The gig economy is booming right now – so much so that many employees are electing to leave the comfort of their 9-5 position in order to pursue a more flexible, self-led approach to work.
Afterall, working as a freelancer is incredibly rewarding. Not only do you get a great deal more freedom over the types of projects and briefs you work on, but you are also able to choose your working hours, location, and, more importantly still, prices, too.
Whether you have been working as a freelancer for years, or are just starting out on this new venture, read about four indispensable tools for any freelancer, below.
1.A Tailored Online Payment Solution
A big part of the benefit that comes from offering your services online is the ease with which you can find and do business with clients. Of course, running an online operation has its own trials and tribulations – and, in spite of the supposed convenience or running a business digitally, getting caught up in bank transfers or transactions via a long list of different online payment platforms is enough to drive anyone back into the real world.
A smooth, integrated online payment solution needn’t be reserved for large e-commerce sites, however. A system that offers a reliable, easy-to-use, and safe connection between clients and your business account – enables you to accept payments in all major currencies, quickly and without hassle.
One of the biggest reasons why some freelancers and small businesses are reluctant to embrace these online payment solutions is fears over security. To ensure the integrity of this new platform (both for you, and for your customers) look for PCI and PSD2 SCA compliance, in addition to data encryption.
2.A Time Management Programme
Working for yourself has many perks. For one thing, you choose your own hours – the only trouble is, of course, ensuring that you are making the very most of those hours as and when you do choose to dedicate them to your client’s projects. In an ideal world, we would all have that ingrained drive that keeps our heads down until the project has been completed – but, in reality, this is far from the truth.
For those working at a computer (or even with their phone nearby) distractions and time-drains are all too common – so much so that most of us would be shocked to discover quite how much time we are losing to work each and every day.
Time tracking apps like RescueTime will keep track of all the time you invest into distractions, like social media and online shopping, and provide you with a sobering report that will motivate you to manage your time a little more carefully going forward.
3.A Cooperative Workspace Locator
As freelancers, most of us get by without any commercial premises. The spare bedroom becomes our office, and we get to relish that coveted position of working from home.
The only trouble is, working from home is not always as enjoyable or fulfilling as we might imagine it to be. Between the distractions posed by our family and roommates to that gnawing sense that the world is charging on at pace without us, feeling confined to a 6’x6’ room can become, well, more than a little stifling – both physically, and creatively.
That’s why cooperative workspace locators have proven so popular among freelancers and self-employed individuals around the world.
Cooperative workspaces are, as the name would suggest, places where people from all professions can work alongside one another in a productive and professional (though relaxed) environment. This is a great option for anyone who feels locked inside their own head, in need of a change of scenery (without the whir of the Starbucks machine), and, possible, just a little lonely.
Workspace locators relevant to your area can be downloaded from app stores, and will ensure that you never have to succumb to that stir-crazy feeling again.
When you work for an established company, their own rigorous cybersecurity solutions and practices will be in place within all company devices to ensure that the network remains secure. Individuals and businesses alike represent a tempting opportunity to cybercriminals at all times, and we are all well aware of the fact that following good practices for ‘digital hygiene’ is the only way to feel confident that our private details are secure.
The freelancer exists in something of a grey area. While they need more digital security than, say, an individual who uses their computer for nothing more than browsing the web, they do not have access to the same funds for taking on a bespoke and continuously managed cybersecurity solution.
This is where a VPN will prove invaluable. Virtual private networks disguise your IP address whenever you go online, meaning that it is much more difficult for hackers to track you and gain access to sensitive information – particularly important when you are working with clients, and bound to NDAs.