When you work remotely, it can be tricky to stay on top of everything. From productivity and organization to finances and management, there certainly is a lot to handle.
Thankfully, the digital age is making life easier with a plethora of tools to choose from. It now takes just minutes to create much needed documents for your business, such as contract templates or scope of work templates.
In this article, we’ll explore the best apps for freelancers to use. Forbes claims the number of six-figure freelancers is on the rise. By experimenting with the tools in this list, you may just find the perfect combination that allows you to join the high-earners.
We’ve broken this list down into five separate categories, allowing you to find solutions for various key aspects of freelance work.
The categories are:
I. Time Management
III. Project Management
IV. Finance & Legal
V. Writing Productivity
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Many people fall into the trap of doing unimportant tasks in an efficient way and then trick themselves into believing they are getting things done. However, this is being efficient, not effective.
It’s crucial to develop a smart schedule for freelancing to ensure you aren’t wasting time, otherwise, you can easily drag your workday out from dawn to dusk. Here are some apps that will stop you from procrastinating, so that you are more effective with your time.
If you want to discover just how much time you’re wasting on Facebook, and see how much time you are actually at work, then you need RescueTime.
This time tracker records the time you spend on each website, as well as the time invested in programs like Microsoft Office, Google Docs, and Email. You can assess your reports on a daily or weekly basis to figure out where you are losing time.
Cost: Free forever plan available; paid plans at $9/mo, $72/year.
The fabled Pomodoro technique is a bonafide strategy, but without the right tool, it’s hard to forge this habit. Focus Booster is the right tool. For the uninitiated, the theory is that if you work for 25 minutes, then take 5 minutes rest, you can segment tasks and increase productivity. With its built-in time tracker, this app allows you to log hours easily, and get into the rhythm in no time.
Cost: 30-day free trial for 20 sessions per month; paid plans start at $2.99/mo.
Forest takes the Pomodoro timer to the next level by locking you out of your phone for the work period. As you work, a little tree will grow, but should you pick up your phone to use another app, your tree will wither and die. Nobody wants to kill a tree, and so this little twist on a classic technique makes Forest one of the best apps for freelancers.
Cost: $1.99 for iOS and Android.
With a slick interface and wide range of key functions, Bonsai’s freelance time tracking tool offers designers, developers, writers and many others a great way to stay on top of their freelance work. You can track time for productivity reasons, or to ensure you get paid fairly for the work you put in. All things considered, it’s one of the best apps for freelancers on the market today.
Cost: Free trial available; paid plans range from $16 - $24 per month.
If you’ve already begun to carve out a solid career in freelancing, you may have a few people working for you. It’s crucial you keep track of them, and with DeskTime you can. This smart tool allows you to glean insights on your subcontractors, so you can find out who is working hard, and who is not.
Cost: 14-day free trial available; paid plan is $7/mo.
The remote work revolution is showing little sign of slowing down, with Upwork estimating that over 50 million Americans are currently freelancing. However, before you take the leap, it’s important to know you can stay on top of things. A great app for organizing your work may make all the difference.
How many great ideas have you let slip through the cracks because you simply forgot to write them down? It’s easy to do, but luckily, with Evernote, it’s easy to avoid. This fantastic app ensures you capture every brainwave, either by text note, photo, or audio clip. You can then sync all your devices, and share them with others, allowing you to track every little spontaneous moment of inspiration or creativity that comes your way.
Cost: Free Forever plan available; paid plans run up to $14.99/mo.
You’ve probably heard a thing or two about Dropbox before now. If you haven’t already used it, let me tell you this:
The hype is real.
Dropbox makes it super simple to sync your files across all devices with a drag-and-drop function that your grandmother could use. It’s that easy. Better yet, it’s secure, so you can have peace of mind knowing all your files are safe even if disaster strikes, such as your smartphone or laptop get broken or stolen.
Cost: Free plan with 2GB storage. Personal plans up to $16.58/mo, business plans up to $20/user/mo.
Feeling the need to get on top of your spending? Shoeboxed allows you to finally make use of all those receipts and business cards you have been collecting. With simple photo functions, it extracts key data to compile expense reports, contact lists, and accounting documents. It’s so good, the IRS accept it, making it suitable for both personal and business use.
Cost: Free trials available; paid plans range from $15/mo to $69/mo for up to 3 users and 500 docs per month.
When Seth Godin, the godfather of content marketing, mentioned he used this app for making to-do lists each day, its popularity among entrepreneurs soared. By taking the standard to-do list format and jazzing it up with compelling visuals, TeuxDeux is an intuitive, engaging app.
Cost: 30-day free trial available; paid plans start at $3/mo.
Got too many passwords to remember? Save your time and memory by using LastPass to lock all your passwords in a master vault. The browser extension does all the hard work, leaving you with just one master password to remember. Don’t worry – it’s safe and secure. Just pick a good master password that you can remember!
Cost: Plans start at $2/mo for personal use. Business plans go up to $4 per user/mo for 5+ users.
