Independent contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed workers have unique business needs, challenges, and "headaches" in comparison to people who work for others. As such, they need an easy-to-use, affordable digital tool that is designed specifically for them.
The Bonsai all-in-one independent contractor app has helped hundreds of thousands of self-employed entrepreneurs simplify and streamline administrative, financial, and customer relations tasks necessary for being in business. If you are self-employed and looking to save time and optimize your workflow, read on to see how the Bonsai digital tool-kit of integrated templates, tax tracker for deductions, and accounting features could be the solution that takes your business to the next level.
Note: If you need help managing invoices, taxes, or payments as a freelancer, we can help. In fact, try a 14 day free trial of our all in one product suite and see for yourself why 1099 contractors love us.
Unlike traditional employees who work for someone else's company that comes with its own rules and expectations, independent contractors are responsible for building their own business infrastructure -- in terms of the finances, the customer relations, the product output, the legal compliance, etc. -- often all by themselves.
Furthermore, unlike W-2 employees who have their taxes automatically withheld from each paycheck, self-employed (1099) workers are responsible for calculating and setting aside their tax payments to the IRS -- and making sure they are filed/paid on-schedule and in full.
Doing independent business is liberating but tough -- especially when all the organizational tasks, as well as professional labor, falls on the freelancer's own shoulders. Which can be disorienting, exhausting, and, ultimately counter-productive: how can one focus on delivering the highest quality product/service to one's clients, if one's time and mental bandwidth are stretched too thin among all those responsibilities?
In short: many modern independent workers are overwhelmed with the demands of being both, their own employer and employee, as those roles can snowball into two separate full-time jobs.
The independent workers who aren't as overwhelmed typically have help.
Ideally, that help would come from a small army of specialized human assistants that manage various facets of the business -- but how many freelancers have that kind of budget??
Luckily, we live in modern times when help also comes in the form of software and apps designed to alleviate certain aspects of the job -- the best of which is the Bonsai all-in-one product suite (available as software for computers and an app for mobile devices).
It's tempting to think that one person can "do it all", but for their business to be successful and sustainable for years to come, the independent entrepreneur needs to work smarter, not harder. And that means automating processes that lend themselves to automation, utilizing templates for customer outreach/business forms, and employing digital bookkeeping and tax filing tools to handle the bulk of number-crunching necessary for running a business.
Running one's own small business, even if it's a one-person operation, is not an easy or simple feat, and certain challenges and struggles happen only in the world of independent contractors.
Regular W-2 employees don't have to worry about bringing customers to the business they work for (unless that's specifically their job). Self-employed workers, on the other hand, are responsible for finding -- and "hooking" -- their own clients, which is an ever-challenging and time-consuming part of running a business.
The notion of "customer relationship management" refers to principles, practices, guidelines, strategies, tools, and technologies a business adopts vis-à-vis its customers. Any successful business needs a well-streamlined customer relationship management toolkit/system that allows the freelancer to easily reach out to clients with project pitches, price quotes, contracts, invoices, and other communications.
When self-employed and juggling different projects from multiple clients, keeping track of how much time one spends working on which job is definitely a challenge -- one that cannot be left unchecked but requires a management system to keep things from unraveling into chaos.
Independent contractors have a tendency to underestimate the amount of time they put into a project when invoicing clients for payment, when they guess at (as opposed to track) the number of their billable hours.
Let's face it: independent workers and creatives have been known to undervalue their time and downplay their labor. This is why it is crucial for the self-employed to keep track of the time they spend working with objective tools: smart technology that registers and reports billable hours in real-time, in real numbers (and without low-balling oneself!)
Independent contractors are notoriously not great at income and expense tracking, setting (and keeping to) budgets, keeping track of bureaucratic deadlines, filing 1099 taxes correctly and on time, and other bookkeeping and financial management practices.
Independent contractors find it particularly difficult to keep and organize all the receipts for business expenses -- after all, their focus is on delivering excellence to each and every client they have. Unfortunately, neglecting to keep track of receipts for work-related expense-tracking purposes results in having to pay higher taxes on a higher net income. That's money out of the independent contractor's pocket! The app will automatically know what receipts to keep for taxes and organize them for you.
Most independent contractors wish they could simply focus on delivering the best goods/services to their clients -- but, in the modern world, if you want to work independently, you are now a small business (and are subject to rules and regulations that apply to being a small business, not to mention the unavoidable business expenses).
As the result, most independent workers from a wide range of professions would benefit from the help of the Bonsai digital tool suite -- just to name a handful:
The Bonsai CRM/accounting software is designed for 1099 workers (i.e. independent trade/profession/business entities providing services to the general public) -- therefore the majority of self-employed workers will be at home with Bonsai.
Note: Listen, if you are a freelancer, Bonsai can make your life a LOT easier. We can help you store digital receipts for taxes, manage invoices, send proposals...you name it. Try a 14 day free trial on the house and see for yourself.
