The reality of working for yourself is a far cry from the idealized laptop-and-pjs vision that most people have of being your own boss. Freelancers - successful ones - don't tend to put their feet up in celebration of the way cool lifestyle they've chosen. It's usually quite the opposite: just one person has to take responsibility for a whole host of duties that are distributed among many different people in bigger companies (accounts, sales, marketing...).
This means long, long working hours plus a huge an enormous amount of responsibility towards the most demanding boss of all: the client.
Luckily, this modern world is chock-full of awesome tools to get things done efficiently. The eight iPhone apps we'll look at today are especially useful for anyone embarking down that long and winding road we call entrepreneurship.
Having a LinkedIn account is pretty much crucial for anyone working for themselves. Thanks to LinkedIn, you can show off your academic and professional experience to the world, including your portfolio, recommendations from former clients and workmates, and your professional interests and pursuits.
If you maintain a steady level of LinkedIn activity, it won't be difficult for you to find job ops near you. There are a ton of opportunities floating around the network, so keep your eyes peeled to jump on them at a moment's notice with the app.
Strictly speaking, Fiverr isn't a social network, but rather a marketplace of services where users can offer and contract odd jobs for as little as five bucks a pop.
You'll find designers, illustrators, programmers, and just about everyone else here too, offering their unique pro services and quoting a price. If you've found yourself with a project with details that fall outside of your realm of expertise, consider looking for a freelance pro through a posting on Fiverr - you'll receive offers almost immediately.
Community comments and client reviews help establish trust in the services of great freelancers and contractors on Fiverr.
Freelance pros can't allow themselves the luxury of allowing deadlines, client specifications, or invoices to whoosh out of sight like freight trains. Some lucky folks might be able to delegate organizational duties to a human assistant; the rest of us end up using Evernote.
Evernote lets you jot down quick notes, attach images (like scans of receipts or invoices), create to-do lists, save articles to read later, and keep track of appointments in the calendar. It's the Swiss army knife of organization. Combine it with the Getting Things Done (GTD) method to amp up your productivity - or invent your own organizational system, it's up to you.
Evernote is cross-platform, so anything you put into the app will be available on your web and desktop accounts as well.
Some of Trello's functions overlap with Evernote, but instead of managing your notes and tasks, it's a fully-fledged project management system. We love the collaborative aspects of Trello (you can share anything with other users for them to view and/or edit) as well as its intuitive visual design, which allows you to arrange tasks simply by dragging them from one list to another.
Trello groups projects by "boards." In each board, you can create as many lists as you like. Many people use this functionality to create a Kanban chart, including tasks that are pending, those in progress, and all those completed. The boards and the lists can be shared with other users who can interact with them via web or app. It's ideal for successfully seeing group projects to completion.
Toggl is an ultra-useful tool for anyone looking to improve their productivity, especially those who need to bill clients for the hours they've invested into their projects.
Toggl allows you to register individual tasks and the time you invest in each activity. You can pause the timer whenever you need, hitting stop whenever you've finished the task at hand. Group tasks according to projects or tag them according to type. With all this info, Toggl automatically generates stats and charts, even calculating the costs if you assign a price to each type of work.
Toggl stands out for its simplicity, for cloud syncing (it's accessible through any device as well as its website), and for the ability to collaboratively keep track of projects with other users.
Paperwork is an unavoidable evil for any freelancer: receipts, invoices, plans, proposals, blah blah blah. Digitalizing these documents can help maintain at least a minimum level of order in the chaos of your inbox/outbox.
Thanks to apps like CamScanner, hulking scanner-printers can fade into history. all you have to do is take a photo of any document you want to scan with your smartphone. CamScanner takes care of cutting off the borders and reducing the quality of the image so the size is reasonable. Plus, you can create multi-page documents in various formats, share them from your smartphone, or store them in the cloud.
Speaking of the cloud, the number one cloud storage service couldn't be missing from this list. Dropbox will ensure that you leave the manila folders behind forever. Digitalize your docs and upload them to Dropbox. Organize your folders as you please and access all your info via smartphone - or from any other device, whenever and from wherever you like.
It's simply the best way to guarantee that your docs are always secure and available.
E-mail is an essential tool for any freelancer. In many cases, it's the principal communication channel with clients. It's key to give it the attention it deserves, but not to let it end up eating all your time.
Inbox by Gmail helps you manage your inbox effectively, thanks to options like snoozing messages until later, prioritizing certain mails and grouping others, previsualizing attached content, and easy creation of reminders. Inbox will help you realize the dream of inbox zero.