Working in the online environment includes numerous professional challenges. Freelancer solopreneurs need to constantly adapt to new work conditions. Three crucial features of online business organization are rational budgeting, limited expenditure, and efficient time management. If you neglect any of them, it’s highly likely you won’t reach your business goals the way you’ve planned. Therefore, I’d like to show my fellow Web entrepreneurs how to save both assets and time while working on demanding projects. So, I’ve prepared three sets of practical online tools for economical work organization.
Three prerequisites for project efficiency
Just like its name tells you, Basecamp is a basic project management tool. It’s a perfect solution for freelancers who outsource individuals or teams from remote parts of the world. Also, Basecamp is recommended to design professionals. Specifically, when a link to an image is posted in a project, Basecamp displays the full picture, not just the link.
Apart from that, you can easily follow the progress of your projects thanks to the eponymous feature. Finally, the Calendar feature gives you a simple but convenient insight in all the projects you’re working on.
As for the packages and prices ranges, they vary from $20 to $150 per month. Here’s the gist of these packages:
- $20/month –Running 10 different projects and using 3GB of storage
- $50/month – Managing 40 projects and15 GB of storage
- $100/month – Handling 100 projects and storing 40 GB of storage
- $150/month – No limit for projects and 100GB of space
- $3,000/year – Limitless number of projects and 500GB of storage
A board-based project management solution, Trello takes after contemporary social media design. The aim of this approach is to attract modern entrepreneurs who are avid users of social networks. You can create a new board for every new project and give a special name to it. This feature contributes to better project recognition.
Moreover, you can set due dates and even precise times for those dates – an extremely practical option for two solopreneurs working on the same project.
Also, when somebody posts a comment to a board, the button in the upper right corner turns red, to inform you on recent activities in Trello. To top it all off, you’ll get a notification email, as well.
When it comes to pricing, these are the options:
- Free – You can use lists, boards, checklists, as well as post attachments (up to 10MB) without paying; available integration with Dropbox and Google Drive.
- Business – With the price of $8.33/month, you can attach up to 250 MB of business data and integrate your Trello account with Salesforce, Evernote and many other services.
- Enterprise – This package will cost you $20.83/month. It enables you to communicate with larger teams of collaborators (SAML 2.0 feature). Two-factor authentication is also a great security feature of this package, as well as personalized customer support.
For starters, a solopreneur can rely on the Free package. If the workload keeps growing, other options will come into consideration.
Missing a single work task or a personal errand can turn your work day into a mess. With Centrallo, you can create to-do lists and reminders for both private and business purposes. What’s more, this organizational tool allows you to create and share voice notes, videos and images. These features can speed up your entire work process. Moreover, you can clip and save online articles – a great help for collecting stories relevant for your niche.
As for pricing, there are two different offers. On the one hand, you can opt for the Free option. It provides you with 100 notes, an unlimited number of lists, attachments not bigger than 25 MB and 1 GB of storage space.
On the other, the Premium package ensures a 15GB storage package, a passcode lock and an unlimited number of lists, notes and attachments.
Three marvels of time tracking
Even if you’re a solopreneur, sooner or later you’ll have to collaborate with outsourcing companies or other freelancers. What’s important is to track their time on such occasions. If you want to supervise those and many other features, Harvest is a reasonable choice.
The first thing you should do upon the registration is add your client(s) and name the project(s). After that, set your due dates, as well as the starting points of the projects.
As for the time-tracking feature, you can either enter your hours manually or use the tracking button.
Additionally, there are numerous budgeting categories, so you can provide your expenses here, to keep record of your spent assets. Finally, you can use this tool for free or pay for advanced features. Here’s what you get with each:
- Free – One user, max two projects, unlimited number of clients
- Paid – One user who pays $12/month for unlimited estimates and clients, time tracking, project management, budgets and reports
A tool that’s more focused on time organization, Timely is a great option for individual freelancers. Firstly, its calendar comes with a simple and convenient interface. It makes scheduling appointments a cakewalk.
Moreover, you can use this tool to send automated reminders via text messages and emails to your clients. Timely also gives you an opportunity to write additional notes to every single appointment. This feature enables freelancers to approach their clients in a personalized way. You can choose from three different packages:
- Starter – A perfect option for individuals which allows 5 projects and provides you with Excel or PDF reports on your activities.
- Professional –At the price of $14/month ($12.6 if paid yearly), you get unlimited clients and projects, priority customer support and the basic features from the Starter package.
- Enterprise – You can ask for any feature you want and negotiate the terms and conditions.
No matter if you want to track your own time or keep an eye on your collaborators, Toggl is a friendly choice for solopreneurs. For starters, it’s possible to highlight every project with a different color, to enhance their visibility. Also, you can name every project the way you like it. These two features contribute greatly to clear task organization.
Another great option of this tool is that it enables you to track how much time you spend working for each of your clients. It can help you adjust your project rates. The following packages are available for Toggl users:
- Starter ($9/month) – Transparent reporting, records of previous projects and mere time tracking
- Premium ($18/month) – Starter package plus one special feature and a customized approach to your professional needs
- Enterprise ($49/month) –Premium package plus more advanced reporting and greater control of project management
Three money saviors
A convenient expenditure-tracking tool, Mint will keep both your professional and personal budgets under control. During the registration process, you’ll be asked whether you want to grant this solution access to your bank accounts. Although it might sound a bit risky, you only allow it to get an insight in your finances. It can’t do anything with your assets. When you enter your credit card and account numbers, Mint will analyze your previous transactions.
Additionally, for more relevant tracking, include your loans, mortgages, and any other relevant financial features in your Mint account. By letting this tool access your expenditure history, you give it a valuable input. As a result, you’ll get graphs and analyses pinpointing the ebb and flow of your finances.
As time goes by, this app will track your expenditure and advise you how to spend your assets in a more economical way.
However, bear in mind that this is not an invoicing tool. Yet, invoices play a huge role in solopreneurs’ finances. Therefore, create a professional invoice template in advance, so that you can add every new invoice to Mint.
Solopreneurs often find it hard to stay out of debt. Sometimes debts arise as a result of unwise financial decisions. However, some other times it’s the sole nature of solopreneurship that generates financial losses. For instance, have a look at the debt story of Michael Luongo, a famous freelance journalist, brought to us by the Guardian. If you’ve been struggling with debt like he has, SavvyMoney can help you take the debt bull by its horns and start your recovery. The procedure is simple – when you register on the SavvyMoney website, you’ll allow it to connect to your accounts. Every single payment you make from that moment onwards will be recorded by this software. Apart from that, this tool can provide you with your credit score, as well.
What’s more, they’ll prepare best loan offers for you, to cover your bad loans. Finally, you can expand your knowledge of finances from numerous educational articles available on the website.
The nonchalant apostrophe in the name of this free tool expresses their modern attitude to asset tracking. With Moneytrackin’, you can easily follow your cash flow. For instance, it can track as many accounts or financial projects as you want. Moreover, if you collaborate or live with several people, you can track your common expenses and let them have an insight in these reports.
What makes this app different is the option to share your experiences with other users of this software. That way, you become a member of a community that shares their useful tips, encouraging one another to persevere in your newly established, debt-eliminating discipline.
Being a lone freelancing wolf in the business wilderness of the Internet is a dangerous endeavor. Many predators are lurking out there and it’s crucial to protect yourself from any potential hazard. By using the tools presented in this piece, you’ll ensure financial stability and proper time and project management.
Over to you
What apps have you found essential in your solopreneur endeavors? Share your thoughts in the comments below.