In addition to the fact that Bonsai offers the highest-quality product, dedicated customer service, and an accuracy guarantee, its key value lies in providing you with a toolkit designed for you by combining and interweaving features that target each of freelancer "headache" items:
The Bonsai all-in-one app for independent contractors eliminates the necessity to go back and forth between multiple software solutions -- by providing a unified online cloud-based account where these features can be accessed and used with ease, as well as integrated with each other.
Independent contractors tend to like to do things their own way (that's why they became independent!) so, they often draft proposals, contracts, and invoices from scratch.
But while that is an admirable work ethic, when it comes to formal documents/paperwork, it really does help to save time and effort with templates.
Document templates are guidelines: they can be used "as is" or, as most professionals prefer, be customized to one's business' unique characteristics/parameters. Their main purpose is to suggest content items that are helpful and to create structure/format for various formal documents in accordance with the latest standards and practices.
So, if you're of those stubborn independent workers who likes things "just so", using Bonsai templates for proposals, contracts, and invoices will not cramp but enhance your style: you are free to adjust them however you need while having the benefit of useful suggestions and basic structure.
There's nothing like a neat, crisp business/project proposal to informatively outline the highlights of what you can do for the client!
Bonsai's flexible proposal templates:
Proposals have been shown to win gigs and improve one's acceptance rate: let the Bonsai proposal templates assist you with this most essential part of your business!
Any legal advisor, as well as a well-weathered independent contractor, will agree that written agreements are the legally secure way to go when entering into an exchange of goods/services for money with a client (verbal agreements may serve for some small-stakes transactions, but they are infamously difficult to prove in court!)
This is to say: you need a contract. You can easily compose all the contracts you need using Bonsai's well-vetted freelance contract templates, which:
When it comes to creating legally binding documents like work contracts, it is difficult to anticipate all the legal clauses and language that usually goes into such materials. Bonsai contract templates are composed by legal professionals, with the most typical and frequent legal caveats and hurdles already anticipated on behalf of the independent contractor.
Clear and punctual invoicing is a key component to making money as a freelancer. Invoices make customers feel secure about transactions; they also serve as polite but insistent reminders to the client that it's time to settle the bill.
Bonsai invoice templates:
Like all its other templates within the suite, the Bonsai invoicing materials are professional-looking, customizable, and easily shareable with collaborators and customers.
Working in multiple projects at a time takes discipline and planning if one wants to accurately track the billable hours spent on each job.
The Bonsai task and time-tracking features include:
Many entrepreneurs will confess that business accounting and tax filing are the most daunting and dreaded chores of running a company.
Having to log income, keep track of expenses, sort and calculate tax deductions, report quarterly estimated taxes, and file tax returns at the end of the year are confusing, frustrating, and, to some people, downright mystifying.
Bonsai Tax accounting software to the rescue! After you answer some basic questions to help it figure out which forms are applicable to your taxpayer status, the app will take over the majority of the tax-related chores, such as:
The Bonsai Tax accounting software is great for 1099 workers across the spectrum of professions, such as:
Pro tip: don't be intimidated by tax law and bureaucracy: it may have a bad reputation as a scary and boring process, but it was created by mere mortals, and you can absolutely wrap your mind around how it works, if you don't let it psych you out psychologically. Instead, try to get excited about it -- it may sound crazy but even the world of taxes can be interesting if you let it!
Once you get past the "dryness" of it, the process of regular tax bookkeeping, as well as the quarterly and end-of-year filings, can become not only "not as dreadful" but rather satisfying. Running a tight ship with one's accounting (budget, receipts, deductions, taxes, etc.) brings not only financial gains but also the priceless spiritual rewards of feeling proud and in control of one's career and business.
And don't forget: with the Bonsai Tax app, you are not on your own! Our accounting software will not only guide you through maintaining your finances and taxes throughout the year, doing the bulk of the tracking, sorting, and calculating on your behalf -- it will also make you more knowledgeable and, hence, comfortable with the whole process.
As any experienced independent contractor knows (from having learned it the hard way), working smarter means organizing, streamlining, outsourcing, optimizing, and, when possible, integrating the different "pieces of the puzzle" of the workflow.
It is also about maintaining meticulous records -- but being a minimalist about it (e.g. getting rid of paper receipts, invoices and other "hard copy" clutter). Read for yourself some reviews from real customers.
It is also about choosing the best tool for the job.
The value of processing all your business forms, archives and financial/tax bookkeeping within a singular secure online digital Bonsai platform (which you can access 24 hours a day) is not to be underestimated!
Additionally, versatility matters -- and the Bonsai suite and tax software/mobile apps for independent contractors are:
Every freelancer owes it to themselves to research their options and elect the most optimally-suited and priced tool for their company's requirements.
This is why we invite freelancers to try the Bonsai suite + Bonsai Tax software/apps on a free trial basis: it gives them two weeks to acquaint themselves with the interface (available on PC and Mac computers as well as iOS and Android smartphones) and to get a practical sense of whether this set of apps and functions serves their needs.
Give Bonsai a try and watch your workflow really flow!
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?