In the past year+ that I’ve been freelancing, I’ve learned a lot about what you do and do not need in order to run your business as successfully as possible. I know that everyone’s business model is set up a little bit differently, and one thing that is very important to the success of my business is keeping overhead costs as low as possible.
I try to run a business the produces high quality work for my clients and my readers, without huge costs. After all, I’m the only breadwinner in my household, so I have to be able to earn enough from my business to cover my all of my personal expenses every month. I foresee it being this way for a long time unless by some miracle I can figure out how to get my dogs to start earning some money. 🙂
This post is not going to be about what type of computer you should use, or what kinds of programs are best. Instead, this post is about the essential tools and resources I’ve come across that have made a huge difference in the success of my business.
With those things in mind, here are 3 things that I think are essential for every freelancer’s business. I know they’ve been essential to the success I’ve had so far.
A Great Support Group
I’ve been very blessed with the group I have surrounding and supporting me and my business. I have an amazing staff writer who consistently produces great work and is always willing to help out with other small tasks to keep my business up and running at it’s best. She is one of the hardest workers I know. She has two young kids at home, one of which she is homeschooling, her husband works long hours and is away a lot of the time, and she currently has no help with the kids. On top of that, she’s really grown her freelance business in the past couple of months and is providing a great income for her family by working from home.
Another member of the support group for my business is my amazing friend, client, and quasi-business coach, Cat. Cat is someone I truly look up to in this business and I’m doing my best to emulate her success. I know I talk about her a lot, but I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without her support, guidance, and friendship.
Additionally, I have a great group of freelance friends who are always willing to listen and try to help me solve any problems that come my way. Thanks Carrie, Erin, Melissa, Melanie, Laurie, and Chonce. You girls rock!
Finally, I have great support in real life from my family and friends. They are always asking me how my business is going and they don’t tire of hearing my talk excitedly about my latest project, goal, or development. That’s saying something because lately, the only thing I’ve wanted to talk about is my business because I’ve had a lot of exciting changes lately.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I try to keep my expenses as low as possible so I can use more of my income to pay my personal bills and to build up savings for future business investments, but one thing I do pay for that I’ll never regret is technical help.
My tech guy, Grayson, is amazing! He always keeps things up-to-date on my site, and is constantly on the lookout for new bugs, hackers, viruses, and things I probably don’t even know about. In fact, twice in the past couple of weeks, he’s willingly shared with the large FinCon Facebook group when there have been different security threats they need to be aware of. Of course, he’d already made sure his clients were protected. (Thanks Grayson!)
If you don’t know how to protect your site yourself, you need to hire someone to do it for you. Because my site serves as my largest body of work, a portfolio, and a landing page to many people who are seeking my freelance services, I know it’s important to protect it. If my site were to go down for too long, it could potentially mean a huge loss in income.
A Great Accounting System
Another shout out here to Carrie who first turned me on to using Freshbooks for my business accounting. After hearing about it from her numerous times and then from Cat and Grayson, I knew I had to sign up for it.
I’ve only been using it for about a month, but it’s already saved me a ton of money on PayPal fees and made my life so much easier. I can definitely foresee this being useful for 2016 since I’ll have an entire year’s worth of information on there that will be helpful to my accountant.
As it is for 2015, I have kind of a mess since I started using it so late. I’ll still have to rely on my good ole’ Excel sheet for the first part of the year.
I’m so glad I switched to using Freshbooks for my business accounting and financial tracking.
Freshbooks does cost $9.95 per month (for the smallest plan), but if you use my affiliate link you’ll get to try it free for 30 days! It’s definitely worth it when you can save more than $10/month on PayPal fees. So far in October is already saved me between $150-200, plus it saves me time too. If I turned that time factor into a monetary value, Freshbooks would have saved me even more month this month.
Even though I like to keep my expenses as low as possible, I have found that these are 3 essential tools have really helped my business grow beyond what I imaged it would be. I definitely wouldn’t be here, working my business full-time, if it weren’t for these tools and resources.
Do you have any of these tools or resources for your business? What other tools do you consider essential to your business?