality.
Sprout Social – free limited trial then $39-$99 per month. A Hootsuite competitor, Sprout Social lets you manage, monitor, post and analyze multiple social media accounts from one location.
TweetDeck – free. This tool will help you manage, track and organize multiple accounts, as long as they are all Twitter accounts.
Project Management Tools
Basecamp – $20 per month. Widely used cloud-based project management solution.
Freedcamp – free. Essentially a free version of Basecamp, and a functional, robust project management option for freelancers on a budget.
Trello – free to $50 per month. An elegant, visually driven project collaboration tool.
Asana – free. A great, affordable option for smaller freelance operations, free for up to 15 users.