In the digital age, freelancing has become a viable form of income and a business all on its own. Individuals looking to profit off of their specific skills can head to the internet and market themselves as a solution to a variety of problems consumers may be having. With that being said, freelancing isn’t always easy and can often lead to confusion about what is needed in order to maintain the business and lifestyle as efficiently as possible. Selling yourself and your services doesn’t have to be difficult or a pipe dream, but can quickly becoming overwhelming without proper planning and investment in the right tools to help you along the way. Below are a few things that every freelancer should have in order to take their freelancing to the next level.

Time Tracking Software

It’s easy to lose track of time amidst deadlines and juggling multiple projects at once, so every freelancer should invest in time tracking software to help them out. Not only does this ensure that your client is getting the most out of you for their projects, but also helps you track your time accurately so that you aren’t losing money from any over-time you may have forgotten to log on your own. These types of programs begin tracking your time once you’re active on your computer and stop once it notices you’ve been away from it for a certain amount of time. This way if you’ve forgotten to log off the program once you’ve finished working for the day it will know when to stop tracking for you.

Cloud-based Storage

A new freelancer will quickly discover how important it is to find a safe and easily accessible system for storing documents. While many people opt for a simple external hard drive, when it comes to confidential information that you don’t want to get damaged, lost, stolen, or leaked, then a virtual data room is the better option. A VDR allows you to control what is uploaded into the platform and who is able to access it. You are able to decide if a certain user can print and download documents or if they can only view them for a limited amount of time. Furthermore, the security data room providers offer compared to generic document sharing services like Google Drive ensures that your data remains under lock and key long after you have shared it online. Having the peace of mind knowing that yours or your client’s information is secure will allow you the freedom to focus on your work.

Invoicing Software

Another difficulty that freelancers may encounter is invoicing their clients appropriately and keeping track of the invoices they have sent out in order to collect payment. While it can be incredibly awkward to follow up multiple times for a payment, it is necessary, and that can only be done if you know what is outstanding. Invoicing software keeps track of the invoices that have been sent out and the pay-by date so that you are always aware of what needs to be paid rather than forgetting it while you take on more work. It also provides you with clear and concise invoice templates so that your clients have a detailed breakdown of what they are paying for without a muddled format or unnecessary factors to confuse them.

A Website

No freelancer is truly marketing themselves and their skills correctly without an active website that has a clean and inviting design. Potential clients want a space to turn to that highlights your past work, your achievements, and gives them some insight into who you are and your work ethic. In this day and age, having a website is equivalent to having a government ID card – without one you look suspicious and illegitimate. Invest some money into buying a domain that reflects your business and spend some time learning the ins and outs of the hosting platform you plan to use. Strategize about the best ways to bring in organic traffic online and about how SEO can benefit your articles and attract more interest into your business.

A website alone can become its own source of revenue through sponsored posts, so don’t shy away from investing your time and energy in putting out the best content. If you want to take it one step farther, sync all your social media and schedule posts to ensure that your customer base is always kept aware of what you’re doing and if you have any work availability. Promote yourself shamelessly because you never know who could be looking for exactly the kind of service you provide.

A Space To Unwind

Anyone who works from home can understand the struggle of not having a space to unwind at the end of a long day. When your home is also your office, it can be difficult to shut out one in favour for the other, so creating boundaries in your personal and professional life is necessary for your happiness and to foster productivity. Designate certain hours of the day specifically to work so that you know when you are on or off the clock. This allows you to distinguish what is your own time and what is your client’s time that shouldn’t be wasted. And once you’re off the clock, don’t mix your personal space with your work space because you’ll never be able to really unwind.