Working from home is something more and more people strive for. The freedom that those who become freelancers and self-employed have includes the ability to choose when you want to work, what kind of work you want to do, and with whom you want to work. But most importantly, it allows you to balance the time you can devote to your family and friends and the time you spend earning money in a way no 9-5 job can’t.
Of course, being a freelancer and working from home is not as easy as it may sound. To make this journey, here are 5 tools that you’re going to need:
1. A good project management system – Trello
Managing one client or project is easy. The trouble starts when you start getting more and more clients and you have to figure out where you are with their individual projects. Fortunately, you can make sure you are always in the loop where each project is by using a good project management system.
My personal favorite is Trello. All you have to do is assign a “board” to each client, and then assign a “list”, representing the different stages of the project and then separate each list into “cards” for different tasks. It’s very visual and intuitive.
2. Time management tool – Toggl
You may be asked to work per hour or simply want to keep an eye on the amount of time you spend on a specific job. This is where a good time management tool or app can help.
I use Toggl to track the time I spent working on a project. It comes in both desktop and online versions and is simple to use. Just enter the project you’re working on, hit “start”, let it track time while you’re working, and hit “stop” when you’re done. At the end of the week, you can see a report and know how much you need to bill the client.
3. Communication tool for working at home – Gmail and Google Hangouts
Working from home also means that there’s no boss to hover over your head. Normally, this is a good thing, but you still need a way to communicate with your client. There are a couple of apps that will allow you to do this, but I recommend Gmail and Google Hangouts. Both come free with a Google account. With Gmail, you can send and receive emails, while Hangouts are for instant messaging, voice and video calls (kinda like Skype).
4. Invoice and billing tool – Freshbooks
This one is specifically for the freelancers – you want to get paid for all the work you’ve done for a client. Freshbooks is a great tool you can use to send invoices to your clients and you don’t even have to be an accountant to know how to use it. You can also use it to track your expenses and accept online credit card payments.
5. Data backup tool – IDrive
If you’ve never lost all your progress on a project because your computer crashed and you didn’t save it on time, congratulations. But, most people had this misfortune at least once. This is why you’ll need a good cloud backup service. While you can use Google Drive, I would personally recommend a cloud backup service called IDrive due to its syncing and sharing capabilities and better encryption.
There you have it. 5 tools that can help you work from home more easily. Now go get them!