Freelancing in any industry can be an exciting choice. With control over which and how many clients you take on, you can focus on the work that matters the most to you. You can also travel more freely than with a traditional nine-to-five and can build your own schedule, from determining the time of day you work to how many days a week.
With this freedom, however, comes a lot of work that would otherwise be handled by the company. Freelancers are always looking for easier ways to process invoices, market their services, and prepare themselves for the daunting tax season. Using automated tools to make key tasks easier is an excellent way to take the pressure off of yourself while working as a freelancer.
Making sure to keep careful records of expenses, invoicing, and contracts are important for the success of a freelance career and can easily be automated, at least to one extent or another. If done right, your marketing, social media, and project management can be automated and optimized as well. By seeking out automation tools, you can reduce the amount of time and money that you invest in your work and increase the amount of time you spend working.
Invoices, Bank Accounts, and Records
Any freelancer will tell you that one of the most stressful things about being your own boss is making sure that you get paid. Invoicing, receiving payments, and keeping records of transactions are vital for freelancing success. They can also make tax season a little easier on everyone’s blood pressure. Automating invoicing and record-keeping through tools like Intuit’s QuickBooks can help alleviate some of this stress.
QuickBooks has a free invoice creation service in addition to multiple paid applications for accounting and payment processing. Having all of these tools in one place reduces the amount of administrative work you have to do and makes the invoicing process smoother for your clients. Availing yourself of invoice templates, pre-determined processing fees, invoicing, and income tools can streamline your financial records, and reduce time spent creating custom methods.
Accounting and record-keeping are essential for freelancers for many reasons. Contract enforcement, tax preparation, and client experience can all be made easier through selective automation. These tools also reduce the amount of time that you spend on repetitive administrative tasks, allowing you to invest more time in other areas of your work. You can set up a few key resources to ensure that when it is time for you to file your taxes you have all the records of income, expenses, and any other fees that you need.
Marketing and Social Media
Marketing and social media presence are important tools for freelancers to build their businesses beyond their immediate network of influence. This includes website and portfolio development, ease of contact, and creating a social media presence to support your career. Besides the efficiency of the tools and processes that you’re using, you should also keep up-to-date on the current trends in web design that can make your marketing more effective. Segmenting your marketing properly can make the automation tools that you use even more impactful.
Marketing segmentation refers to dividing groups that you are engaging with by various data points to target your promotional material more effectively. This data can be mined through analytics tools that are included in many websites or the information that clients provide when signing up for newsletters or new services. Using tools like MailChimp for email marketing can also allow you to automate email campaigns while providing you with vital data about email opening rates, engagement, and regional locations.
Learning how to properly promote yourself will help determine your level of success, no matter the industry that you work in. Make sure to learn about the different types of promotions, in addition to general best practices. Content, mobile, social media, and digital advertising all have different quirks and methods that can be used to help you find your audience. Once you know how to address these areas, you can learn to automate them through campaign management tools and careful project management.
Communication and Project Management
Efficient communication is a make-or-break element of freelancing. It affects every business interaction you have, from simple email exchanges to complex contract negotiations. While you may only be managing your own projects, making sure to set yourself up for success with project management software can help make balancing clients, deadlines, and administrative tasks much simpler.
Clear communication with clients will save you from many freelancing pitfalls. By automating your responses you can make sure that clients feel that their concerns are being immediately dealt with. This can be as simple as auto-responses from your professional email account that Thanking the client for reaching out to you and providing a timeframe in which you will contact them. This can help reinforce client boundaries, without you having to directly engage as soon as their message arrives. By setting a standard for communication and boundaries you can build healthy, transparent relationships.
Many project management tools can automate various portions of your process. Asana and Clickup can track your tasks and projects whether within a team or on your own and provide reminders for milestones within a given project. Some of these systems can even track the amount of time spent on a given project or task. This data about your own working habits can help you streamline your methods and build more effective business models.
Automation can help support freelancers and make their lives easier across the board. By utilizing billing, accounting, project management, and marketing automation, a variety of tasks can be completed automatically. These tools can also support growth in entrepreneurship, a step that many freelancers aspire to eventually make. By building automation into the core of your business, no matter the level, you can increase productivity and increase transparency.