Freelancing is tricky business – not only are you responsible for marketing your services and paying the bills, you will undoubtedly encounter a wide range of challenges that put your management skills to the test. Juggling effective time management with the pressures of meticulous accounting, invoicing and organising your taxes can put a strain on your business and your own wellbeing, particularly when you consider the added pressure of offering a premium service and networking with other professionals from your sector. The life of a freelancing professional is time consuming and meticulous and as everyone knows, it is easy to make mistakes.

Not to worry though, as the rapidly expanding world of technology is here to help make life as a freelancing professional easier! Apps for the mac and smartphone offer an efficient way of managing your business in the office or on the go, and software becomes an effective work team. Contractjobs.com offers a list of apps to help you keep track of your ideas, projects and finances all designed for a stress free life. 

Finance and Accounting:

Undoubtedly the most mundane, tedious and time consuming part of running a freelance business. Nevertheless, a freelancer should make every effort to get their finances in order and organise their income and outgoings – after all, money is what keeps your business running. Get involved with the latest apps to help get your accounts in order:

·         Invoice Machine for Mac or iPhone:

It’s simple to create a professional looking invoice with Invoice Machine. This app is ideal for businesses and freelancers with a product or a service to sell and provides an easy way to manage, create and send invoices to clients at home or abroad – a professional looking invoice is sure way to make a great impression. Once you have created your invoice, you can download it as a PDF or send it directly to your client as an attachment. What’s more, is that Invoice Machine provides a timer to make sure your billing is as accurate as possible – click the timer when you begin working, stop of pause it when you finish and add it to your invoice at the touch of a button. Fast, slick and simple to use, Invoice Machine is a must have app for the freelancer.

·         MINT:

With five million users across the world, Mint is a popular app to help you keep on top of your finances. Mint offers a great way to get perspective on your financial situation: it has a tool to bring all of your finances together and automatically categorise your transactions. You can calculate your average spending by category so you can compare your spending week by week, month by month or year by year to help you to create a realistic budget based on your historical spending. You can see exactly where your money is going and how your investments are performing, making it easier to set target of how much you want to save. What’s more – it’s free to use and totally unbiased in its recommendations!


Communication is key to success as a freelancer. The importance of keeping a close relationship between yourself and the client is well understood – if the client can trust you to perform and keep in contact, chances are you will be offered another project. Likewise, a web presence and a proficient understanding of social media are indispensible tools to the freelancer in his search for work, as they offer the opportunity to market your skills, products and services to professionals who will want to utilise them. These apps will make sure your voice is heard.

·         Twitter:

Use twitter to build successful business relationships, 140 characters at a time. Twitter is a useful platform for freelancers to connect to clients and talk with other freelance professionals within their sector. The freelancer should recognise the potential for endless networking, discussion and brand promotion, whilst getting up to date reviews of your products and services to validate what you are doing. Stay in the know with the twitter app for your smart phone.

·         LinkedIn:

Stay connected with a LinkedIn account – make connections with professionals and monitor updates whenever and wherever with the LinkedIn mobile app. If you keep your profile up to date, LinkedIn becomes a useful tool for the freelancer in his search for work. 

·         37 Signals:

37 Signals is a well trusted organisation, producing web based applications for small business that are fast, effective and easy to use. With a view to simplify the processes of decision marking, collaboration and information sharing 37 Signals has created three apps that are trusted and relied upon by freelancers and contractors all over the world, from every major industry.

o   Basecamp:

Project management has never been so simple and hassle free! Email and excel become things of the past when you upgrade to Basecamp as you manage projects and collaborate with clients and skilled professionals in a modern way. You can forget about being bogged down in emails and spam – Basecamp allows you to communicate with international clients around the clock ensuring you meet the needs of your clients and that you stay productive. Basecamp has been used by five million professionals on over four million projects and is a top choice for freelancers, contractors and entrepreneurs all over the world.

o   Campfire:

An online group chat application, Campfire allows you to set up secure password protected group chat rooms for the computer and the smartphone – communication and collaboration is made easy as you and your clients work together in a real time private chat room. Invite a client, a colleague or another freelance professional to the conversation to share ideas, information, videos, decisions and documents! What’s more is that Campfire keeps records of all conversations, so when in doubt you can go back and read over specific conversations and make sure you meet all of your client’s needs.

o   Backpack:

Stay organised with Backpack, the app to manage your papers, documents and loose ends. Keep your information in one place and improve your internal communications, with the added bonus of staying green as you cut down on paper waste. Create pages to share information and key files – you can add any combination of notes, documents and dividers to a page – whatever it takes to keep your pages and information organised. Keep on top of the information that matters most and forget about ever losing track of that really, really important report. Backpack ensures that your data is secure and always at your disposal and is available for the iPhone.


There is nothing worse than spending hours at a desk and producing very little. This feeling is familiar to all, students, professionals, freelancers and contractors alike – even the most successful have good and bad days. Contractjobs.com offers you a couple of killer apps, all designed to keep you on track, making sure that every day is a good and productive day.

