Freelancing is a business and needs the same attention to detail in order to succeed. In the same way that technology that benefits companies is just as helpful to independent professionals. First, you need to know where to focus your efforts so that managing your business is easier and more productive. Then, you find software that can assist you further. Here are three key areas of business management to get you started, as well as some handy digital tools to check out.
Your main priority as a freelancer is to build a customer base that’s strong and consistent enough to sustain your services for a long time. This takes time, planning, and a lot of charisma. Providing a quality service is important too and will play an important role in marketing, but there’s so much more to the art of attracting customers, keeping them happy, and ensuring their loyalty.
That’s where software like Front’s smart communication technology really shines. Automation and an efficient network between you, customers, and collaborators can make a big difference when managing projects, for example. Just being able to quickly send meaningful emails and texts can keep everyone on the same page, no matter the circumstances. Regardless of how big or small your contact list is, you can send mass text message broadcasts to connect with your customers in a personalized way so that every recipient feels like they’re the only recipient.
The digital age made it clearer than ever how much data a single business can generate. Even better, it constantly provides ways—well beyond Google Analytics or Sage—to sift through it all and find useful patterns. For professionals that need to manage themselves, this couldn’t be more valuable as it can highlight what practices work and what needs improvement. You can use an embedded analytics platform to provide interactive insights at scale and centralize all of your reporting with easy-to-use dashboards.
There’s no shortage of solutions perfect for such jobs. If you install something like the SolarWinds MySQL performance tuner, you get a system that organizes and optimizes your database, while also giving a clear idea of where you stand as a business. Detailed reports on resources, sales, response times, and other information illustrate your performance and let you make informed decisions about your next steps. There are also certain measures you can take to make your job easier. For example, instead of relying on your cell phone or tablet, you can also mirror the screen and audio of your iPhone or iPad on a smart TV, invest in equipment like an iPhone stand or this Typecase Touch for iPad. This way, you won’t strain your eyes too much and you’ll be able to get your work done more efficiently.
If your freelance services involve sending products to customers, managing your business becomes more complicated. You’ll need to handle and track distribution, which includes factors like orders, couriers, and returns. As you carry out sales, you should keep a constant eye on your inventory too, not just to know what you have in stock, but also what resources you need for more products.
The physical and data-related demands are many, but digital tools are, once again, here to help. While they can’t quite carry stuff to customers, they can keep you on top of the process every step of the way. For example, some will allow you to geo-track deliveries and get all necessary documentation for international shipments. Tricks like these make intricate services much easier.
Hopefully, running an independent business already feels less daunting. There’s a lot of options to go through when it comes to available software and you do need to be realistic about your business, but you’re more than capable of reaching success as a freelancer. Focus on finding the right customers and a durable business plan, while also making the most of technology.