When you’re a solopreneur, you love to DIY, but there are only so many hours in the day. You may find yourself struggling to get everything done, especially as you get started. You want to look for external help, but who has the time, or the money! These tools are either free or have reasonable costs, making them perfect for the bootstrapping freelancer or solopreneur on the go.
If you want to successfully manage your business, you need to have a great budget. You can track your anticipated costs and income on paper, but being able to track your income and expenses live is incredibly helpful in keeping you honest and on budget. Plus, being aware of your expenses lets you make sure you have sufficient income, plan for capital expenditures, and look for places where your business might be leaking money that could otherwise be helping your business grow.
2. Time Tracking
Even if you’re running your business solo, at some point you will need to track time, either your own for a contract, or freelancers for their contract with you. You can track those hours on paper and invoice them, but using a time tracking app lets you generate reports and include them with your invoice to verify the hours you worked. This helps create transparency with your clients and keeps professional relationships profession.
You can also use time trackers to keep yourself honest. Want to know how much time you spent on social media this week? Make it a project in your time tracker and click it on every time you log in.
3. Productivity Tools
There’s a lot going on when you’re running your business on your own. From keeping track of where you are on various projects to just keeping up with your daily to-do list, you need a way to make sure all the to-dos get done. A popular current analog version is a bullet journal, but high tech solutions remain popular.
4. Online Invoicing & Payment Acceptance
Whether you have a website or are a freelancer who sends out invoices and accepts online payments, having that managed online is convenient and useful.
5. Legal Document Creation
Disagreements between two businesses can almost always be resolved ahead of time with a strong contract. But without a lawyer, creating a contract can be a frustrating process, and may not hold up. There are software options, however, to create standard forms like freelancer agreements, NDAs, and other common forms.
Heard about: Shake
6. Social Media Posting
Social media is crucial for modern business; social media also has the potential to be an incredible time suck that devours all of your free time. You go on to make a crucial post, and then spend an hour catching up on your favorite celebrity’s feed, or you identify the perfect posting window for your data and demographics, and then get distracted and forget to post. Instead of dealing with any of that, use automated posting tools to prep your social media ahead of time, and then get out of the way. Plus, avoid getting sucked into the black hole of Facebook in the first place.
7. Writing Tools
Writing your own social media posts, blog posts, and more, can be a challenge if you aren’t familiar with online marketing and overall journalistic writing. Many companies choose to hire an SEO experienced copywriter for these tasks, often with a specialization in social media, but that may be too expensive to a brand new company or someone who is committed to DIY. There are tools, however, to make writing easier for you. Everything from a grammar check to an online suggestion about a headline is available online.
Many of these tools start off with free or low cost-tiers, then offer more benefits as you increase in price. Generally, the features available at higher tiers are only useful to businesses that have a large customer base, handle multiple employees, or have a significant revenue. If you’re just starting out, there’s no need to assume you need to buy the premium version of everything; you can nearly always upgrade later.
These are just the beginning of the various tools and options available for online freelancers and solopreneurs. From platforms that help you find clients to newsletter creation tools to systems that do a little bit of everything, it’s often possible to run your entire business from your laptop. What tools did we miss that you love?