10 Essential Tools to Manage a Freelance Design Business

I think you will agree when I say: becoming your own boss sounds great.

However, as good as this sounds, it comes with major responsibility. A responsibility to yourself and your clients too. Just like any business, you need tips and tools to grow it.

  • Be transparent with your clients. Your clients need to know who they are getting into business with. Thus, get in the habit of informing your clients what to expect when working with you.
  • Writing is the best platform to get your name out in the world. This will improve the chances of clients finding you. Additionally, it doesn’t matter if you think you are a good writer or not. Just write.
  • Focus, not just on your business but where you want to be in a few years’ time.
  • Use a contract. Whether the project is big or small, use a contract. Let the agreement cover basic and important terms that you and your client need to agree on.
  • Finally, split your income to cover savings and taxes.

The above tips will work like magic as far as shaping you freelance gig into the business you always wanted. Other than that, below are 10 essential tools you need to manage your freelance business. These tools will help you automate even the most mundane of tasks.

Adobe Sign

Adobe Sign

Not only is paperwork boring, but also as a freelance designer you won’t get to meet your clients face to face. Thus, your will need to have a way of signing your contracts.

Signing of contracts is a hassle. Often, it requires printing, couriering or scanning back signed documents to get things in order. As you already know, contracts bind two parties making their responsibilities to each other legal.

Additionally, you don’t want to get stiffed for work done.

Adobe Sign is a system that handles online signatures. In fact, not only does it get rid of paper trails it also is simple to use. All you need to do is attach a document to Adobe Sign and email it to the party concerned. On receiving it, the recipient can either draw or type their signature.

Toggl

Toggl

This is an online time management system.

As a freelancer, the worst thing that could happen is for you to lose track of time. Time is a limited resource and needs to managed delicately.

By keeping track of time, you easily get much more work done. Secondly by using Toggl you are able to gauge your productivity and keep track of hours spent on a client.

Toggl also offers native apps for desktop, android and IOS that sync together in real time. Additionally, Toggl can be used both offline and online.

MailChimp

MailChimp

“Build your brand, sell more stuff…”

The best way to get your business to grow is by making use of email marketing. Otherwise, the idea of just sitting down and waiting for clients to find you is horrible. It won’t get you anywhere.

MailChimp helps you engage your customers. Therefore, you are able to reach out to them when you want to and show them your expertise. Additionally, it lets you keep your customers updated with news related to your business.

Bidsketch

Bidsketch

“Create professional client proposals in a few minutes.”

Bidsketch supports creation of branded proposals using reusable content, design and fees. It allows you to embed videos and images for your client to view online.

In addition to the customizable templates offered by this tool, it also offers insights on the performance of your proposal. Therefore, you are able to tell when the proposal is opened or changes made to it.

OpenOffice

OpenOffice

Why pay for Microsoft office when you can actually get similar services from a free suite.

Yes, OpenOffice is pretty much free and offers comparable tools to MS word. Furthermore, this suite allows easy exporting to pdf. This makes it perfect for guides, e-Books, pamphlets and other documents that are easily shared in pdf.

Wave

Wave

Wave is a cloud based program creating a stir in the accounting world since 2010.

It has an easy interface which features tools for: Estimates, invoicing, billing, contact management, expense tracking, advanced sales tax settings and much more.

All the above features are built for freelancers, entrepreneurs and contractors. Thus it is suitable for people running businesses of up to 9 employees.

Mozzy Backup

Mozzy Backup

You can’t call it an arsenal of tools if it lacks the backup ammunition.

Mozzy is a backup tool that gives you full control over the scheduling of your backups. Additionally, it’s an online backup. This ensures convenient access to your files at any given moment.

Once you setup mozzy backup, you can forget about daily backup routines as it will automatically do it for you.

Figma

Figma

Previously, building for an array of devices meant rebuilding the same screen over and over. This was mundane and tedious to developers. In today’s fast growing world, this would not be idealistic.

Figma is a tool that makes use of constraints to lessen the amount of repeated work. This tool, focuses on spatial relationships between the elements. Thus retaining them as composite elements even after resizing.

The best feature with Figma is its real time collaboration. This allows several people to work simultaneously on the same design.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite

Hootsuite a social media management tool which ensures organization of your workload.

Hootsuite lets you update your status on more than one social media network at once. Additionally, you can also schedule the update to automatically post at a particular time.

The dashboard on this tool allows you to view activities from your different channels. Furthermore, you can search and view your users and engage them if need be.

Evernote

Evernote

In today’s world it’s hard to keep track of ideas and information that we come across. Information that inspires us. Ideas we would like to use. The painful truth is that our brain is not as dependable as we hope it to be.

Therefore, we end up relying on technology. The advantage of having technology around is it ebbs away the pain of trying to recall or keep track of information. With a tool like Evernote, you are able to capture ideas, images and clips for easy retrieval regardless of where you are. After which you can edit and use them.

Conclusion

Having a set of good tools doesn’t really matter. What matters is how you utilize them. Take your time to learn the tools. Before you commit yourself to buying a tool, take advantage of the free trial. See if it is a good fit.

Finally, remember you are greater than your tools. Your work ethic, dedication and design skills are the real deal.

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About The Author

Freddy is a WordPress theme reviewer at WP Theme Raves, writer, web developer and founder of Vista Media Enterprises, a nice place dedicated to the online entrepreneur looking to boost conversion rates using effective web content.

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