Freelancers have to be experts at balancing it all. You likely have dozens of things on your to-do list at any given moment, from large-scale project deadlines to small daily tasks. There’s so much to handle, which is why having the right project management tools on your side makes SUCH a difference.
As a freelancer, you have tons of client work to do, but you also have proposals to craft, marketing for your own business, and tons of administrative tasks.
Plus, you have a life to live! After all, most of us become freelancers because we crave freedom and flexibility.
There are dozens of project management tools out there. But the most important thing is to find the best one for YOU. No matter what, a project management tool will help you stay organized so that nothing falls through the cracks in your business.
What are project management tools?
People use project management tools to organize projects and tasks effectively, managing everything in one place. There are free and paid online tools for managing your projects and tasks, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Freelancers especially can (and should) take advantage of all that project management tools have to offer. Since you’re working with multiple clients, managing so many tasks, and focusing on different projects, you need to stay organized in order to do your best work.
That’s where these types of tools come in super handy.
These tools can help you with things like:
- Collaboration with team members or clients
- Planning and scheduling your tasks and time
- Documenting files and timelines
- Tracking progress and results
- Onboarding new clients
- Sending invoices and getting paid
- Running the backend of your business
Project management tools are like the behind-the-scenes superheroes helping you run your freelance business with less stress.
11 best project management tools for freelancers
Clearly, project management tools are incredibly valuable for freelancers. But with so many out there, how do you know which one is right for you?
Here are some of our favorite project management tools for freelancers.
We’ll start with Asana, especially since it’s one of the most popular tools out there. It’s a longstanding online tool with a simple, easy-to-use experience. Whether you’re working on your own or with a team, Asana will work for you—and grow with you.
Inside Asana, you can create projects, boards, task lists, and calendars. Inside tasks, there are so many options, from descriptions to comments and file links. You can even integrate Asana with Slack, Gmail, Google Drive, and other platforms to make life even easier.
We also love that Asana lets you color-code everything. For visual people, that’s so helpful! Asana even sends you email notifications giving you an overview of what’s due that day, where projects are at, and when you’re assigned something new.
If you need to track the time spend working on client projects, you can seamlessly integrate time-tracking software, too. Plus, there’s a mobile app for Asana so you can access your projects on the go.
Asana is free until you have lots of team members, too.
Bonsai is beloved by many, especially because its features are targeted towards freelancers specifically! This tool covers everything from ready-to-go (lawyer-approved) contract templates to expense tracking and invoicing.
You’re able to track time spent on projects, handle accounting and taxes, generate proposals, and handle virtual document signing. There’s even more you can do with Bonsai, though. It’s meant to be an all-in-one software so that you no longer have to handle all sorts of platforms for different things in your business.
Bonsai offers a 14-day free trial, and then costs $16/month.
Trello is a super visual tool for so many areas of project management. It’s set up with boards around specific topics, which are then filled with cards for individual pieces of information, projects, or tasks.
You’ll be able to keep track of everything, like invoicing, project details, photos, links, and copy. It’s super easy to move things around in Trello too, so you can create “in-progress,” “communicate,” and “completed” boards.
Basically, Trello is an index-card-inspired, easy-to-use tool that’s simple for any freelancer. It’s especially popular among creatives, editorial experts, marketers. You can create a basic Trello account for free!
Trello could be one of the best project management tools for you if you’re a super visual person.
Wrike is pretty similar to Trello with drag-and-drop functionality. It’s super helpful if you’re doing any sort of collaboration—you can share timelines and time-tracking with others, even outside of your company.
This project management tool seamlessly integrates with Microsoft, Adobe, GitHub, Google, and more.
It also offers insightful real-time reports so that you can always see how much you have left in each project. Even better? This platform is free for up to five users! For larger teams, it’s $35 per month.
Some project management tools double as customer communication channels, and Pipefy does just that! You can request client feedback throughout the project, which makes it so much easier for you to edit or adjust the scope right in your project management software.
Pipefy is made with lots of templates, including a number of ready-to-go emails you can send at different times during your project.
With Pipefy, up to five projects are free, and then to unlock more advanced features, you’ll pay between $9 and $18 per month.
6. Red Booth
If you struggle with procrastination (don’t worry, you’re not alone!), Red Booth might be your perfect solution. This tool tracks your performance and generates reports of your project performance.
And if staying organized as a freelancer is overwhelming, Red Booth will actually push desktop notifications to your computer when you miss deadlines.
This tool has a simple dashboard, and it’s easy to use. It’s free for just you, and then if you’d like to upgrade for more storage and unlimited workspaces, it’ll cost you up to $15 per month.
Thrive is one of the most longstanding and holistic project management tools—and it was basically made for freelancers.
Aside from setting due dates and managing projects, you can set up a client roster. This feature analyzes the number of returning clients you have, their niches, and your profitability working with each client. That way, you’ll have clarity on which clients are the most valuable and be able to track all relevant information in one place.
Another awesome feature is detailed invoice tracking. Once you send a client invoice, Thrive tracks who has paid, who has overdue payments, and who you still need to send invoices to. There’s also the “Quotes” feature, which tracks quotes you send and which ones have been accepted by clients.
Thrive isn’t a free tool, but it’s worth every penny if these features would help you. It’s either $13 per month or $130 per year.
Monday is up there with Asana as one of the most popular project management tools for freelancers. It has so many features and capabilities—it’s so organized that it’s kind of like a spreadsheet but way better.
It’s easy to customize your Monday dashboard to reflect your unique freelance business needs. Use this tool to track projects, automate workflows, and lots more.
Monday even integrates easily with literally hundreds of other apps so that you can keep everything connected! Snag a free trial of Monday to see how it works for you. After that, it’s affordable. Plans cost $8, $10, or $16 per month depending on your needs.
Freshbooks is one of the best project management tools designed for freelancers. And it shows—so many freelancers adore Freshbooks for managing projects, getting paid, and creating high-quality work in less time.
Freshbooks has a 30-day free trial (and guess what? You don’t have to enter your credit card until after your free trial is up!).
Forbes named Plutio one of the top ten project management tools for freelancers, and for good reason. It’s an all-in-one platform with everything you need, like invoicing, proposals, CRM, time tracking, and more.
If you’re looking to seriously streamline your freelance business, Plutio is a great choice. It also helps eliminate the need for other platforms. For example, it has built-in messaging software that makes it easy to cancel your Slack membership.
Plutio recently added awesome prewritten proposal, task, contract, and invoice templates so that you can cover all your bases and save time. Honestly, Plutio has one of the most beautiful user interfaces, too….which always helps!
There’s a free trial, and then plans start as low as $15 per month.
Honeybook is another all-in-one project management tool that’s perfect for freelancers. This one has TONS of features to keep your business running smoothly.
Easily create (and send) contracts, customized invoices, and branded proposals. Then, make sure everything is done when it needs to be with automated alerts and notifications for your tasks!
Lots of creatives love Honeybook. It has beautiful dashboards, and since it lets you do everything in one place, it’s super convenient.
You can grab a 7-day free trial, and then plans start at $9 per month.
There you have it! With this ultimate list of the perfect project management tools for freelancers, you’ll be set and ready to stay organized and make more money.
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