From deadlines and client meetings, to answering emails at all hours of the day, freelancers have a lot to juggle. The most effective independent workers have to be efficient, timely, and organized while on-the-go. Without the hourly parameters of the traditional 9-5 workday and oftentimes a makeshift office location, freelancers rely on their laptops and phones to stay connected.
Working with freelancers is not a one-way street, either. More and more employers are turning to the freelance marketplace to find talented expertise. With reports stating that 25% to 30% of the workforce is contingent, there is a growing need for tools that help independents stay in touch with their clients, search for new opportunities, develop and grow their business, and enable them to communicate with others in the industry.
The most readily available (and financially feasible) option for many freelancers and employers to accomplish this is by using a Freelancer Management System (FMS). FMS solutions transform the way employers find talent, manage freelancers, and connect with contractors, and is a great resource that independents can use to find available opportunities in their area. An FMS provides insight and visibility for both parties throughout the lifecycle of a project – from showcasing potential freelancer’s qualifications, negotiating contract terms and the exchange of payment, an FMS is a one-stop solution for effective and cost-efficient work management.
Other than an FMS solution, there are several other tools that both employers and freelancers can utilize to conduct and complete their business. For those who often end up working out of the palm of their hand, here are some of the best mobile apps to help you navigate today’s ever-changing workforce.
Keeping track of the time spent working on projects is an essential part of being a freelancer. Toggl Timer enables users to log their hours with a single click so they never lose a minute of billable time. The app also allows freelancers to accurately and transparently bill clients and check their time usage reports while on-the-go. The iOS app syncs with a web version to create comprehensive timesheets that can be sent to clients.
TeuxDeux is for freelancers who utilize partial to-do lists. This apps’ bare bones design and color-coded lists make it easier for users to spend less time designing their to-do list and more time completing assignments. It also has several built-in capabilities, such as the option to set up recurring tasks and automatically shift unfinished tasks to the next day’s list. TeuxDeux is also affordable, with a 30-day free trial and a $3/month cost after that.
The Field Nation iOS and Android apps place freelance and contract jobs within reach. Users gain instant access to thousands of jobs in the retail, telecommunications, hospitality, and other IT-related industries. The location-based features allow freelancers to search for work in their area and receive alerts for new opportunities. Once landing the perfect job, users can view all the details on their mobile device and connect with clients in real-time. Field Nation recognizes that freelancers have to be ready to work anywhere, at any time, and the app was designed with that in mind. The Field Nation iOS app also syncs with cloud storage platforms such as iCloud, Dropbox, and OneDrive, so critical documentation and files can be easily saved and accessed while on-site. The app is free in both the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores.
Trello is an effective tool for freelancers, as well as small- and medium-sized businesses. The platform is like the Pinterest of project management and allows users to create and add different task boards. Each task “card” features the ability to add checklists, comments, and attachments. The task management area on the mobile and web app versions are intuitive and highly visual. While primarily used for professional projects, the app can also be used to coordinate anything from a birthday party to a vacation.
Evernote is like a digital notebook that allows users to create digitally-formatted, handwritten, photo, or voice memo notes and nest them within their digital bookshelf. Pitching itself as the app that is “available on everything you use every day,” Evernote’s adaptable interface operates on mobile, tablet and desktop systems and is available on Apple, Android and Blackberry devices. Evernote recently expanded their built-in collaboration tools, data organization, and presentation options. The “freemium” app is also available in a premium version for professionals. In addition to its core app, Evernote’s website recommends a number of complementary and independent productivity, organization, and data protection apps that can integrate with its mobile platform.
Mint is a free top-rated money managing apps available today in both the Apple iTunes store and Google Play store. Mint is an ideal fit for freelancers or companies that are intimidated by traditional budget spreadsheets. Mint syncs with checking, savings, and/or credit card accounts in a centralized platform and provides data visualizations so users can easily see how much money they have available and the breakdown of their budget. Mint can also send out bill reminders and allow users to track their spending patterns.
Wave is a free mobile invoicing option for freelancers. The iPhone app allows users to create customized invoices on-the-go and receive notifications when a client’s payment has been processed. Wave also tracks overdue invoices and integrates with a free online accounting tool.
Buffer is especially useful for freelancers who are managing various social media accounts or who want to promote their own work across multiple platforms. The iPhone and Android mobile apps offer unparalleled social media management across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It allows users to schedule updates and retweets so they can build a queue of content for their followers. The app is free and features in-app purchases to upgrade to business-level accounts.
Hootsuite is an essential tool for freelancers working on social media. Like Buffer, it allows the scheduling of tweets at optimum times throughout the day. Users can also create and monitor custom Twitter lists, keywords, and hashtags, making it easy to receive notifications – and get involved in the conversation – at any point during the day.