·         Things:

Things is a simple of managing your time and making sure that you don’t get bogged down in to do lists and freelance projects. Things is above all simple – its layout is designed to make life as stress free as possible whilst you stay productive and on top of your responsibilities. Assign each task a tag, such as ‘time consuming’ or ‘priority’ and stay prioritised for that day; this in turn allows the freelancer to organise projects by hierarchy. To do lists are repeated, so that report due every Monday and Thursday will never slip your mind. You are able to delegate certain tasks to your colleagues – Things don’t just keep you in check, it is an effective task manager for your work mates.

·         Concentrate:

Avoid the frustration of getting nothing done – when you are struggling to focus on a specific task with a looming deadline, concentrate is here to help.  Simply choose the actions you want to run, click the ‘concentrate’ button and stay focused with the help of this handy app. Concentrate will block certain websites and apps, as well as automatically launching the apps and documents that you will need to complete the project. Sounds and messages will play to encourage you to maintain focus and your iChat or Skype status will automatically be set to ‘away’. A timer will appear in the background to keep you on task. Everyone knows the frustration of unproductivity – concentrate is a great app for the mac, the iPhone and the iPad to keep you on the ball.

So there you have it. A list of killer apps, all tried, tested and sworn by freelancers to meet their need.  Get involved with the technology buzz and utilise the tools in front of you to make your life as a freelance professional easier and more productive.

Is Cloud Computing of Benefit to the Freelancer?

Keeping up to date with technology is of the upmost importance to the 21st century freelancer, who cannot effectively market his or her skills without a basic web presence.

The cloud is an important tool to employees and freelancers alike and is of potential benefit to those who have set up their own limited company or small business. It has the potential to simplify the way we use computers as freelancers and companies put less of themselves on PCs or servers managed by themselves and more ‘out there’ - in the cloud.

But what are the benefits of a cloud based system? Firstly, cloud computing offers flexibility beyond anything that has previously been available - it stores less information on computers, allowing the freelancer to access key data away from home or the office, making sure that business operates as usual. This is a useful business continuity tool for freelancers who aren’t necessarily based in one place and are often required to work on the move. As long as you have access to a computer, a smart phone and an internet connection, the cloud provides flexible working away from the office and undoubtedly stands as a way to ensure a business runs smoothly.

You cannot underestimate the significance of cloud computing and social media as a marketing tool for employees and freelancers alike. Cloud systems allow for greater communication between clients and offer freelancer greater opportunity to network – an indispensible tool. It is becoming clear then, that the cloud is fast becoming one of the major technological advances in the world of business over the past few years and an asset to freelancers in their search for work.

The cloud can be very effective in cutting costs as it allows small businesses to manage essential IT services more efficiently. Outsourcing servers or applications means replacing occasional heavy expenditure on IT with regular and predictable operational expenditure. So consolidating IT infrastructure can reduce the need for IT capital investments and as mobile technologies continue to grow, allows information to be accessed anywhere.

IBM have conducted studies of over 3000 CIOs across 70 countries – 60% of professionals intend to make the switch to cloud computing over the next five years. Figures show that the cloud is an appealing option for freelancing professionals within the key industries as posted by contractjobs – 73% of CIOs within the media sector, 71% from within the automotive sector and 69% from within telecoms intend to make the switch in the next five years. The benefits of cloud computing are well known amongst professionals.

Cloud computing allows you to control cost which in turn provides an opportunity to invest money in other areas. Nevertheless, many small businesses are reluctant to make the switch.

Questions have arisen over the security of data placed within the cloud, and the freelancer should be careful to strike a functioning balance between cost and control. Ray DeLuke of ITT Defence and Information Solutions says that “public clouds offer the lowest cost but also the lowest control … low control means high risk and we’re not at the point right now where we’re ready to embrace the public cloud”.

 Concerns over security and data ownership are paramount and freelancers should be very careful when deciding which form of the cloud to use as a platform for their data. Questions should be asked as to what information should be moved to the cloud, and if so to which infrastructure – the public cloud, the private cloud or the hybrid cloud. Certain information is precious to freelancers and small business and are worthy of a private cloud, whilst information that is less strategic or sensitive can be placed within a public cloud.

Freelancers should take into account the risk factor when deciding whether or not to make the switch to cloud computing – your data storage system should not burden your company with unnecessary risk. Experts advise freelancers to begin with an internal private cloud strategy as a way of reducing risk in these early stages. 

When it comes to cloud computing, walk don’t run. Whilst the cloud offers a number of sought after benefits to the freelancing professional, experts remain unsure as to the security of data placed within a public domain. Remember to ask questions – how will the cloud fit within your business strategy? Does it suit your needs? If so, what is the most effective way of implementing the cloud into your working environment?  Take the time to balance the pros and cons of cloud computing and don’t sacrifice security for cost and flexibility.