10 essentials to have before you start freelancing

Need someone to manage your work, schedule your posts, track your time or create your invoices? We know just the app.
Going freelance is liberating in many ways – you no longer need to work from one specific location, you can manage your own time, accept projects that move you, and work in whatever clothes you like. But with all that freedom comes the responsibility to manage your work life all by yourself. This includes the fun parts like picking a workspace and gadgets, but also the less exciting aspects like sorting your invoices and managing your social contributions.

Luckily, there are plenty of useful tools out there to help you organise your freelance life and give you more time to focus on your work. To make sure you've covered the basics, hurry up and sign up for these valuable tools.

1. Freelance contracts and agreements

Before you start your work, make sure you have a legally checked draft agreement for your client work. This will save you many troubles and help you to look more professional when you deal with your clients.

To ensure both you and your clients are on the same page, a signed contract is mandatory. Fortunately, you don't need to be an experienced lawyer to draft an agreement.

Check here for affordable legal resources for freelancers and for contract essentials here.
2. Freelance invoice template
Before you start freelancing, consult with your accountant about what needs to be mentioned on your invoice, or check here and here. At worst, a wrong invoice may result in a missed payment, or cause you issues with the fiscal control.

Once you've signed the contract and done the work, it's time to get your compensation. In the world of freelancers, this often isn't so simple. There's a lot of work that goes into making a correct invoice, and Xolo can help you build one and track it without the hassle.

We love Xolo GO because it allows you to invoice clients across borders from day one. Setting up your account takes less than 10 minutes - see how simple it is to start invoicing here.
3. Updated social media accounts
Networking has largely gone digital, but it remains one of the most effective ways of getting new clients. Maintaining an active social presence on Linkedin and other platforms (choose depending on your niche/audience) will make it easier to market yourself, connect with people and become a thought leader. Tools like Hootsuite and Buffer will allow you to write and schedule posts in advance, so your social media will impress in the background.

Check the videos below on improving your social media profiles.
You can see more experts sharing their marketing and sales advice from the Freelance Business for Marketing and Sales event here.
4. Project management
Tasks and deadlines can easily pile up, and if you're not prepared, you can become overwhelmed. Project management apps allow you to store all your work in one place, set goals and reminders, and be in sync across multiple devices. They also allow you to easily collaborate and share your work with others - see our recommendations here.
5. Professional portfolio
To convince your client you're the right person for the job, you need a place to showcase previous projects you've worked on (and ideally feedback from previous clients). Linkedin is a great home for your digital CV and getting recommendations, while Behance and Dribbble are wonderful for artists and designers. Medium and Wordpress or your own website are great to write up case studies for marketers, writers, developers and strategists.
6. Accounting and tax
After you've received your payments, you need to store and organise them properly. Digital tools like Xolo Go can put your invoicing records on autopilot, so when the time comes to pay the tax man, all your invoices will be waiting in one place.
7. Time tracking
If you don't want to be catching up on work when you should be sleeping, time management is crucial. Apps like Clockify, Toggl and Hubstaff will allow you to track how much time you spend on projects. You can also share the data with your clients!
8. Personalised email and website
To take your personal branding to the next level, a personalised domain and email will set you apart from the crowd. With Django.City you can launch your new website and get a free domain name for just €49 per year.

To learn more about website creation, subscribe to our next masterclass on the topic.

Wix and Squarespace are a great starting point, while a service like Bluehost will give you a personalised Wordpress domain and Microsoft 365 custom email.

Would you like to know how to keep your Gmail inbox empty? Follow this brilliant course by Pavel Minar, a certified Google Suite expert and trainer.
9. Expand your skill set
As freelancers, we're always looking to stay on top of the development in our fields and expand our competence. Freelance Business Community organises educational events, which feature experts from many fields and allow you to network with other freelancers. Our next event will be aimed at creative freelancers and will take place on 23-24 August. Register here. Don't miss our upcoming Freelance Business Month, which will have tons of educational opportunities too.

You can also use apps like Udemy, Skillshare and Coursera, which offer thousands of courses for you to brush up on your skills and learn new ones. More details here.
10. Digital security
As your work takes place mostly on your laptop and other devices, you need to make sure your digital life and data are protected. Using a VPN like ExpressVPN will protect your traffic from breaches, especially when using public Wifi, while a password manager like Lastpass will keep your passwords safely encrypted.

Follow the session below with a cyber expert Francis West where he gives tons of tips and tricks how to protect your accounts.
To find other useful tools, see our article.

We know navigating the freelance jungle can feel overwhelming at times. But coming across a smiling face and a few words of encouragement can go a long way. If you want to meet supportive freelancers and learn something new in the process, join the Freelance Business for Creatives event, and be on the lookout for the Freelance Business Month 2021 in October.
The information about banks were taken from their official website. If any changes are required, please let us know info@freelancebusiness.eu

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