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The 6 Best To-Do Apps For Busy Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

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Written by Project Management Expert Rachel Burger, @CapterraPM.

You wouldn’t think Oprah Winfrey would be the most relatable entrepreneur, but this quote gets me on a personal level not seen by many:

It’s much easier for me to make major life, multimillion-dollar decisions than it is to decide on a carpet for my front porch.

Too real. In my work life, I remember every email, project, and task I’m working on, but when it comes to picking out decor—or even picking up eggs—I’m as scatterbrained as a high schooler on her first date. You wouldn’t want to take home to Mom if for no other reason than you’d worry I’d forget how to get back home.

But thankfully, in my old age, I’ve learned to lean heavily on to-do apps for daily personal task management. I employ the Getting Things Done methodology and rely on task management software to keep me on track.  

If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer, you might have tried any number of task management apps or project management tools to help keep you on track… only to return to email, pen and paper, and personal memory a month later. I get that—an app is only useful if a user invests time into it and is only worth investing the time into and learning if it’s full featured. I’ve quit to-do tools too, sometimes because they were a pain to use and sometimes because I found my own system to be more efficient.

However, now that I’ve discovered my Cinderella-slipper of a productivity app (Todoist), I can’t imagine going without. Yet my needs as an individual contributor are different than those of an entrepreneur or freelancer; you guys typically have projects that mix with both work and life, need something super quick to use and super quick to pick up, and need something that acts as a project management tool for an individual user.

We definitely have apps that will interest you.

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The Best To-Do Apps

I looked at over 500 options and narrowed it down to these six to-do apps. To help me find the best of the best, I looked for these features:

  • Appropriate for one user
  • Financial and/or time-tracking features
  • High ease of use reviews
  • High overall reviews
  • Integrations with common productivity tools, like Evernote or Google Drive
  • Phone app available
  • Unlimited tasks and projects

These six productivity tools are listed in order of user reviews.

6. Wrike

Before turning away from the sixth on this list, take note that Wrike has received the most reviews out of any program on this list. On Capterra, it’s received over 450, largely positive reviews. Wrike has also stood out as a top free project management app for small business, a top Getting Things Done tool, and a top solution for entrepreneurs.

If you need high-powered task management software, the basic version of Wrike might be too basic for you. Not to say its free tier is lacking—users can manage tasks, use up to 2GB of storage, and track details for unlimited projects—but the upgrade to “professional” for $9.80 a month is worth it. For the price of $117.60 a year—just under the cost of Mila Kunis’ wedding ring—you can get integrations with Microsoft Project, Gantt chart functionality, and upgraded storage to 5GB.

What’s Great:

  • If you can use Facebook, you can use Wrike
  • Lots of integration options to fully plug you into your business

What’s Good:

  • Excellent iPhone and Android apps
  • Gantt chart features are intuitive, even if you’ve never made one before

What Needs Improvement:

Wrike Capterra Reviews:

Overall: 4.5

Ease of Use: 4

Customer Service: 4

Agree? Disagree? Leave a review!

5. ProWorkflow

If you’re a freelancer who relies on a ton of different tools and wants a task management system to centralize all of them, go for ProWorkflow. This light project management/heavy to-do app was created to take care of tasks, time tracking, and customer relationships.

Brad Egeland, a project management expert, has noted the tool’s “world-class support” and praised the ProWorkflow team, who will “be up front if they are not the right fit for you.” There’s a lot to be said about having honest people behind the software itself.

Diving into the product, ProWorkflow doesn’t go light on capabilities. For example, the basic “solo” tier ($10 per month) comes with some rich task features, like dependencies and recurring items, along with timesheets, reports, and general expenses. For users who want to combine business elements, it’s worth the extra ten bucks for unlimited projects, quotes, and invoicing features.

What’s Great:

  • You can run your personal life and business through ProWorkflow
  • Customer support is outstanding

What’s Good:

  • “Professional”-level templates are consistently lauded in reviews
  • Straightforward customizations

What Needs Improvement:

  • Users have to manually tweak the URL to change the site to mobile
  • Not as clean looking as other to-do tools

ProWorkflow Capterra Reviews:

Overall: 4.5

Ease of Use: 4

Customer Service: 4.5

Agree? Disagree? Leave a review!

4. Accelo

One thing that I appreciate about Accelo’s team is that it’s consistently pushing out updates and letting its users know what’s coming next. Curious about what’s coming up in 2017? There’s a blog post about it. What about Q3 of 2013? Yep, the team was letting us know what was going on then, too.

As a particularly busy person, it should be reassuring that Accelo is always on the case, inspiring reviewers to say, “We found Accelo and could not be happier we made the switch.”

Accelo works in modules; some use Accelo as a customer relationship management software, others use it as a professional services automation tool, but for the sake of tasks and the purpose of this piece, I looked specifically at its “projects” module.

Accelo starts at $16 per month for its “Plus” tier. If you’re a fan of online Kanban software or visual task management systems, you’ll find Accelo intuitive from the get-go. Using the visual system, users can filter cards by due date, priority, and other user-defined tags. “Plus” users also have access to their client database and records, can see Gantt charts and real-time forecasting, and can create and send invoices.

The premium version costs $34 a month and comes with expense management and team features. While I’d certainly advocate for the “Plus” version to be on this top to-do apps list, $34 is a little pricey for a single user given that the upgrades are mostly for teams.

