Freelancing Problems? 3 Ways Project Management Software for Freelancers Can Help

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Are you an artist and an entrepreneur? Do your creative projects also serve as your primary income? Have you suffered through nightmare clients, creative block, and income fluctuations?  Then congratulations! You’re a creative freelancer in need of project management software.

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The last thing any creative freelancer needs is a wasted investment. Project management software can keep you organized, communicate with your client, and help manage the finances. It won’t solve clients’ unrealistic expectations, but it will help you do your job more effectively.

Organization

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When I finished college, I spent a year freelancing in graphic design and writing. And I really enjoyed  it—I could make my own hours and pursue a career I loved.

Unfortunately, I’m not the most organized person (you should see the inside of my car). It was not uncommon for me to go to sleep at 10:30, wake up at 2:00, and realize that I’d forgotten something important—like emailing my client a status update. I would try everything—from pinning sticky notes to my computer screen (“Don’t forget to clock out!”) to scribbling notes in pen all over my left hand (DUE: 12:30)—but to no avail.

Enter project management software.

Software options can include, but are not limited to:

  •  Budget Management
  •  Email Integration
  •  Expense Tracking
  •  File Sharing
  •  Idea Management
  •  Issue Management
  •  Milestone Tracking
  •  Personnel Planning
  •  Portfolio Management
  •  Project Financials
  •  Project Planning
  •  Resource Management
  •  Task Management
  •  Time Tracking

You can track your time, your budget, and your project status all in one system—and get extra features you didn’t even know you wanted to boot. I’ve found that it’s easiest to plug in tasks and set alerts every time something new comes up—once it became habit, my entire process smoothed out. No more late nights wondering if I forgot something, no more “Sorry, I know this is late!” emails. In essence, project management software (namely Trello, which is free) helped me bring on new projects and keep everything orderly.

Communication

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We’ve all had that client: the one that calls every six hours and emails you every three for a project update. You know that they’re calling because they might be facing a deadline or are anxious about your work, but the constant interruptions are impeding on your ability to get things done. This is where project management software for freelancers comes in.

Wouldn’t it be easier if they could track your progress through the cloud?

While interpersonal relationships are at the heart of keeping up a quality client base, let software act as an intermediary between you and those pesky status-checkers.

Cloud-based project management software allows your clients to simply log in and look at the progress you’re making. Consider Wrike—it allows you to selectively share information with different clients. From their dashboard, your clients can see changes you’ve made to your progress, view what tasks you’re working on, and even upload and download files that they or you need through Google Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, and other apps.

No phone calls or emails needed.

Finances

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“You do this for free right?”

It’s no secret that one of the heaviest burdens freelancers face is managing finances. How much should you charge? How often should you bill? How come you haven’t been paid yet? And so on.

Luckily, project management software can help. There’s even project management software designed specifically for the freelancer in mind.

Solo offers one-click invoicing which syncs with its time-tracking service. Freckle makes it easy to balance clocking in hours for multiple different projects with a fun interface and quick billing options. And Pancake—for a modest fee—make it easy for your clients to pay you online (and on time).

More?

Project management software can make the business side of freelancing far more manageable. Have you started using project management software? If not—why?

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

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About the Author

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Rachel Burger

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Rachel is a former Capterra analyst who covered project management.

Comments

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I’d like to widen your list of software features.

1. Calendars — A calendar is available to help you manage important dates and events.
2. Critical Path — The software calculates the earliest and latest that each activity can start and finish to show the longest path to the end of the project.
3. Cross-Project Dependencies — You can set dependencies that span across multiple projects.
4. Issue Management — You can track issues, submit bugs, and view fixes in real time.
5. Project Hierarchy — You can organize a project by creating multiple levels of sub-projects for better organization.
6. Project Templates — You can create a template from a current project for future use.
7. Project Timeline/Roadmap — You can view the high-level plan of a project, including key milestones, in chronological order.

As it concerned best software we use in practice – i can choose

ganttpro.com (online gantt chart maker (to visualise your project and understand its critical zones)

trello.com (for task managing)

Jira (to assign tasks and track resources)

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I think communication is key. A project management system allows everything to be kept in a central location and tracked. Another interesting feature in a system like Brightpod.com is the FOCUS mode – one can star tasks that they want to work on this week and move them around to prioritise. This helps when you have tons of things to do and don’t know where to begin. 🙂

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