If you’re a freelance writer and work from home (or even if you don’t), there are sure to be days where productivity is not as great as it could be. Speaking from personal experience, I know that no matter how “perfect” your home office may be, there will always be some kind of distraction. Whether it’s personal issues standing in your way, procrastination, or just pure laziness, it doesn’t take much to interrupt ones productivity.
With that being said, using the proper tools for everyday tasks can always help to boost productivity. Tracking your time is important because you’re less likely to waste time if you’re keeping tabs on every working minute.
Being able to find freelance projects is of course a plus because of the income, but it also helps to keep you busy during down times – such as slow work days. It’s better to start building your your reputation on freelance work sites before those hard times arise.
Finally, having a secure way to share and collaborate on files is great for communication purposes (with clients) and also cuts down on email messages, thus keeping your inbox clean.
So in Part 1, we’ll take a look at some time tracking and invoicing tools, as well as 3 sites to help you find freelance writing jobs.
There are numerous tools available for freelance writers, but these are some of the top time tracking and invoicing tools around. It’s easy to lose focus and waste a day if you’re not keeping track of tasks or using your time wisely. Plus, if you have clients that you charge by the hour, it’s extremely important that you track your time so that you know how long a project took to complete.
A simple, free online time tracking and invoicing tool that can be used on the Web, or on the go via your iPhone. MakeSomeTime includes integrations such as Basecamp and can also be used to generate detailed reports.
An online tool for tracking your time, organizing your expenses, and sending invoices to clients. It even integrates with gateways like PayPal, Authorize.net, iTransact, and more so that you can get paid quickly and securely through the site.
An online billing software for small business owners and freelancers. It can be used to track your time and expenses, send estimates and invoices, receive payments, and to view finances at a glance.
Although this tool focuses on managing invoices, it includes many other features as well. Zoho Invoice is also great for creating and sending estimates, managing expenses, tracking your time, and organizing customer information.
Toggl is one of the easiest time tracking tools that you’ll find. In addition to the Web application, Toggl also has apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPod, iPad, and Android. It also automatically syncs with Quickbooks and Freshbooks and is great for working with teams.
One of the best online tools for time tracking and online invoicing; it’s simple and fast. Harvest can also be used to generate detailed reports, send estimates to clients, and to manage your expenses.
As the number of freelance writers continues to grow, the competition for work increases. Due to this, it can sometimes take weeks or even months to find new work. This is where freelance markets come into play. You can search and bid on jobs, plus improve your skills, and build relationships.
At iFreelance you can bid on hundreds of project and keep 100% of the earnings; there are no commissions or fees to worry about. However, the catch to that is that you have to pay a monthly fee in order to use the service.
Guru.com makes it easy to find freelance work and get paid safely. Once you create a free account, you can create a profile, bid on projects and create proposals. Guru.com also offers SafePay, a payment protection program.
Freelancer.com is the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace. There are over 100 categories to choose from and new projects are posted constantly. Along with bidding on projects, there is also an affiliate program which is great for making extra money.
To continue with this post, be sure to read Part 2 of “18 Online Tools for Freelance Writers that Help Boost Productivity,” on Saturday, March 10.
Charnita is a full-time freelance writer and blogger with 3+ years of experience, and also the owner of SocialWebTools.info. She's also an early adopter who loves trying out new social media tools along with Web and iOS (iPad) apps. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.