Freelancing has so many perks – you can work around your family and life commitments, you are your own boss, you can work in your PJs with a cat on your lap – it’s great. There are also some struggles too, of course, as you don’t have anyone else to take the flack when things get tough, and often you have to be everything all at once; your own marketing, HR, admin, accountant etc. Luckily there are some freelancing must haves that can help you.
Get accounting software
Most people get into freelancing because they have a particular skill or talent to share with the world. It is very rare that this particular skill or talent also includes impeccable bookkeeping. So it’s useful to invest in a system that will manage everything for you. For example, use invoice templates from freshbooks.com to send to your clients, and use the site to keep track of all your income and outgoings. This will make it much easier when you have to do your tax returns.
A project management tool
Writing on the back of a used envelope just won’t cut it when you start to get busy. So it’s important to find a project management tool that works for you. Asana is a great option, especially if you work collaboratively with anyone, for example, if you are a virtual assistant. You can input different projects and assign subtasks to different members of the project. You can see exactly what you need to do and when it is due, so even the most disorganised freelancer can feel as though they’re on top of things. This one of the best freelancing must haves out there.
A business bank account
You will also need a business bank account to keep your finances separate. Starling has a business option that is free to use and incredibly quick and easy to set up. It’s all online, and you can create “pots” of money for different things (eg., putting away to pay your tax bill!).
This is one of the most important yet difficult things for a freelancer to have – a healthy work-life balance. When you don’t have to work 9-5, in theory, it’s great, but without defined work hours, you can find yourself working more than you usually would. If you’re working from home, you should avoid working in bed and try to create a separate workspace if possible to give yourself that mental divide. Remember that just because you have access to your work 24/7, that doesn’t mean you have to be doing it 24/7.
Freelancing isn’t for everyone, but if it works for you, it can be a fantastic way to make money – whether that is alongside another job, while you’re on maternity leave, or as your full-time career. One of the best things about being a freelancer, aside from the freedoms, is the fact that you mainly just need a computer and a reliable wifi connection, and you can work from anywhere – office on the beach anyone?