Whether you’re just starting out or you’re 20 years deep, running a creative freelance business isn't easy. It takes time, dedication and resources. But luckily, there are a few things you can do to make things a little easier, without breaking your budget.
In this article, we’ll run down our top tips to help you to take charge of different parts of your freelance business, with suggested resources or tools to help with each aspect. For a more comprehensive list, check out our run down of .
01. Keep track of your projects
As a freelancer, it's not uncommon to work on more than one project at once. With tools such as Trello (opens in new tab) and Asana (opens in new tab), you can keep track of everything in one place using boards, lists and cards.
Trello is a free online collaboration tool that allows you to add multiple users, all of whom can track changes in real-time. You can add images and files, set due dates and keep things organised and colour-coded. There's even a mobile companion app for when you're on the go!
02. Manage your money
And most of the Wave apps are free, including features to help with accounting, invoicing, personal finance and tracking receipts. And if you need to add payroll and credit card payments, there's a paid option for that.
03. Value your time properly
Toggl is an online service that helps you manage and track your time. With a few simple clicks, you'll be able to split your time between different projects and track exactly which tasks take the most time to complete. You'll also be able to share professional-looking reports with your clients.
04. Get the word out
You can have the best product or service on the planet, but if nobody knows about it, it'll never sell. One of the best ways to advertise what you do is by having a website. With a website, people can find out what you offer, and more importantly, how to contact you.
WordPress (opens in new tab) is a great platform for this, and there are plenty of WordPress tutorials to help you get up and running. Alternatively, take look at out roundup of the best free blogging platforms and also consider setting up Facebook Pages for business (opens in new tab).
05. Connect with the community
Once you have your website up and running, it's time to start a newsletter. With a service like MailChimp (opens in new tab), you can easily create professional-looking newsletters that you'll be able to plug in to your new WordPress site.
Newsletters are a great way to let your clients know what you're working on next, as well as advertising any news or public appearances. Another way to get your news out there, perhaps on a more ad hoc basis, is to start a blog (opens in new tab).
06. Stay in sync
Scheduling and document sharing between multiple clients and collaborators can be a headache for freelancers. But it's easy when you use the suite of tools provided by Google's G Suite (opens in new tab). Not only can you use Google to keep track of your important calendar events and reminders , but you'll be able to collaborate and share documents with your clients and other team members.
Google also recently announced its new cloud storage app, which offers a quick, speedy and free way to back up your files – although Dropbox (opens in new tab) is of course another trusty solution for cloud storage.
07. Find new work
When it feels like you're rushed off your feet with current jobs, it can be hard to find the time to tout for new work. But if you don't, you could end up with uncomfortably long gaps between paying gigs.
Although there's a small monthly fee to use it, (opens in new tab) is one of the better sites for finding guaranteed, legitimate freelance work. With a variety of different job categories to explore, you're likely to find something to match your needs. And because FlexJobs acts as an aggregator, you won't need to spend hours online searching every corner of the web. Indeed (opens in new tab) is another popular site for freelancers.
08. Take time for yourself
Freelancers tend to work long hours, but it's important to take frequent breaks in order to recharge your internal battery. For many, exercise is the first choice. However, just walking about gets boring.
If you're looking to liven up your break time, have a look at (opens in new tab), an exercise app that adds mild zombie threat to your exercise routine.