Thinking about leaving your nine-to-five for the freelancing world? Starting your own small business? If you’re ready to start your entrepreneurship journey, you’re probably feeling a sense of excitement—and a hint of worry. You might be wondering where to start, what tools you should use, or how you can automate daily tasks.
Navigating entrepreneurship is quite the adventure. To help you on your journey, we’ve outlined the best apps for freelancers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs that will help save you time, money, and headaches in the future.
- Facebook Business Manager
- Sprout Social
- Managed WordPress
Best Freelance Apps: Finding Freelance Work
First things first: Let’s get to work! If you’re brand-new to freelancing, finding your first few gigs can be a challenge. But there are plenty of sites and tools that act as a marketplace between freelancers and the people who want to hire them—a simple approach for finding your first few gigs. Here are two of the best apps for self employed people like you.
Upwork is one of the best-known, and frankly best apps for entrepreneurs who want to find freelance work. Whether you specialize in graphic design, project management, calligraphy, or anything else, you’ll be sure to find a gig on this global platform. Plus, it has great flexibility: You can work on your own time and choose to charge by project or by the hour. There’s even a Skillshare class all about how to start your business on Upwork!
If you’re a graphic designer, 99designs is a treasure trove of opportunities. Freelance designers have two ways to find work: There’s the more traditional path of getting hired directly for design projects. Or, you can compete in Design Contests, wherein clients present a brief, then allow budding designers to submit work to be assessed among other creations. The latter can be a great way to get started if you’re just starting out and looking for opportunities to build your portfolio.
Best Freelance Apps: Accounting
Unless you love math (and even if you do), you’re probably dreading the financial management side of your small business. There’s no need to worry though—these tools are some of the best apps for small businesses, as they make expense tracking a breeze.
Wave helps millions of people manage their business finances. Their platform allows you to send invoices, collect online payments, manage accounting, and run payroll all in one easy to use platform. Wave is also known for having the best receipt scanner and a convenient mobile app so you can manage your finances on the run. Pricing starts at $0/month.
QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting tools out there, and for good reason. It allows business owners to keep most of the tools they need relating to financing, accounting, and time tracking all in one place. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ll be doing everything yourself, so you’ll need a tool like QuickBooks that can help you navigate and prepare for that wonderful time of the year—tax season. Pricing starts at $10/month.
If you’re looking for an all encompassing payment app for small businesses, this is it. With FreshBooks, you can send quotes and invoices, accept online payments, track your time, scan receipts, track expenses, manage clients, and almost everything in between in one easy-to-use online and mobile app. Prices start at $15/month.
Best Freelance Apps: Project Management
One of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur is learning how to properly manage time. A big part of that? Efficient project management. One of the most common questions entrepreneurs have, especially those with clients or teams, is “what are the best apps for small business owners?” Project management apps take the cake for saving you time and keeping you organized.
Asana is a project management tool that allows you to manage your team or client’s work, projects, tasks, deadlines, and time all in one place. Asana was listed as one of the best apps for small business in Forbes, but it’s still affordable for the everyday entrepreneur: Pricing starts at $0/month.
If you have a business that thrives on collaboration, Trello is the tool for you. Trello’s boards, lists, and cards allow you to visualize your project in a fun and flexible way. It’s no wonder some of the world’s largest brands like Google, National Geographic, and Adobe trust Trello. Pricing starts at $0/month.
From incubator to unicorn, Monday is among the best business software you can use at any stage. Create and monitor your business plan, manage startup funding, and scale your team from just you to a whole crew. Pricing starts at $25/month.
Get a Bite-Sized Intro to Project Management
Project Management in Real Life: Simple Workflows to Achieve Your Goals
Best Freelance Apps: Collaboration
Slack is one of the best apps for entrepreneurs, particularly those working in tech. Best known as a communication hub, Slack is an easy-to-use tool that allows big teams both internally and externally to collaborate on projects. Slack is also known for its file integration and screen-sharing features. Pricing starts at $0/month.
Need to send large files to your clients? WeTransfer is, perhaps, one of the best apps for doing that. But, this app is so much more than transferring files. It also has three other services—called Paste, Collect, and Paper—that help you more seamlessly gather tidbits of inspiration, turn them into ideas, and work on them with others. WeTransfer is free, but WeTransfer Pro is $12/month.
Best Freelance Apps: Meetings
As an entrepreneur, you’re likely to have a full calendar. To help you automate and streamline your meetings, appointments, and calls, we’ve outlined a few of the best apps for self employed individuals.
If you’re an entrepreneur who needs to schedule calls and in-person meetings, Calendly is the treasure you’ve been hunting for. Calendly allows you to share a link with clients and inquiries so they can view your availability and schedule a time to meet. This can be particularly useful if you’re a consultant, hair stylist, or photographer (any entrepreneur who charges an hourly fee), because this app also allows you to require an online payment before someone can secure an appointment. That way, you save your energy for only clients that are serious about retaining your services. Pricing starts at $0/month.
