If you’re still strictly using Excel in your freelance business, rather than taking advantage of superior project management apps, you’re seriously missing out. Back in the day, Google Sheets or Excel spreadsheets may have been the norm to track your finances, invoices and lists of contacts, but times have changed. Today, there are a slew of really convenient apps and software systems that can make your work life significantly easier. It’s time to rip off the Band-Aid and say goodbye to outdated Excel sheets.
Here are just a few benefits of project management apps in your freelance business:
- Stay organized at all times- even when you’re on the go.
- Check in on your project’s status from anywhere, any time.
- Never miss a deadline with task alerts and other convenient features.
- Communicate about your project with clients and team members when needed, without being tied to your computer.
- Access the files and information you need to, on the spot.
Let’s take a look at how you can begin implementing better tools into your business today:
A Smarter Way to Analyze Your Financial Information
As a business owner, whether you’re a one-person show or work with a small team, it’s imperative you have a handle on your finances. As new freelancers quickly learn, budgeting for your business is a lot more than simply tallying up your receipts at the end of each month. It’s forecasting future expenses, figuring out operating costs, advertising spends and 3rd party fees for services you rely on to serve your clients. It’s also investing in important trainings and conferences to further your business. Your company’s expenses often aren’t black and white, and more often than not they’re not always simple to manage and track, either. So, wouldn’t it be nice to track your finances with a more advanced system than an outdated Excel sheet? Project management apps can help here.
A Better Solution:
Consider implementing project management apps that understand how your business works. For example, a platform that easily lets you assign costs to specific projects and clients in one organized location. Or, a system that lets you generate a chart summarizing your project costs with the simple click of a button. Better yet, choose an app that lets you track your time spent on each task and turns them into an invoice for you. Yes, those apps do exist! Start managing your finances today with smarter tools.
Start Sending Invoices Like a Professional
While Google Sheets may be great for a lot of simple tasks, certain elements of your business should be executed using more professional tools. Case in point: sending your client invoices. One of the best ways to be taken more seriously as a freelancer is by always showcasing your brand in a professional manner. Any client-facing components of your company should be clean and well-presented. This is where project management apps come into play.
Consider your current invoice system; is it sent via a professional app or tool, or do you whip it up in Excel or Microsoft Word? Are you accepting payment only via snail mail or do your clients have the opportunity to pay you online? These things make a difference in how clients, and prospective clients, perceive your freelancing business. If you’re not currently taking advantage of project management apps to send more professional invoices, it’s time to start ASAP.
A Better Solution:
Opt for a system that lets you:
- Accept a variety of different payment types, from online transfers, eChecks, credit cards, ACH and more.
- Track who owes you money, and how much at the click of a button.
- Allows you to customize your invoices with your company logo, contact information and more.
- Let’s you easily send follow-up invoices for late payments and tracks who consistently pays late each month.
- View and manage all payment details in one, organized location.
Using Project Management Apps to Manage Your Contact Lists
Housing your professional contacts in a spreadsheet full of rows and columns simply doesn’t cut it if you’re trying to work smarter and remain organized in the long run. As your business grows, so will your list of contacts. Through networking events, tradeshows, entrepreneur meet-ups, online seminars and so many others, you’ll begin exchanging contact info more and more as your business becomes more established. Rather than trying to format your dinosaur-era spreadsheet to make sense of your latest contacts, consider project management apps to help you remain organized.
A Better Solution:
Consider a tool that allows you to track important information about a prospective client, like their business size, company name, primary and secondary contact info, email, website and what action you want to take with them. A new contact is so much more than 3 columns on a Google Sheet, so it’s time to start managing them in a more advanced way with the right project management apps.
If you’re still seriously tied to a spreadsheet-esque system, then consider using Smartsheet. Smartsheet looks and feels like your typical Excel spreadsheet but it offers a lot more features and options.
Begin Tracking Project Details More Seamlessly
Similar to your contact list, the details of your tasks and projects shouldn’t be kept in a one-off spreadsheet, either. There is so much room for human error like by accidentally overwriting your spreadsheet after a long day of meetings. Or sending the wrong spreadsheet to a client when trying to sort through 50 Excel sheets that all look the same on your computer’s desktop. It’s time to house your project information in project management apps that keep you hyper-organized, and less likely to lose track of the important details you need to do your job.
A Better Solution:
Not ready to invest in a project management system yet? Then consider an app like Zapier that combines many of the project management apps and tools that you’re piecemealing together in your business. It may save you time, and allow you to focus on other elements of your freelancing company.
Implementing a Mobile App So You Can Work on the Go
It goes without saying that we spend the majority of our days on our phones. Chances are, you’re working on your freelancing business a significant portion of that time, too. Consider downloading project management apps that will make your life easier. Ideally, they will allow you to communicate with your clients while you’re on the go, check in on project progress, analyze budget information and much more.
A Better Solution:
Be sure that whatever mobile project management apps you choose are user-friendly. Although there are several available, they’re not always built with the intent of working on your business like you would on a desktop computer. By vetting the mobile apps that you use before implementing one into your work life, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the features you need to get your work done.
Consider Implementing the Right Project Management Apps to Make Your Business Life Easier
In this day in age, there are a huge variety of tools, systems and project management apps to help you get your work done easier. It’s time to take the struggle out of remaining organized, beginning communicating with your team and clients while you’re on the go, and track your financial information more effortlessly. The good news? There are numerous tools that can help you move away from your current Excel systems, streamline your team’s work collaborations, and remain organized.
Consider implementing better systems into your business today in order to:
- Appear more professional to your current and prospective clients
- Track and manage your ever-growing contact list
- More easily analyze important budgeting and finance information for each of your projects
- Work seamlessly on the go with a comprehensive mobile app
- Check in on each of your projects and touch base with your team when necessary when you’re away from your office.
Don’t make your business more difficult than it has to be. Consider using better project management apps in your business to get things done quicker and remain more organized than you’ve ever been before. You’ll be able to retire your old, outdated spreadsheets in no time.