A Round Up Of The Best Apps For Freelancers And Creatives
The old stereotype of artists and creatives living in a chaotic, paint-splattered, coffee stained chaos has long been debunked. There’s tax to pay, clients to respond to, invoices and receipts to tally and networking to do after all.
That said, when creativity is your strength and you need to feel inspired, invigorated and focused on several projects at once, the ins and outs of client management and money matters isn’t where your head needs to be.
Take a deep breath and read on because fellow freelancers and creative contractors have been generous enough to share their insider tips on the best apps and tools to keep their business on track while they’re focused on designing, writing, collaborating, filming or performing. Whether it’s managing client communications, invoicing, keeping track of purchases, pitching for jobs or keeping tabs on your workflow and taking notes as you go along, these apps are your new business partners.
Rounded is an invoicing and accounting app for sole traders and freelancers created by a team of four guys in Sydney. It can be hooked up to your bank account and also allows you to accept credit card payments, schedule recurring invoices and – bonus! – it also accepts multiple currencies which is essential for those who have clients all over the globe. Your invoice can also be customised to include your logo and colour scheme of choice.
Jodie Kinnersley has been General Manager of Snuff Puppets and a Marketing and Development manager across various arts organisations for over five years. Her app of choice allows her to manage various projects to completion. “I find Hours Keeper super useful for my freelance work. I can time exactly how long I spend on different projects and then send the invoice directly through the app. I often just email it to myself and send it with a nice note from my email address, though.”
Bidding, pitching, getting that work in the first place is often the stumbling block. No matter how skilled, amazing, mindblowingly creative and efficient a freelancer is in whatever their chosen field, trying to sell that to clients is often where they falter. This is where Bid Sketch comes in with pre-designed templates and pointers on making a winning proposal. Free one month trial.
Freedom is a free app (which creatives will definitely love) that allows users to block distractions (no checking what your flatmate ate for lunch or getting hourly emails from your brother in Vietnam). Choose which apps to block and for what period of time, then get working.
The last thing a creative wants to do is get into messy legal matters. Whether this is debating over use of content or demanding payment that is well overdue. That’s where Shake comes in. With a few simple questions to determine what a document needs to specify, this app creates a legally binding letter that negates the need to pay a lawyer or tear your hair out in despair over your work being abused. The app has templates galore and a free trial.
We’ve all been there. A client or a colleague has just said or done something completely time wasting, offensive or inane and without your morning coffee, you’ve written them a short, vicious one liner that makes you feel fantastic – until you have that Instant Regret of knowing it’s completely unprofessional. Thankfully – and it’s certainly saved my ass a few times – the Boomerang app allows you to retrieve an email within moments of sending and depending on which version you use or buy, gives you extended time to Undo. It also offers scheduled reminders and an alert system for when you need a response and haven’t received one. Chasing up clients or making sure your copywriters submit on time just got 100% easier. Boomerang is designed for Gmail users.
Google Calendar is a no brainer. Linking with your other Google apps such as Gmail and Drive, it enables you to schedule events, reminders and meetings either solo or inviting others along. With a clear graphic display, you can look it up day to day or view a month or a year in advance. Schedule recurring events and have reminders ping up on your device or emailed to you the night before.
The ATO app allows you to access myTax and myDeductions features. As a creative freelancer myself, and a bit of a paper collector by habit, I find tax time can be…well, taxing. Thankfully, with years and years of experience and tax returns under my belt, I can appreciate how valuable it is to be able to make a record of your receipts, deductions and keep clear record of your reportable earnings. Come EOFY (End Of Financial Year for all you non-tax-speakers) you’ll have already done half the work.
Cat Woods is a writer, editor and blogger in Melbourne. She is also a yoga, barre and pilates instructor with a passion for fitness, lipstick, ’90s electroclash and yoga pants.