When the Calendar team couldn’t find a calendar they liked, they decided to make one. They spent more than 1,000 hours—including interviewing hundreds of individuals—to figure out exactly what people need in their calendar. With Calendar, you can schedule meetings more easily and seamlessly, transcribe every word of each meeting, analyze how you’re spending your time, and so much more. After the free version, pricing starts at $8/month.
Zoom, a platform trusted by companies such as Uber, Slack, and Nasdaq (to name a few) has revolutionized how businesses do meetings. With HD video and audio, recording capabilities, and webinars that allow for up to 100 panelists, Zoom is perfect for anything from a one-on-one meeting to a webinar with 100 people. Pricing starts at $0/month.
Best Freelance Apps: Billing/Credit Card Processing
Here’s where we get to the fun part: getting paid! Choosing the right credit card processor for ecommerce or figuring out the best freelance apps to use to invoice your clients can be an overwhelming task. Who charges what? What freelance apps will give me the best bang for my buck? There are countless payment apps for small businesses options out there, but these two topped the list.
Stripe has everything you need to get paid, whether you’re a service provider or product-based company. While it tops many lists of the best payment apps for small businesses, millions of massive corporations use Stripe, too, including Amazon, Lyft, Google, Nasdaq, Expedia and more. Pricing starts at 2.9% + 30¢ per successful card charge and 0.8%. $5 cap on all ACH debits.
Take payments online, in person, over the phone, or automatically with Authorize.net. This platform also has advanced fraud protection, so you can rest easy knowing that your services or product payments are valid. Pricing starts at 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction plus a $25/month fee to use their platform.
Best Freelance Apps: Social Media
Now that you have all the tools to help you run your new venture, it’s time to think about how to grow your small business too. Social media tools can be some of the best freelance apps an entrepreneur can leverage for building brand awareness, increasing sales, and managing customer reviews. Although there are thousands of amazing social media apps out there, there are a handful that every successful entrepreneur shouldn’t live without.
16. Facebook Business Manager
Facebook Business Manager is a free tool created by Facebook to help businesses manage their Facebook pages, locations, and advertisements on both Facebook and Instagram. Create your Facebook Pixel to track website actions and conversions from your advertising efforts and to create custom audiences. Know that your target customer lives within five miles from a specific zip code? Makes 5% of the top income in their area? You can set up a custom audience for that exact target demographic and pay only to reach those particular people. Your Facebook Pixel also allows you to track the sales you get from each advertisement on Facebook and Instagram that you create, giving you greater insight into what resonates with your audiences over time.
17. Sprout Social
Much like it’s well-known competitor, HootSuite, Sprout Social allows you to draft, approve, schedule, and monitor your social media posts. In addition to scheduling posts on Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, and more, it also has a few newer integrations. Its autoresponder bot allows you to streamline customer chat questions, its “listening tool” helps you keep your finger on the pulse of your brand mentions, and its in-depth reporting tool helps you keep track of your social media success across your platforms. Pricing starts at $99/user per month.
ToneDen’s smart AI focuses on brand awareness, customer acquisition, and retention. Craft winning ad campaigns, communicate more effectively with targeted Facebook messages, and grow your influence with this easy to use “smart” platform. Pricing starts at $0/month per account.
Best Freelance Apps: Websites
If you’re starting your own business, you need a great website that properly represents the quality of the products or services you’re offering online. A website is everyone’s first impression—it’s the virtual “front door” to your business, so it’s vital that it communicates exactly what you need it to. And if you’re in ecommerce, choosing the right hosting platform can make or break your business.
Can’t afford a developer but need a website? Some of the best website themes can be found on ThemeForest. For only an additional $50 you can have a website developer upload your theme for you. A theme is much like buying a home—you’ll still need to go through and make changes to make it your own, but it saves you time and money in the long run because you don’t have to build from scratch. Most high-quality themes will cost you $59 plus the cost of hosting.
Shopify is, bar none, the best ecommerce platform on the market. Shopify is an end-to-end solution with thousands of tools that will make your life easier as an online retailer. This app includes inventory tracking, shipping management, marketing, affiliate management, SEO capabilities, and more. Pricing starts at $29/month.
21. Managed WordPress
Managed WordPress is another alternative website platform that allows business owners to build a high-quality website without breaking the bank. With intuitive plugins such as SEO by Yoast and others that help you visually build your website without needing code, there’s literally a feature for anything you can dream up to make your life easier as a new business owner. Pricing starts at $8.99/month.
Even More Resources to Start Your Freelance Life
Going Freelance: Building and Branding Your Own Success