What’s Great:

  • Full featured out-of-the-box system with short learning curve
  • Great for freelancers and entrepreneurs looking to reference client information when creating tasks

What’s Good:

  • Huge number of integrations, including Slack, PayPal, QuickBooks, and Salesforce
  • Users are generally impressed with support

What Needs Improvement:

  • The premium version is overpriced
  • Mediocre Android app reviews

Accelo Capterra Reviews:

Overall: 4.5

Ease of Use: 4.3

Customer Service: 4.5

Agree? Disagree? Leave a review!

3. Taskworld

When Taskworld was first starting up, it made our list of the top free task management software. It’s since been removed solely because it isn’t free anymore, but it’s justified its cup-of-coffee pricing with a bunch of standout features, earning itself coverage in The Next Web, Inc., and TechCrunch.

As a bonus, from my work with them, I can personally vouch that the Taskworld team is excited to find ways to improve its product and is regularly pushing out updates. It’s unsurprising that its customer service reviews range from “great” to “really excellent.”

One trait that entrepreneurs and freelancers will appreciate is that Taskworld doesn’t have a tiered pricing system that limits features. It costs $11 a month for one user , and that includes filters, 128 bit SSL encryption, list and kanban views, analytics, and unlimited projects.

Taskworld is so simple to use that digital natives and digital ignorants alike will be able to set up the program and comfortably use it within an hour. And that’s all without mentioning one of its hidden features: gorgeous design. If Steve Jobs were to make a minimalist, effective to-do app, this would be it.

What’s Great:

  • Gorgeous, intuitive user interface
  • No limitations on features by pricing model

What’s Good:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Secure backend

What Needs Improvement:

  • Limited integrations (only Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox)

Taskworld Capterra Reviews:

Overall: 4.5

Ease of Use: 4.5

Customer Service: 4.8

Agree? Disagree? Leave a review!

2. Yalla

If you’re looking for a free to-do app that has the potential to scale to a full project management suite, take a close look at Yalla. Don’t be deterred by its marketing as a “team management software;” Yalla is a well-loved tool that’s ideal for entrepreneurs and freelancers alike, especially if you rely on FreshBooks for your finances. Yalla has a perfect 5-star rating on Capterra, with reviewers especially raving about its user friendliness.

The free version of Yalla is a fully functional task system—it gives you time keeping, a full customer relationship management system, and unlimited tasks with a variety of views (like kanban and Gantt). With that said, I’d recommend upgrading because, for one, it’s incredibly cheap ($7 per month with a year’s subscription beats out average market pricing by 30%), and for two, the upgraded features make the app viable for scaling.

The free version only allows a pitiful three projects at once (what person is ever only working on three things?), whereas upgrading buys you unlimited projects. More importantly, the upgraded version comes with sales funnels, guest accounts, and the integrations that you’re most likely interested in.

What’s Great:

  • Outstanding value per upgrade
  • Easily scales from single user to a team or a company

What’s Good:

  • Customer service regularly beats expectations
  • Calendar view is particularly insightful for to-do list management

What Needs Improvement:

  • Only offers three projects in the free version
  • No iOS app

Yalla Capterra Reviews:

Overall: 5

Ease of Use: 5

Customer Service: 5

Agree? Disagree? Leave a review!

1. Wimi

If you find Wimi to be your Cinderella-slipper to-do app, you’ll be in good company; heavy hitters like Intel, Shazam, and AT&T are all already power users. As an entrepreneur or freelancer, you may not have immediately considered Wimi as something as light as a to-list tool (it does bill itself as a “teamwork app,” after all), but given its heavy set of features with a short learning curve, try it out. You might just end up using it to take full control of your personal and professional life.

With that said, Wimi is particularly good for freelancers with tons of files. The free version includes 10GB of storage and lots of integrations (and by “lots” I mean “over 20,” including OneDrive, QuickBooks, and Dropbox). Tasks are presented in kanban cards. In each card, you can also attach files, details, and filtering labels.

With that said, if you’re a designer or otherwise work with file heavy tasks, definitely consider shelling out the extra $5 a month for Wimi’s “Docs” program. Not only will that buy you unlimited projects (up from the free version’s eight), but it’ll also get you 250GB (which can be upgraded to 10TB), and an unlimited number of guests who can peek into your projects’ progress. No more obnoxious “Status Update?” emails because the client can use Wimi to check their project’s status themselves.

What’s Great:

  • Outstanding file syncing services across multiple devices
  • Overwhelmingly happy, vocal customer base

What’s Good:

  • Time tracking built into tasks
  • Plenty of integrations for billing and accounting

What Needs Improvement:

  • Subtasks and dependencies are not available
  • Notifications are missing from the Android app

Wimi Capterra Reviews:

Overall: 5

Ease of Use: 5

Customer Service: 5

Agree? Disagree? Leave a review!

More Outstanding To-Do Apps for Power Users?

For entrepreneurs and freelancers, an inbox zero means that you forgot to write something down, not that there isn’t anything left to do. Keep yourself organized with these to-do apps so nothing slips through the cracks.

Of course, these six to-do apps aren’t the only ones that busy people use. What do you think should be on the list that didn’t make the cut? Or for that matter, do any of these need to be removed? Let me know by commenting below and leaving a review for your favorite to-do app on Capterra—I’ll be sure to use those reviews for the update!  

Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Rachel Burger

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Rachel is a content manager for Capterra, a free online resource that quickly matches businesses to their software needs. She specializes in construction and project management . She also runs her own blog on content marketing. On the rare occasion Rachel isn't writing, she's reading, hiking, jogging, or spending time with her friends and family.

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