As a freelancer, online collaboration tools give you the ability to work seamlessly with other digital nomads, entrepreneurs and businesses.
Isn’t the internet the best?
Whether you’re looking to outsource a specific set of tasks or you simply need to communicate more effectively with your virtual teammates, there are tons of collaboration apps that make that possible.
The hardest part is not getting overwhelmed as you begin your search to implement a new system. By doing a quick Google search, you’ll find there are endless freelance websites and online systems that offer independent workers better functionality in their businesses.
You’ll want to start by figuring out:
A) how you’re looking to collaborate, and
B) what type of tools would make your current projects easier.
We’ve put together a list of 35 key questions to ask yourself before you implement new collaboration software into your freelance business. Explore the list below and you’ll be working smarter with your clients and other digital nomads in no time.
- What kind of collaboration am I looking for? Do I want to work better with my clients or with other digital nomads or teammates (or all of the above)?
- Do I need any ‘extras’ that would make my daily life easier? Think Gantt chart tools, multiple calendar view options or email reminders.
- Am I a freelancer or an organization (and do I plan to grow)? Consider your immediate and long-term growth plans for your business.
- What does my current collaboration app do well? Think about what you don’t want to lose when you make the switch.
- What would I like my current app to do better? This is where you have the opportunity to make your wish list for how you want things to run.
- What is my budget for a new collaborative tool? And is my budget going to change in the next 3 months, 6 months or year?
- What do I currently have that is synced? Do I want to be able to sync more in an upgraded collaborative app?
- How many different platforms do I currently use to get projects done? Think about which ones you’d like to eliminate.
- Do I need a better way to collect payments/send invoices to and from clients? Think about what your current payment and invoicing tools are lacking.
- What types of resources do I need to share within a collaboration app? Think photos, encrypted files, proposals, screenshots, videos and more.
- How do I need to communicate with my team members – and how frequently? Will a monthly call cut it, or do you need a daily messaging platform?
- How can I track project progress in a multi-person group setting? A good project management system demo will be able to highlight this feature for you.
- Do I need varying levels of permissions for certain information? For example, if you think it’d be nice to have a limited-view login for clients, this is the time to think about it!
- Am I going to grow my business significantly in the future? If so, think about the additional features you might want as you scale your business, as well as how your new collaboration tools should grow with you.
- What visual assets (if any) do I need to work better with others on projects? Graphs, charts, calendars – are these a “nice to have” or a must-have for you?
- What numbers-driven data or project reporting do I need? Do you want the ability to compile monthly client reports, or just manage your finances better?
- What task-driven reminders do I need, such as deadline alerts and automated calendar reminders? Figure out how which reminders would help and which ones would just add to the clutter in your mind.
- What reporting and cost-tracking features do I need to analyze projects once complete? Adding to the question above, think specifically about which expenses you want to track.
- Are time-tracking features important to me when working on my own and within a collaboration app? Time tracking is a very helpful tool that most entrepreneurs and freelancers can benefit from.
- Can I send professional, custom invoices directly from my new system? Before you dive into implementing new collaboration tools, you should make sure you can bill your clients right from your task management portal, quickly and easily.
- Can I tackle any support issues within a ticketing system of some sort? And will my new system help me execute the onboarding process for new clients or teammates?
- Do I need white label functionality when interfacing with other team members or clients? Think about how you would do this before you need to and you’ll set yourself up for success.
- Is there the ability to collect information on clients’ needs via forms or questionnaires in my new collaboration tool? Being able to record client notes is a helpful feature that could take your customer service from “meh” to amazing!
- Will I be able to manage client contacts within my system, sending emails and reminders when needed? Client management doesn’t have to be a hassle or consist of a bunch of email back-and-forth.
- Will my clients be able to pay me with multiple payment options in a secure, trusted platform? Clients will appreciate the convenience of having options – and payments will be effortless for you!
- Am I looking for an all-in-one task and collaboration tool or simply to tackle one particular element of my business – like easier client management? It’s important to think about getting exactly what you need – sans all the extras, if you don’t need them.
- Do I need access to budgeting information for my projects? Freelancers with project overhead – like photographers – or those who have ever experienced scope creep may particularly like having ways to track project expenses.
- Will I need a customization within a collaborative app that offers various language options? If you are a digital nomad working in several different countries, this may be something to look into.
- How can I quickly analyze which tasks are due next and which are the immediate priority? Are you more visual or analytical? Find a collaboration tool that fits your personality and work style.
- Do I want the ability to template and automatically send project quotes to new client leads? If drafting up client proposals every time you talk to a new prospect is a pain point for you, this could be a huge time-saver.
- How many projects, tasks and client accounts do I need the ability to work on at one time? Many project management tools charge based on the number of users or projects you have open, so knowing this in advance will help you stay on budget.
- Will the monthly cost of my collaboration tools skyrocket if my workload grows substantially? Again, you want to make sure your tools are able to scale with your needs, without breaking the bank.
- Can I turn the time spent on specific tasks for clients into an invoice line automatically? If you already utilize time tracking (and you should), this would help streamline your billing process significantly.
- Can I easily create teams and separate team projects with my new collaboration tools? In addition to simply being able to have this feature, you also want to ensure that logins are simple and explanatory for each person.
- Is it intuitive for clients and team members to comment and ask questions on different tasks and projects? A task management tool is no good if it’s too confusing to use!
Begin Working More Seamlessly with Others by Implementing Collaboration Tools in Your Business
By implementing collaboration apps and systems into your freelance business, you’ll be able to communicate much easier with your teammates, partners and clients.
Whether you’re looking to work more effortlessly with a remote team, other freelancers or solopreneurs – or just your own client base – there are many features that can help you. Once you’ve determined what those collaboration tool features are that would make your life (and your job) easier on a daily, weekly and annual basis, the hard part is done!
Then, it’s time to find and opt for a full-service system that will grow with your business needs, saving you both time and money.
Spera equips independent workers with everything they need to manage their business as efficiently as possible. We’ve asked ourselves the questions above and Spera’s collaborative tools were designed to address every facet of freelance work. There is no need to login to multiple platforms and accounts or piecemeal your system any longer, explore Spera’s collaboration tools today to begin working more effectively, so you’re able to refocus on what you do best – your work.