Productivity tools are a lifesaver when it comes to running a business. Whether thinking of starting your own practice or already running a successful shop, one thing is certain: You can’t do it all.
Being a business owner involves hard work, and a bit of luck.
But if you have the drive, passion, and commitment, being a solopreneur can be one of the most rewarding endeavours in your professional life.
It can also feel overwhelming, since you have to shoulder almost every aspect of your business from the start.
You’re the creative content writer, social media manager, accountant, and marketer all at once. And there are only so many hours in a day to manage your tasks.
Fortunately, using a few of the right productivity tools can help streamline key aspects of your solopreneur business.
These tools can make your life easier and improve your productivity and financial results. Here are five excellent productivity tools to help accomplish this.
Harvest for Tracking Project Time
Time management is the highest priority for all solopreneurs.
Usually, professionals charge for their services on an hourly basis. And this means you’ll need to track time spent on a particular project.
Of course, you could keep track of hours on paper and create invoices by hand, but this approach is time-consuming and error-prone.
The good news is there’s a simple solution: Harvest.
Harvest is a web-based time-tracking tool. It can keep track of your time from different project management tools including Trello and Basecamp.
Harvest also integrates with other applications such as QuickBooks and PayPal. It gathers this data together to create the invoice with payment processing details in just a few clicks.
Another advantage of using Harvest is you can easily prevent a project from going over budget.
The downside is limited built-in features. And for third-party integrations, you need to pay for further subscriptions with other platforms. Plus, you have to send invoice links manually.
But despite these minor limitations, Harvest can save you a lot of time.
Trello for Project Management
Managing your daily tasks as well as the ongoing projects can be a challenge for a solopreneur.
You may be posting on social media for one project, while creating content for another on the same day.
This is why a project management tool is essential. And there is no better alternative than Trello.
Trello is a task-management application that allows you to get a visual overview of all your tasks, including who is working on them and what are the specific deadlines in real-time.
In Trello, each board corresponds to a project while each card within a board represents a task.
You can use this tool to categorize your work or to track the progress of each project. And you can get email notifications for all activities on all Trello boards.
It can also integrate with several other applications including JIRA Cloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive.
QuickBooks for Accounting and Billing
In the past, you may have dreaded mundane tasks like managing accounts.
But as a solopreneur, you’ll probably need to manage your bookkeeping on your own, at least at first, because hiring an accountant can be expensive.
This is where well-designed productivity tools come in handy.
In this case, a cost-effective alternative is QuickBooks.
QuickBooks is a web-based accounting application that primarily targets small and medium businesses.
As a communications solopreneur, Quickbooks can quickly rise to the top of your list of most useful tools. Plus, it’s simple to integrate with time-tracking software such as Harvest to create invoices.
You can download and reconcile credit card and bank account transactions, create customized billing templates with your logo, and send payment receipts online.
And the bill tracker feature allows you to gather and keep track of all bills and overdue notifications in a single location.
Most importantly, you can generate profit and loss accounts, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, among other financial reports.
These statements can tell you about the financial health of your business. They can also provide information your bank will ask for if you’re negotiating a line of credit.
Mint for Budgeting and Expense Management
Apart from accounting, you will also need to manage your daily and project-related expenses.
A well-allocated budget can improve the chances of implementing a successful project as well.
Mint is one of the best apps for creating and tracking your budget, financial goals, and credit score all in one place.
This tool primarily focuses on budgeting and tracking expenses. And while you can’t modify the built-in categories in this feature, you can add new ones that specific projects require.
You can also set up and track financial goals such as paying off your credit card dues or bank loan and include them in your monthly budget.
Once Mint understands your transactions, it can automatically add them to a relevant category based on your history.
Buffer for Social Media Management
When it comes to simplifying social media management, Buffer offers an easy to use, web-based solution.
It allows you can manage all your social media accounts in one place for all of your projects.
And you can also post status updates and send out tweets through their user interface.
Buffer lets you schedule a time for publishing your social media posts automatically.
You can create multiple profiles and check your posts for effectiveness with easy-to-understand analytics.
The primary Buffer account for an individual supports three social media accounts with ten posts per account for free.
That makes it a good starting point to test the tool and see if it suits your requirements.
Productivity Tools: Assembling Your Toolbox
Being a solopreneur can feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride 24/7.
The good news is there are plenty of productivity tools to help manage your time and improve productivity.
Hopefully, these five tools will help keep you organized and on track.
And it’s important to note all of these productivity tools offer free trials or registrations.
By upgrading to a paid account, you’ll receive access to advanced features. So, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons specific to your business.
What productivity tools have you used? Do you have any I should add to my list? Let us know in your comments.