Five Fundamental Tools for Freelance Designers
A designer, in order to survive in this competitive world, has to be on his/her toes and usher-in new creativity to please the clients. Freelancing has its own benefits and there can be innumerable reasons why you would want to take the plunge.
There can also be an instance where you, as a designer, want to break-free from the clutches of working under an organization and might want to venture out. After building-up a good number of contacts, getting the desired knowledge and accumulating the confidence, you can decide to make it on your own. Many glitches await you on the on-set, though. Some of them, like tracking your input-time, looking for clients, catering to customer inquiries, all have to be taken into account. You need tools to assist you in your daily activities. Multi-tasking will be the order of the day and managing the tasks will require priority.
Why the tools
Working all the time can lead to a situation where you are consumed by the business dimension of your design work. This could in-turn make you lose passion in your work. To negotiate such a deplorable turn-of events, you need to take assistance of crucial tools that will not only give a correct assessment of your work, but will also streamline your work. Getting aid from the tools will shift your focus more on the designing part and less on the management part.
Lending strength to your creativity within a structured framework is the basic need of these tools.
Below are stated five essential tools that instigate a sense of responsibility sharing for a freelance designer.
Say ‘GoodBye’ to Nerdy Accounting- Use Invoicera
Money is the ultimate goal for all the services that we render. This is where invoicing makes its presence felt. Catering to different functions for all forms of freelancing, online invoicing is the need of the hour. So, a tool related to look after the invoicing needs of a web designer must be present right on top of the priority list. Invoicera, an online invoicing tool, has catered to thousands of freelancers all across the globe.
Whether the work pressure is piling up or there’s a long list of clientèle to cater to, Invoicera has its roots deep inside. Web designers can benefit the most from this invoicing application as it offers to create and send quick invoices to the clients and maintains an online record for the same, as well. There is also a recurring feature present that reminds the clients automatically about the unpaid amount.
Keep a Track of Your Time- Use Toggl
Some freelancers have the necessity of a time tracking tool as they bill their clients based on the time put-in. A manual calculation can make you go wayward and throw-up all sorts of mistakes. Even those who build time caps in their project estimates require such a tool. Some use spreadsheet for this purpose, whereas others use a notebook for the same.
With increase in the project numbers, maintaining the details for the individual projects becomes a burden and complexities creep-in . The calculation of the accurate fragmentation of time spent on a project will be tough to handle and even if you succeed in doing so, its synchronization with your accounting and billing software is quite a herculean task.
The market is flooded with tools that offer you this feature. Amongst all of them, Toggl is the one that you can consider. It not only helps you understand the process undertaken, but also tracks time. There is a detailed chart that breaks down the activities, helps in budgeting your time and also in predicting the estimates of the future projects. It is compatible on all platforms and can be easily shared.
Communication is also Essential- Use MailChimp
A campaign that is based on email marketing can help you maintain relations between your present and former clients. This is not only a better way, but also a simpler way to communicate and keep in touch. This extra effort will help you maintain a good client retention rate.
Designing capabilities are also endowed with the help of this tool. MailChimp, also gives you access to design personal email templates during a campaign. There’s a tracker that helps you keep track of which client is opening your email and which one you should follow up with.
Project Management- Use Basecamp
There’s a general perception about projects that they never remain simple and centralized as they are at the proposal time. Clients are always on the look out for betterment and they change accordingly. There’s always an addition and subtraction of features, breaking down of a big project into innumerable smaller parts. This feature is of great concern when it comes to collaborating with other designers, who are also working on the same project, in different locations.
Basecamp, is the tool that comes to your rescue. It centralizes your projects and makes you use an easy dashboard, which has an easy-to-use interface and gives you access for a quick glance at the entire data.
Seeing is Believing- Use Adobe Kuler
One of the most basic design elements that you need to take care-of, is the color combination. As a designer, you ought to have a great color palette at your disposal to achieve the feat. But, getting the perfect one can be a little elusive. Innumerable color palettes adorn the Net, but the most adaptive one is Adobe Kuler.
There’s a host of pre-attached themes in the tool and you can also go about creating your own customized palette. It’s simple. Proceed by entering a starting value, either on the fly or by its respective color code, and then tweak your complimentary values. There’s it, ready to implement.
That’s it. Five essential tools that you will want to have in your system for your freelancing skills. You get organized, your time is taken care of, expenses are handled and all the other details are looked into. So what are you waiting for, take the dive and reap the benefits.
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About The Author
Hitesh Bubbar is a Social Media Enthusiast who has been consulting and helping people excel in developing effective marketing strategies. He is an avid reader, writer and presently working with Invoicera, an online invoicing software that simplifies your billing and invoicing needs.