Are you freelancing for money? Are you new to working from home? If so, then you know that you need to stay focused. You also know that you need to keep the money coming in since freelancing puts food on your table. The problem is that staying focused and on top of your income, isn’t easy when you first branch off on your own.
Freelancing can get pretty tough. You have your own schedule. You’re not confined to a desk, a boss, or any annoying co-workers. You’re totally on your own. Nobody sets any deadlines for you.
There will be days where the clients are knocking your door down and the ideas are flowing. Then there will be days where your freelancing business seems like a ghost town and you can’t focus or you focus on the wrong things (be honest!).
What are my biggest issues with freelancing?
I have too much energy. This sounds like a good problem to have, but I just have too much energy for one task. I’ll start working on one idea or pitch, and then I’ll totally switch gears. I’ll randomly go to the gym during the day. I find any excuse to switch activities.
I lose focus easily. It sucks, but it’s true. My focus comes and goes. I want to do everything at once. I can’t just focus on one thing. I lose track of great ideas and drop projects before they’re even complete.
What can you do about your freelancing struggles?
You need to get your hands on the right tools to make life easier as a freelancer. Until I started downloading/applying certain tools to my freelancing life, I was all over the map. Now I’m less all over the map.
What are tools that every single freelancer needs to make tons of money? What tools will make your life a million times easier?
A place to keep your money.
An online banking account is a must. I got setup with ING Direct as soon as I started blogging so that I would have a place for my money to go to.Â You can check out my piece on checking accounts over at my main blog, Studenomics. The long story short is: you want a place to keep your money with no-fees and easy access.
Once you set up your online banking account, you can focus on the next tool.
A way to get paid.
PaypalÂ is a 100% requirement for freelancing. Most online users or people in general, are very comfortable with paying through Paypal. I actually get paid through Paypal 99% of the time. A few companies still send out checks and this forces me to go to the local bank and wait in long line ups.
The obvious knock on Paypal is the fees. They rip you off at times with the fees and it does get annoying. The problem is that there’s not much that you can do about this. Well, aside from complain.
With Paypal and online banking account, you’re ready to get paid!
Somewhere to keep your files.
Do you lose track of ideas, documents, or files?Â
Dropbox is excellent for holding on to everything. You can download the app for your laptop, smart phone, and then be connected at all times. I first learned about this program when I lost an essay on a usb stick. I hate excuses and here I was stuck with an excuse because my usb got corrupted and lost the file. It sucked.
Now I use Dropbox to sync my random thoughts, videos, pictures, and files. Trust me, as a freelancer you don’t want to lose anything. Every idea lost is money gone down the drain.
Documentation to invoice clients.
Invoice forms are key when it comes to charging clients and actually getting paid. You don’t want to have to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer or on legal fees just to put forms together. You can do it all on your own now.
I reccomend Simple Invoices for this. You create your own invoice and send it when you’re done the work.
A way to get attention.
An account with HARO will help you pitch to reporters about all sorts of stories. This is likely the best way to get attention and to be mentioned in press. Speaking from experience, press mentions are huge. When I was in the NY Times, it led to a huge traffic increase. This provides you with instant credibility and leads to more attention.
You can also start your own online business in the form of a blog to get attention and spread your ideas. Blogging isn’t for everyone. But if you got some extra time on your hands and want to share your ideas with the world, it has never been easier to get started.
A time management tool.
Why would you want to work when you can just tag yourself in photos on Facebook all day or laugh at funny stuff on social media?
Focus and time management are extremely critical when you first start freelancing. It’s nearly impossible to stay focused without a boss. It’s far too tempting to go on social media and just waste time all day. You’re the boss, right?
I recently started using Rescue Time. This tool is a must. They will help you figure out where you spend most of your time and even block certain sites for you. There’s finally a cure for your Facebook addiction!
These are the main tools that you need to be successful with your freelancing. These tools will help you focus, get paid, and remain a freelancer for a very long time!
Did I miss out any freelancing tools?