There are a lot of fantastic project management tools for freelancers to pick from. It’s easy to become paralyzed by choice. We’ll save you the time and effort by giving you some of the very best right here, starting with a simple communications tool that is shaking up how business is done all over the planet.
Without a doubt, one of the best apps for freelancers is Slack. This instant messaging app has revolutionized business communications in recent years, by making it easy to communicate with team members and clients.
The moniker is an acronym for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge. Users can search for messages, save, share, and pin them for later. Furthermore, the wide array of integrations with popular office tools like Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote make it perfect for freelance teams.
Cost: Free plan allows searching up to 10K messages. Paid plans start at $6.67/user/mo.
Speaking of freelance teams, managing your workflow can be a headache if you’re rarely all in a room together. If you find that there are some tasks being done frequently, you can make the process run smoothly by using Trello. This app utilizes Kanban boards to simplify the details of projects, which offers an easy-to-understand interface that makes project management fun for everyone.
Cost: Free Forever plan available; paid plans run to $20.83/user/mo.
If you’re new to project management tools, you can’t go far wrong with Asana. This app does all the basics perfectly, making it easy for teams to schedule work, assign tasks, and comment on specific projects. The mobile app is ideal for freelancers, and you can integrate the reminders with your email service to ensure you never forget a task.
Cost: Limited free personal accounts available. Business plans start from $9.99 user/mo.
Are you a fan of mind-mapping? MindMeister takes the old school method into the digital age by allowing users to create their own mind-maps on their devices. This makes it more organized and ensures you don’t end up with a ton of loose paper full of scribbled thoughts on your desk.
Cost: Paid plans start at $4.99 user/mo.
Considering freelancers earn more than the average 9-to-5 employee, it’s easy to understand the allure of remote work. However, when you’re on your own, you need to work harder to ensure you don’t get conned out of money.
It’s a smart move to put your best foot forward with new clients by presenting yourself as a professional. One of the best ways to do that is by using professional invoices that ensure you don’t get the runaround from forgetful clients. Use Bonsai's freelance invoicing to keep a firm grip on your finances with all clients.
Cost: Free trial available; paid plans range from $16 - $24 per month.
For newcomers to the freelance world, money management can be a big concern. Nobody wants to get ripped off, and so having a tool that helps you control your spending is vital, especially in the early days before you develop a steady cash flow. Mint pairs a great user experience with innovative tools that make this app a joy to use. As a bonus, the blog is chock-full of great info, from case studies to infographics. Best of all, the app is free!
If you’re launching your own digital marketing business, you’ll want to do it right. By using TidyForm, freelance entrepreneurs can source high-quality legal files and professional documents to build a solid foundation for their enterprise. This platform allows users to upload documents and share them around the world, making it an incredibly vast and reliable repository for new businesses to build from.
When it comes to landing more serious clients and lucrative projects, you need to ensure you have a contract you can rely on. Shake helps freelancers create basic contracts, and then allows them to sign and send them quickly.
It’s compatibility with multiple devices and document storage feature makes it easier to seal the deal and get to work.
Any freelance writer will know about the struggle to stay focused. Whether writing is your main source of income or just one aspect of your freelance career, these apps can help you pump out more words each day.
If you’re struggling to separate your writing process from your editing process, you may just need the proper motivation. Consider this:
If you stop writing for too long, all of your work will be deleted. If you hit backspace just once, all of your work will be deleted.
The Most Dangerous Writing App may cause too much anxiety for some people, but this is a great app for short blasts of writing if you need to get something done quickly. It may not be so good for long case studies though!
Sometimes, all you need is a lack of alternative options on your screen. By using WriteRoom, you can transform your screen so all you have is a totally black background, with no toolbars or menu options to distract you. All that’s left to do is to write.
WriteRoom is only available on Mac, but PC users can use a similar version, DarkRoom. Just like its counterpart, it is a full-screen writing tool that eliminates all other options that could possibly distract you from working – even the internet!
In case the two options above leave you feeling like you’re lost in the matrix, we’ve got another app that aims to create a serene, aesthetically-pleasing ambiance for you to write with. Unfortunately, ZenWriter is a paid app, but you can try the free version first to see if it’s for you.
Cost: One-off payment of $17.50.
Freelancers tend to send a lot of emails, many of which contain similar information. Wouldn’t it be great if you had an app that could slash the time you spend writing emails? Well, such an app exists, and it’s called TextExpander.
This incredible app allows you to pre-program regularly used phrases and text passages, which you can then automatically insert by typing a short abbreviation. It even works for images too, making it easy to craft a great email with just a few strokes of the keyboard.
Cost: 30 days free trial; paid plans start at $3.33/mo.
In the digital age, the freelance industry is growing fast. As more intuitive, innovative apps and tools get released, remote workers have more power at their fingertips, which makes it easier for more people to break away from traditional workspaces to take control of their own careers.
Experiment with some of the apps on our list to find what works for you. Alternatively, if you want a great all-in-one solution, sign up for a free Bonsai trial today to make your freelance life flow smoothly.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?