Use technology to power your work
As a freelancer, you’re on your own to organize your financial life and optimize your business. Unless you already have an MBA, past experience running a Fortune 500 company, and nearly unlimited financial resources at your disposal, at some point, you’ll need to find ways to do all of the jobs that HR and accounting departments do for you at a regular workplace.
Thankfully, there’s an abundance of technology at your disposal to help you get the most out of your freelance business. Whether you need a simple way to do your accounting, a surefire web host to publish your website, or help doing your annual taxes, there’s software out there for you. Here are our top picks:
1. Accounting Software: Quickbooks
We talk about Quickbooks so often, you might be wondering if it’s all a scam. The cold, hard truth is that Quickbooks has helped us organize the horrible mess that was our business finances, getting them to a place where it’s all more or less automated and ready to go.
Quickbooks consistently provides some of the most user-friendly and intuitive accounting software for freelancers, so we have no problem recommending it as one of our top picks. Depending on the type of business you own (whether you’re classified as a sole proprietorship, S corp or, LLC), there’s a different Quickbooks software out there for you.
The best choice for freelancers? It’s hands-down Quickbooks Self Employed, which makes it easy to separate your personal and business finances with just the click of the button. Plus, Quickbooks Self Employed helps you track mileage, store receipts, and even calculate your estimated quarterly tax payments to help you stay on top of your current financial situation.
If all of that wasn’t good enough, Quickbooks Self Employed even has a number of different bundle options available that let you quickly and instantly connect your TurboTax account for a seamless process come tax time. What’s not to love?
2. Tax software: TurboTax
Long a staple of the do-it-yourself tax software industry, TurboTax is our top choice for a freelancer’s tax software. These days, TurboTax offers a variety of different products, each designed to meet the needs of a different individual, whether they be military, small business owners, or freelancers.
For freelancers, the best TurboTax software is the self employed program, which makes it easy to file that Schedule C at tax time. That being said, we HIGHLY recommend using TurboTax Self Employed Live, which allows you to connect directly with a CPA or tax lawyer who can answer your questions at any time – even when it’s not tax season.
Unless you’re already a tax professional, these awesome folks at TurboTax can make it easy to sort through the ridiculous amount of tax legislation that affects freelancers every year. If you want to get really fancy, though, you can sign up for the TurboTax Self Employed Live/Quickbooks bundle and save money by getting these two great softwares all at once!
3. Personal Finance Software: Mint
Okay, okay, at this point, you’re probably starting to wonder if this whole website is just a cover for Intuit to advertise their services, but we swear we’re legit! We just really love Intuit’s suite of different finance softwares!
Unlike both Quickbooks and TurboTax, Mint is a totally free personal finance software that makes it super easy to stay on top of your current financial situation. To get started on Mint, all you need is to make an Inuit account or log in to the account you use for TurboTax and Quickbooks.
From here, you can securely connect your bank accounts, credit cards, and investment accounts to get a bird’s eye overview of how you’re doing financially. Mint even lets you get unlimited access to your credit score and sends you alerts if anything changes.
Oh, and it’s 100% free, so you really have no reason not to sign up!
4. Invoicing Software: PayPal
If you accept payments digitally, there’s no better service than PayPal. Long thought of as the domain of avid eBay shoppers, PayPal has reinvented itself into one of the most reputable brands of invoicing and digital payment processing software around.
With PayPal, small business owners can quickly and easily create and send invoices and estimates to clients anywhere in the world. Plus, you can set up your PayPal business account to accept payment in nearly any foreign currency, opening up your business to a world of possibilities.
If you still wanted more from your invoicing software, PayPal allows for easy eCommerce integration as well as the ability to accept credit cards in-Person with its POS payment systems. Oh, and PayPal offers reasonable rates for most of its transactions, keeping more money in your pocket.
5. Project Management Software: Trello
At some point in our lives, we’ve all missed a deadline. But, as a freelancer, your reputation is everything, so you can’t risk upsetting your clients. Make it easy to manage your projects and stay on top of your game with Trello, one of the best project management software options for freelancers.
Trello offers a variety of different membership options, but with a free plan, you can quickly and easily create to-do lists and track projects toward their completion. Plus, you can invite others to collaborate with you on projects, helping to keep your clients informed of your work, every step of the way.