The Best Software Tools for Freelance Developers
Having the right software can be the difference between perfect time management and being a disorganized mess. Sometimes the right software can save you hours every month – and that’s time you can spend actually working on websites instead of doing paperwork. Project management software especially can help you keep track of your projects and provide a professional image to your clients.
Project management tools let you and your team manage every project for each site you’re working on while you communicate and share ideas about them. Having to deal with the features and concerns of a variety of websites and clients can easily get overwhelming and project management software helps you keep it organized. They’re even more useful if you have multiple people working on the sites you develop for – like graphic designers, for example. These tools give you a central place to view every aspect of every site for each project so you can stay on top of things.
If you like clean, simple design, Asana might be the right choice for you. When you’re working on a project, Asana lets you split it up into different pieces with different deadlines – which can be useful when you’re trying to manage several different projects at once. For example, one client might just need a theme update, while another needs a full website overhaul. Asana can let you create and see deadlines for both so that you don’t lose track of one while you’re focused on the other. The highlight feature lets you color code different assignments so that you can know at a glance which assignment is for which client. It also accepts attachment uploads and supports sharing.
ProProfs Project lets you enter both project management and administrative tasks, which can help you separate things you do for your own business from those you do for your clients. As things change, you can drag and drop right in the program to quickly reorganize your priorities. If someone decides that adding a new forum to their site is more important than your current focus, you can place it above coding a new email signup page. Like Asana, it lets you create task hierarchies and color code them. It can also track your time and has the option to create task dependencies so you can reorganize multiple tasks at once.
If you’re pulling other people into your projects, something like Basecamp, which lets multiple users log into your project no matter which subscription you choose, might work for you. You can assign projects to people, share files between them, create task lists, and track your own progress and the team’s. This is a great way to organize projects that require coders, graphic designers, and editors so that you can all see what’s happening without having to rely on lengthy or convoluted email chains.
The more complicated your web development project, the more useful these kinds of software will be. It’s even more useful if
There are other tasks you need to do as a freelance consultant that a program can help you stay on top of. Even though the focus of your job is coding, designing and modifying sites, you still have to manage the administrative tasks of your business. There’s no reason to do things the hard way when you can simply install a program, set up an account, and from then on have things automated or, at least, simpler.
Accounting software can save you serious time when you’re looking at your billable hours or dealing with expense reports. While it may not replace an accountant, it can still help you keep things in order and make your taxes and finances that much easier. If you’re still keeping receipts in a folder or waiting months to unsnarl your expense reports, consider upgrading today.
There are a few different accounting software suites worth considering for freelance consultants. You want one geared for business, with enough flexibility to move between client accounts, and one that is accessible everywhere you might need it. Two to consider are AccountEdge Pro and Sage 50c Premium. Sage doesn’t have a mobile app, which is something to consider if you do a lot of your administrative work on-the-go.
Mailing List Management
Keeping in touch with clients and prospects is especially important for a freelance consultant. You may get work from people who are happy with the sites you’ve built, through networking conferences, or through your website. You want to stay relevant to these people. Visibility is half the battle when it comes to making connections and finding new businesses to develop for. In order to be visible, you need a way to manage your mailing list – whether you send regular updates or more sporadic ones.
Some programs to consider include HubSpot, MailChimp, and Salesforce’s Pardot. If you’re just getting started with a mailing list, something simple like MailChimp is your best bet. When you have a wider mailing list and more people to keep track of, though, consider upgrading to a better program with more features. Pardot can manage search and social marketing. HubSpot helps you easily manage lists and workflows.
When you’re not sure whether a piece of software is worth the outlay, spend some time tracking how many hours per month are spent on the tasks the software streamlines. If most of your time is spent on the development aspects of your work – coding or actually modifying websites, writing up recommendations – you won’t want a piece of software to replace your personal management. But things that take you away from those tasks should be streamlined if you can. Why spend hours working on your mailing list when it only takes away from your primary focus as a web developer?
As Invoice Home says on their blog, it’s a good thing to have more time to manage your business and to spend less time worrying about things like invoicing. Finding software that helps streamline some of your processes can help you focus more on the websites you develop and consult for and less on administrative tasks that need to be done. If you’re not already using software tools that help you manage your day, try some out. You have nothing to lose and plenty of extra time to gain.