Guest writer, James Adams, explains to newbie freelancers the nine things you’ll need to get started.
When it comes to becoming a freelancer, it would seem that all you need to get started is a computer and a sought-after skill. However, there are other things a freelancer needs in order to succeed. Here are my nine suggestions:
1. Dedicated workspace
First, a freelancer must have a dedicated work place. This will allow you to focus and really get to work on projects. Too often, people think they can simply work from their laptop on their bed or at a restaurant, but this encourages so many distractions. That’s why having that dedicated office space will be a work haven for you. And, speaking of work space, you will need a comfortable chair. No-one wants to sit in front of their computer on a chair that’s the equivalent of a bar stool. So be sure to find one that’s comfy and supportive so you don’t develop back issues later.
Secondly, a laptop is also recommended. This way, in the event that you do need to go out of town or out of your house, you can still stay connected, since more and more laptops now have wireless Internet cards in them. A great laptop to consider is the MacBook Pro.
3. 3G broadband dongle
You should also consider buying a 3G broadband dongle. This device allows your laptop to access the same 3G network that cell phones run off. Thus, you decrease your vulnerability of having to work from a Wi-Fi hot spot that may be crowded with people.
Another great investment is a Moleskine notebook. Why Moleskine? Simply because these notebooks are much higher quality than any other. For all the notes that you’ll be taking by hand, having them all together in a good, robust notebook is essential.
5. Time tracker
If you charge by the hour, tracking how much time you spend on your different projects is essential in the freelancing business. This is where the Harvest time tracker comes in. The Harvest time tracker is used in conjunction with the iPhone, which another must-have – if only for this reason alone. The time tracker stores the amount of time you have spent on individual projects, so you know exactly how much to bill your clients.
The iPhone isn’t just handy because of the Harvest application – it’s also useful whenever you’re away from your computer. With the iPhone, you can stay on top of your business, since it has access to your email, calendar etc.
7. Project management tool
With the number of different freelance projects that you’ll be involved in, you are going to need some way to manage them all, as simply writing it all down may not cut it. Instead, try the Basecamp program. This software lets you know when the project is due, what still needs to be done, as well as all those little details that may slip your mind with all the other projects you have going on.
8. Invoicing tool
Having some invoicing software is another must in the freelance world. Knowing how much you are getting paid is much easier if you have some type of software, as it will help you prepare for those end-of-year taxes. A perfect software program for this is FreshBooks. This software allows you to record your incoming payments and even sends your invoice to the employer for you.
Last, but not least, the final thing you are going to need is some sort of backup software, such as Dropbox. Why have this software? Simply because no-one knows when their laptop is going to crash. It’s something that we all hate to see happen, but in reality it does happen, so you need to be prepared. There is no worse feeling than spending weeks on a project just to have it vanish before your eyes, because your computer decided to die. So save yourself the headache, and time (which equals money), and get the backup software.
These are nine products that every freelancer should strive to have. They will make you more efficient, and when you’re more efficient, you have more chance of making more money.